Connor Bozick grew up with an interest in aviation and thought about occupying the pilot’s seat someday. Such a passion was no surprise considering his father, Ken, was a naval aviator who attended the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.
There was one big problem with fulfilling that interest, though. Bozick grew and grew and grew some more.
“I kind of grew up in that culture and my father was always talking about flying,” he said. “I thought that was very cool, but as I got bigger he told me, ‘Hey, you are not going to fit into too many planes. So maybe you can find something else.’”
So much for earning his wings.
Listed at 6-5 and 320 pounds, Bozick has found it much easier to get into his stance on Delaware’s offensive line than fit into a cockpit.
What seems to fit him to a “T” is the hospitality business. It is a field that offers the hotel, restaurant, and institutional management major (HRIM) a social atmosphere the outgoing Bozick desires to be in.
The restaurant, or dining part of the equation, particularly intrigues the fifth-year senior. While he may not use salt and pepper shakers as a means of demonstration, Bozick offers comparisons between a five-course setting and going against a six-man box.
“I try to relate everything back to football because that is the one thing I have had the most experience with,” said Bozick, who is entering his third season as a starter and is listed at right tackle. “I really relate fine dining to football because it is extremely intricate. It looks simple on the outside, like football does, but there are so many little details that you need to focus on. Having everything come together is something special. That is the appreciation I have for fine dining.”
While gumbo may not fit the “fine dining” category there is nothing better than an ample helping from mom.
“My favorite meal is a gumbo recipe that she makes,” he said of his mother, Vickie, who is from the Florida Panhandle, near Pensacola. “My mom was born and raised in the South, so she knows how to cook very well. Her gumbo is the best and nothing compares to it.”
Nothing compares to the experience Bozick, a preseason All-CAA selection, received during the spring 2015 semester. Delaware’s HRIM department’s hospitality program, which is limited to 400 students, includes hands-on experience at a Courtyard by Marriott close to campus. It is at that 126-room hotel that Bozick learned the X’s and O’s of the industry.
“It was really rewarding and I came out of it with a lot of really good contacts,” said the former history education major. “I got a feel for an industry with which I had no previous experience. We did different jobs ranging from being a manager one night, to housekeeping the next night, front desk work, engineering and you name it. There was a lot involved and it was great. I loved it.”
It is the hotel industry Bozick would ultimately like to make a career of. The social atmosphere combined with teamwork and attention to detail are, well, are similar to the many ingredients that make things go on the gridiron.
Bozick comes from a family that knows its way around the hash marks. His father, Ken, played at the Academy and a grandfather, John Bozick, played under Rip Engle at Penn State. An uncle, Bruce Bozick, was an offensive lineman for Kentucky in the 1980s.
“It was not necessarily a given,” said Bozick when asked if there was ever any question he too would play football. “Sports was a big part of my family and my dad knew that in order to feed the competitive drive you need to participate in sports. He also told me and my sister that, ‘I don’t care what sport you play. I will support you no matter what you do, but you will play a sport because it teaches you the right things.’ I am forever grateful for that.”
While Ken laid the groundwork, ample support comes from John and Bruce as well.
“They will get on me about intangible stuff,” he said. “They will be like, ‘Hey, I saw you loafing.’ They will get on me about that kind of stuff, but they are also extremely supportive. They are always uplifting me.”
So even without commanding the throttle Bozick has plenty of uplifting responsibilities with which to tend thanks to football and his major. That doesn’t mean he no longer thinks about aircraft.
“I still love planes,” he said. “I think they are really cool. They are among the most intricate and neat things that we have in the world today.”