When Matt Keller ’19 isn’t crunching numbers, he spends his free time at the Ensley Athletic Center working on his snaps in preparation for a life where he can balance his knack for accounting and passion for football.
Keller is a long snapper on the Syracuse Orange football team, and one of 13 players who participated in the March 18 NFL Pro Day in front of scouts from 26 NFL teams.
He is also a graduate accounting student in the Whitman School. His journey at Syracuse University began when he enrolled in January 2015, after receiving a scholarship to join the football team. He received his bachelor’s degree in accounting last year from the Whitman School and is set to graduate with a master’s in accounting in May 2019.
The star student-athlete interned this past summer with the Financial Services Office (FSO) Tax Practice at EY, concentrating on wealth and asset management clients.
“I met a lot of good people at EY who helped me with my professional development and taught me things I didn’t know,” Keller said. “I had lots of interactions with Syracuse University alumni at EY, and it’s awesome to see that Syracuse has such a strong presence there.”
Keller credits much of his academic success to the support system created by SU Athletics and Whitman School professors, especially those within the accounting department.
A fond memory for Keller is when his personally selected senior night guest, Ginger Wagner, joined him at his final football game against the Louisville Cardinals. Whitman School professors Maryann Monforte, Bill Walsh and Joyce Zadzilka were also in attendance as guests for two other senior accounting students on the football team.
According to Keller, the support from his mentors extends beyond the Syracuse campus. Both Wagner and Zadzilka took the trip to Orlando, Florida to see Keller and his Syracuse Orange shine in the first and final bowl game of his career, a 34-18 victory over West Virginia in the Camping World Bowl.
“The Whitman professors are really, really good at what they do,” Keller said, “And obviously, they’re showing a personal interest in me outside of the classroom so that’s really cool.”
Beyond football and accounting, Keller serves as treasurer of Uplifting Athletes, an organization dedicated to using sports to empower people with rare diseases. Keller also received the Pat Miller Award for an Outstanding Athlete, Student and Citizen at the team’s awards ceremony in December.
Keller’s aunt and cousin both spent a large portion of their careers practicing public accounting at EY, and Keller is set to continue the family tradition. He plans to rejoin to EY in a full-time role in the same division he worked in as an intern. Only time will tell about the viability of Keller’s NFL prospects.