My Journey: Derek Greifzu

Written and Media by Ransom Cochrane.


Derek Greifzu Headshot Photo by Greenville College

With every person comes a different story, through which every person has different values and expectations. We all may have different experiences and life stories but the one we have in common is we have been led to attend Greenville College. The reason why we are all here may be different, but one thing is certain, we were all led here for a reason. This week’s journey to Greenville is about none other than Derek Greifzu.

Some insight about Greifzu: he was born October 21, 1995, in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. He grew up in a small town called Fairfield, Illinois where he attended Fairfield Community High School. After graduating from Fairfield, Greifzu transitioned to Greenville College. But how did Greifzu end up here? Greifzu had his first exposure to Greenville College through the youth basketball camps that Greenville puts on in the summers, the Panther Academy. Greifzu attended Panther Academy the summer before his sophomore and junior years of high school. Derek said, “I fell in love with the campus during those camps and always had the thought in my mind that I would like to attend here.” After Greifzu’s senior season of football, he was contacted by Coach Andrew Rode. Greifzu and Coach Rode were in contact for the majority of his senior year and Greifzu committed to play football in early April of 2014.

When Greifzu was asked “Why did you choose Greenville College aside from your exposure to the Panther Academy?”  Derek stated that he picked Greenville College because he fell in love with the great, beautiful campus when he was in high school. Greifzu also said that he wanted to attend somewhere where he could continue his love for football. Besides visiting the campus for the Panther Academy, Derek also visited a few more occasions, one being an overnight stay where he toured the campus and interacted with the football team. Greifzu said “Getting to stay overnight with the football team and seeing how they interacted with each other is what made me want to come and be a part of it all.”

Transitioning to Greenville can be very challenging for some, but not for Greifzu. He took the challenge head on. After officially committing to Greenville College, Greifzu could not wait to get here and play college football. Greifzu is currently a junior; in his three years here he has had the chance to make some great memories. One of his favorite moments at Greenville was when a group of his friends decided they would play a game of tag on all floors in West Oak at midnight. Greifzu said that “people were running all around West Oak like a bunch of little kids. Definitely one of [his] best memories.”

Derek Greifzu running in for a touchdown Photo by Greenville College

Greifzu is currently on the football and cheer team. Greifzu has played football since age 6 and he picked up cheer while attending Greenville. Greifzu came on to Greenville’s football team as a slot wide receiver and expects to stay there till he finishes out next season. Greenville has really been a big part of Derek’s life, “Greenville is a special place that I always miss in the summer and can’t wait to get back in the fall.” Greifzu is getting a degree in exercise science with a minor in business. Greifzu’s goal after graduation is to move to Evansville, Indiana and get a job at a Real Estate Firm. Greifzu‘s football goal is to rebuild the program back to the Conference Championship contenders the Panthers were in years past

With coming to Greenville, there are always the final goodbyes. Derek says “it will be a very emotional thing playing my last season of football ever, and not being able to see the friends I’ve made every day, but I am very excited to see what God has in store for me in the next stage in my life.” A few words Derek has for anyone thinking about attending or currently attending Greenville is  that “Greenville is a place that can teach you a lot more than things in the classroom if you allow it to”.


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