Woo Governor rediscovered his path and purpose at UNI

Woo Governor rediscovered his path and purpose at UNI

Andy Saigh /
Woo Governor on football field, lifting helmet in the air

Originally from Plant City, Florida, Demarcus Governor’s path to UNI was a long road. After playing football his freshman year at Central Michigan University, and with a season interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, he began to feel lost when workouts didn’t fill his competitive spirit.

“Mentally, I was not in a good place. I wasn’t where I wanted to be in life. I felt like I was behind on the route to chasing and achieving my dreams,” he said. “I wasn’t on task. I felt like I wasn’t where I was supposed to be.”

The University of Northern Iowa, where a special spring season was becoming a reality, looked appealing. Demarcus, who’s better known as “Woo,” officially entered the transfer portal and began attending UNI in Cedar Falls.

“I was all in. I got to UNI and it changed my life – provided me with a different opportunity, allowed me to grow as a person, become a man. Meet and build relationships with people that I could only dream of meeting.”

"I got to UNI and it changed my life." 

While head football coach Mark Farley and staff got him acquainted with the Panther football program, Governor also found support adjusting to his new surroundings for academics, which he valued. He credits faculty and staff Stacia Eggers and Jayme Renfro as individuals who had a major impact on his success.

“If I ever needed a tutor or had a scheduling conflict, she acted fast and was more than willing to help,” he said of Eggers, who is senior associate athletic director for student services. “My favorite professor was Miss Jayme Renfro in the political science department. She would always help, even with other classes.”

Woo Governor walking on UNI campus in graduation gown, throwing cap in the air

Woo Governor in graduation cap sitting in front of NFL display

He was also able to find community outside of athletics through the Center for Multicultural Education (CME) and the Black Student Union. “I spent a lot of time in Maucker Union at the CME. I even had the privilege of being the student of the month a couple of times, during the 2022 season in October, and the 2023 season in November.”

The trust of his teammates and coaches, along with the new relationships with faculty and staff provided Governor with a stronger sense of purpose. “It gave me a new energy, it gave me a new aura, it gave me, it reopened hope for me. UNI did that. So that’s why I say UNI saved my life, UNI changed my trajectory.”

Now that he’s earned his bachelor’s degree in liberal studies and wrapped up his collegiate athletic career, Woo Governor has his sights set on earning an opportunity in the NFL, but will remember the University of Northern Iowa fondly. 

“Everyone I met in Cedar Falls, I never had a bad experience. Everyone was always open arms and genuine.

“I’m just forever purple hearted, you know, ‘Ever Loyal,’ like, that’s the lifestyle.”