Throwback Thursday: Jake Letourneau

Nov. 10, 2011

111011aaa_66_7139216.jpegJake Letourneau (Defensive Back, 1997-02)
Letourneau was a member of the Kansas football program for five years and excelled in the classroom as well as the football field. He was a six-time Jayhawk scholar and maintained a part-time job, while in school at a local optometrist’s office. After graduation, the Concordia, Kan. native went onto optometry school out of state but returned to Lawrence to work at the office he helped out at during school. He can still be found at that same doctor’s office, but now his name is on the outside of it, as the sign reads “Drs. Pohl, Dobbins & Letourneau” 111011aaa_66_7141932.jpeg

Why did you choose Kansas to come play football?
“I felt like it would be a great opportunity and it is a great academic institution.”

What was your favorite memory from your playing days?
“I think the rivalries we had with the other schools in our conference as well as the feeling of being a part of a football fraternity. It was almost like an extended family.”

You were not just a student athlete while at KU, but you also managed to work a bit in your future career path. Was it a challenge to balance both?
“I worked at an optometry office while I was at KU. It gave me a better understanding of the profession so I was able to make an educated decision on what career path I wanted to take. It also required a lot of time management on my end. I had to make the most of the time that I had for football and the office. Because of my work experience though, it really helped me to solidify optometry as my choice of what I wanted to do after KU.”111011aaa_66_7141949.jpeg

What did you do once you left KU?
“I went to the University of Alabama in Birmingham’s School of Optometry. It was a different cultural experience, but it was great to live in a different part of the country and experience new places and new people.”

After your Alabama experience, you came back to Kansas. What made you decide that Lawrence was again the right fit?
“When I came back to talk about the position, Lawrence just felt right. It seemed like it was the right place to be. To have an opportunity to give back to the community and the university that was so influential in my career path made it a very easy decision for me.”

What do you like most about your job?
“It’s great, everyday is a new challenge. Every patient presents a different set of needs and challenges, so it is never monotonous. It always keeps you on your toes and you are constantly learning and evolving to try and provide the highest level of patient care you can.”

Do you still attend KU Football games?Letourneau at work
“Yes, I am a season ticket holder, a K Club member, and a Williams Education Fund member. We go to all the home games and a couple of road games every year to support the team. Once you are a part of the program, you are a part of it for the rest of your life. It is a bond that you have and you feel the need to support the players and coaches because you want the best for the team.”

Letourneau’s biography on his office’s website:

Letourneau with wife