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SU alumnus Josh Bacon

Bacon's Experiences in SU Football Inform His Book on Conquering Adversity

SALISBURY, MD---For Josh Bacon, the football field at Salisbury University was much more than a field.

It was where he formed strong bonds with his teammates. It was where his coaches pushed him to be his best self. It was where he learned to work hard and never give up.

After graduating from SU’s Sociology Program in 1993 and later earning his Master of Science in Education Administration in 1995, he kept the ball rolling. 

“At SU, I learned through the classroom and football field that if you work hard and believe in yourself, there is nothing you can’t do,” Bacon said.

After earning his Ph.D., Bacon spent 21 years at James Madison University, where he retired as dean of students. Currently, he is a consultant, conducting trainings to colleges, schools and law enforcement agencies around the country on restorative justice.

But after a long and fulfilling career, there are still more things for him to accomplish. Bacon recently published a book: “I Screwed Up! Now What? Seven Practices to Make Things Right and Conquer Adversity.”

“My students at JMU would come to me thinking they were failures, and I wanted to help them figure it out,” Bacon said.

Bacon’s book has gone places he never dreamed, including prisons and jails in Virginia. He hopes it will go even further, across the state of Virginia and country – maybe even to SU’s campus.

“SU means a lot to me, so I would love for current SU students to read my book,” Bacon said. “I used to be in the same place they are, in the same classrooms and facing similar questions about what to do with my life. College is a challenge for everyone, so no matter where they are in their lives and studies, I’m sure they could use the lessons I learned along the way.”

Many of Bacon’s experiences at SU informed him while writing the book. He said when he was a student, he was not very academically focused, struggled with difficult classes and dropped them. Eventually, he realized what he was doing in football could also help him in the classroom. Football taught him how to struggle, fail and get back up. He realized that if he applied the lessons he learned in football to the rest of his life, he could succeed – and he did. Now, he wants to help others do the same.

Bacon said his book is one he wishes he had in college – but now, he can help set others on the right path toward success like he has achieved.

“For me, SU was a place to believe in,” Bacon said. “I learned to believe in myself and my dreams. There is plenty to challenge yourself with at SU, and there is an equal amount of support from the most caring faculty and staff in the world. It was there I learned that there are good places and people in this world.”

Learn more about opportunities to Make Tomorrow Yours at the SU website.