A Campbell Q&A with Zach Terrel

The first and only MAC winner of the Campbell Trophy, Presented by Mazda, Terrell now works as an associate with the Zeigler Automotive Group.
Zach Terrell with Western Michigan Coach PJ Fleck after winning the trophy in 2016
** Campbell Q&A Series **
June 9, 2020: Chris Howard (1990,Air Force)
June 25, 2020: Robert Zatechka (1994,Nebraska)
August 12, 2020: Christian Wilkins (2019,Clemson)
August 26, 2020: Brad Culpepper (1991,Florida)
Sept. 10, 2020: Sam Acho (2010, Texas)
Sept. 24, 2020: Tom Burns (1993, Virginia)
Oct. 7, 2020: Brandon Roberts (2002, Wash U. in St. Louis (Mo.)

Zach Terrell excelled at Western Michigan, leading one of the MAC's best offenses as a three-year captain while graduating in 3.5 years with a 3.66 GPA in finance and then obtaining his MBA. A 2016 First Team Academic All-America, Terrell quarterbacked the MAC's No. 1 scoring offense. He guided the Broncos to an undefeated regular season, the 2016 MAC title, the school's first-ever ranking in the AP Poll, and an appearance in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic. WMU's all-time leader in career passing yards (12,104), Terrell ranks second in school history in career passing touchdowns (96) and completions (908). A stalwart in the community, Terrell was named to the 2016 AFCA Good Works Team. He received multiple awards for his service, including the 2014-15 WMU Community Service Award. After a brief stint as an undrafted free agent with the Baltimore Ravens in 2017, Terrell now works as an Executive Development Associate at Zeigler Automotive Group in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

What did you enjoy most about playing at Western Michigan and what were your favorite game-day traditions?
When I look back on my time at Western Michigan, my fondest memories are all the relationships I made with my teammates, coaches and peers! Those are the things that I cherish most. All those people helped me get through the tough times, and celebrated with me in the good times! I do miss hearing that cannon go off every time we scored a touchdown.
You were part of an historic 2016 season at WMU that included an undefeated regular season, a MAC title and a New Year's Six bowl game. What did that run mean to you and what do you attribute to the team's success?
The 2016 season really vindicated the ROW THE BOAT message we were trying to spread. A lot of us on the team had gone 1-11 just a few years prior and remember all the negative things people had said about us as players, the program and our mantra. To see us grow over the next few years and eventually reach the milestones listed was really rewarding. It all came down to belief. Belief in one vision, one mantra and one goal. The rest is history.
In the 30-year history of the Campbell Trophy, you are the first and only winner from the MAC. How does it feel to hold that distinction, and how would you encourage today's players to set the Campbell Trophy as a goal?
I am humbled and honored. To think of all the ELITE student athletes to have been up for this award from my conference, to be the first, is something that will always be special to me. My hope is that there will be many more from the MAC moving forward after seeing what I was able to accomplish.
When you won the Campbell Trophy, no one was more excited than your coach PJ Fleck, who is known for his energy and intensity. How did he motivate you to be better on and off the field?
There aren't enough adjectives to describe how I feel about Coach Fleck. He changed my life. I've never had someone challenge me more in all aspects of my life. Mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. The coolest part about Coach is that he practiced what he preached. While he was challenging us to the highest standard in all facets of life, he was doing the same for himself. That is why he was able to have so much success at Western Michigan and now at Minnesota.
You are currently working in development for an automotive group. Tell us more about your career.
Like a lot of young people, I had no idea what I wanted to do after football was over. Fortunately, at Zeigler Auto Group, I was presented with the unique opportunity to design my career path at the largest privately owned auto group in the country. Although unconventional, I get to experience multiple different business operations to prepare me to be an executive, whether it's sales, management, finance or service. It is such a unique opportunity to develop and learn how to run a business. I love coming to work and learning something new every day!
During the pandemic, did you discover any new hobbies or skills?
My wife decided for me, I became Chip Gaines [co-star of HGTV's Fixer Upper], attempting to recreate all her Pinterest dreams with different renovation projects.
Movie that only your wife knows you love (and now the entire college football community)?
Sweet Home Alabama (my wife's favorite).
You are stranded on a desert island and can only eat three foods/meals for the rest of your life. What are they?
1. Pizza
2. Buffalo Chicken Wings
3. Beef Stroganoff

Favorite sport besides football?
We know you love being on the water, but you can only pick one: on the lake in a boat or on the field "rowing the boat"?
I love both, but I would love to have another opportunity to relive the glory days and Row The Boat with the boys!

Campbell Trophy Q&A Background:
Click here for more information on The William V. Campbell Trophy® Presented by Mazda, which has been presented every year since 1990 to the nation's top scholar-athlete from the college gridiron. In 2019, Mazda became the sponsor of the Trophy, launching their Power of Potential Platform with ESPN. The trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association, which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football.

Today's Q&A represents the eighth in a series of Q&A sessions with former winners of the Campbell Trophy.