by Travis Lazarczyk|Photography by Elizabeth Hathaway ’11


It’s not unusual that John Gilboy is a double major. That he’s pursuing degrees in biochemistry and classical civilizations, two subjects not usually paired, is different. When you take into account Gilboy’s status as a three-sport athlete at Colby College, then you realize when he walks across the stage to get his diploma this spring, Gilboy should be awarded a minor in time management, too.

GilboyA captain and three-year starter on the offensive line for the Colby football team, Gilboy also competes in the shot put for the indoor and outdoor track and field teams. Gilboy entered the fall semester with a 3.7 grade point average.

“John has a focus and commitment to success unlike many people,” Colby head football coach Jonathan Michaeles said. “No matter what it is he does, he’s so competitive. It could be chemistry class. It could be a one-on-one drill. He doesn’t want to lose. He will not relinquish an inch. He will not give anything to anybody.”

For his academic excellence as a student at Saco’s Thornton Academy, Gilboy was honored by the National Football Foundation as a National High School Scholar-Athlete, one of just five students nationally to receive the honor. Last year Gilboy earned academic all-district accolades from the College Sports Information Directors of America.

A Saco, Maine, native, Gilboy chose biochemistry with an eye towards medical school. The classical civilizations major came on as an unexpected challenge. After taking some Latin and history courses, Gilboy looked at his transcript and realized he wasn’t far from a double major.

“Why not give it a shot?” Gilboy said. “If you have a chance, you don’t want to look back and say, ‘Well, I could’ve been a double major.’ Just give it a go.”

Last season Gilboy was named to the New England Small College Athletic Conference’s second-team offense, but he began his college football career as a defensive lineman. Prior to his sophomore season, when the Mules had a lack of depth on the offensive line, the 6-foot, 300 pound Gilboy switched positions.

“I just love offensive line. It’s a certain mentality, I think. It was a chance to be on the field more than I was the year before, and I love it,” Gilboy said.

Michaeles, who was an assistant coach when Gilboy switched positions, said it wasn’t Gilboy’s size or strength that convinced coaches he would be a good college offensive lineman. It was the attitude and hustle they saw on film and in practice every day. That attitude is still seen in practice, when Gilboy will jump back to defensive line to help a teammate in a drill or give the scout team an extra body.

“He’s just a no-quit kind of guy,” Michaeles said. “We knew that he was strong, tough, athletic and reliable, so we made the move. He’s started every game since his sophomore year.”

As a thrower, Gilboy placed sixth in the shot put at the NESCAC outdoor track and field championship last spring.

Gilboy is on the go from the second he wakes up until late most evenings. He plans on applying to medical schools this spring, but he’ll take a year off be enrolling. Next year Gilboy would like to work at a prep school, where he’d teach and coach, or take an internship with a chemical company. In the meantime, classes start at 8 a.m., followed by practice and team meetings. Gilboy works on homework each night, but not until after he’s helped Colby equipment manager Chappy Nelson ’82 take care of the laundry. And then there is his role as co-captain, with defensive back Phil Amato ’13, though the self-effacing Gilboy downplayed his role as a team leader.

“Pretty much everybody who plays Colby football was a captain of their high school team. There’s definitely good leadership around,” he said. “You don’t need a captain to say ‘Do this better.’”