Stephan was recruited from St. Francis High School in 1999 as a varsity running back. Shortly after coming to GCC, he was diagnosed with leukemia. Stephan was forced to drop all of his classes and missed the entire fall semester. He underwent intensive chemotherapy and returned to his academic studies part-time in spring ’01 with the use of a cane. He spent six months in physical therapy, and then used GCC’s fitness center to build back the nearly 70 pounds he had lost during his illness.
Due to his tremendous spirit, love of the game, and the support of many, he continued vigorous training and returned to GCC football and his academic classes. He was selected by the college for the National Football and College Hall of Fame, and received that award in ’02. With the encouragement of Coach Cicuto, he became a member of the GCC Quarterback Club and also team captain in ’01-’03. Stephan has tutored other GCC students and was an ASG Honors Club member for three semesters. He completed 84 units with a 3.07 overall average, and has met his IGETC requirements to transfer in ‘03 as a Business Administration major. Stephan praises the support and encouragement of Cicuto and the athletic staff, which played a large role in his progress. He says that they were like a second family for him.
In clinical remission for two years, Stephan is currently attending Kansas Wesleyan University and was on the starting line up for his first season. He plans to continue as a business major and would like to stick with football, “as far as it will take him.” Stephan credits GCC’s dedicated staff and smaller class sizes for his success, and thanks GCC counselor Troy Davis for helping him to focus in the right direction.