From “The Prowl – The Official Panthers Sports Blog”
February 9, 2012
Former FIU quarterback Paul McCall has aspirations to one day boldly go where some have gone before — outer space. McCall — who played for the Panthers from 2005-09 and has an undergraduate and master’s degree from FIU — is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in electrical engineering at FIU and recently submitted his NASA astronaut application.
Last Saturday, McCall, who won the 2009 Sun Belt Conference Male Sporting Behavior award, spoke to a group of about 50 school-age kids competing in the First Annual KIX Ministry Bowl in Homestead. The Ministry Bowl features several flag football games played by the kids from KIX, which works primarily with financially underprivileged youth in after school programs and provides spiritual mentoring.
McCall (right), wearing an FIU football shirt and shorts, was joined by his wife, Natalie, who was an All-SEC gymnast at Kentucky. McCall spoke to the kids about making the right choices, threw the football around and made some FIU fans in the process.
“It’s a great opportunity to reach some young kids to give them a positive influence and re-emphasize the good choices they have made,” McCall said.
Last month McCall was one of 6,300 astronaut applicants to NASA. Later this summer the applicants will be whittled down to 100 to 200. On March 2013, NASA will select 12 candidates that may end up in outer space one day.
Until then thanks to the Florida Space Grant Consortium, McCall will be doing some astronaut training. Next month he will go to the Ashton Graybiel Spatial Orientation Laboratory in Boston and later to the National Aerospace Training and Research Center in Philadelphia. This won’t be McCall’s first space training. If you recall from a blog I wrote on another website back in 2010, McCall participated in a Mars surface simulation in a remote habitat in Utah (photo left).
*Thanks Sam Lewis photo (McCall 2005 FIU football).