Imagine if actor Geno Segers, who was a defensive lineman at Western Carolina University in the late 1980s, had played every college game on national TV.
His career likely would have been much different.
“One game against East Tennessee State on a Thursday night on ESPN, I went absolutely crazy,” said Segers, who was named to The Sports Network's All-America first-team defense in 1988. “I had three sacks and four hurries and about 20 tackles. If I could have played on national TV every night, I’d be in the NFL!”
But that wasn’t meant to be.
So Segers, who at 6 foot 4 was a little undersized to play lineman in the NFL, moved to New Zealand to play rugby and focus on a career outside of sports.
Then, on a friend’s suggestion, Segers -- who has a deep bass voice -- auditioned for voice work and was eventually cast as Mufasa in the Australian production of “The Lion King.”
That led to touring productions of the show, then his current role as Mason, the royal adviser to the throne on Disney XD’s "Pair of Kings,” which recently began its third season.
“If I would have stayed with football,” Segers said, “I’m not sure I would have been able to move around the world and do all this interesting work.”
And he’s giving back, becoming a motivational speaker for third- and fourth-graders.
“I’m trying to help others make good life decisions,” Segers said. “We all have something important in life to do and I think this is it.”
Segers love quoting this line by Muhammad Ali and others:
“The service you do for others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.”