On May 17, 2017, the Class of 2017 will graduate from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and become the newest group of officers in the U.S. Coast Guard. Over the next week, Coast Guard Compass will take an inside look at four of the upcoming graduates and the future of these new leaders .
Written by Jason Southard
U.S. Coast Guard Academy Athletics
Derek Victory, a first class cadet at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, has one of the greatest last names in sports. He has been the Bears’ starting quarterback since winning the job four games into his freshman season and over the past four years; Victory has rewritten the Coast Guard Academy record book.
Victory, who was the 2013 New England Football Conference (NEFC) Rookie of the Year, is scheduled to graduate May 17, with 15 school or conference records. He set single-game passing records with 525 yards and the single-season mark with 2,636 yards this season and graduates with an Academy record 7,513 yards and 50 touchdowns to just touch on a few of his records.
He won the prestigious New England Football Writers’ Gold Helmet as he set or tied seven records in the Bears 56-54 win over Curry, Oct. 15, 2016, when he set single-game individual school records with 525 passing yards and 547 yards of total offense and tied the school record with six touchdown passes.
Upon graduation, Victory will be stationed as a deck watch officer aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Vigorous, in Virginia Beach, Virginia, as an ensign.
It has been a lifelong dream to be in the Coast Guard for Victory, who found out about the Academy in middle school and made it his goal since. He not only wanted to serve his country, but having a guaranteed job, which nowadays can be difficult, made the decision easy.
During his time at the Academy, Victory has enjoyed all of his summer assignments, but his favorite was aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock in Port Huron, Michigan.
“Port Huron is a small town, but I was there with a good friend and learned a lot during my five weeks aboard the cutter,” said Victory.
On the field, beating Merchant Marine Academy in 2014 to win the Secretaries’ Cup was his greatest on field memory, but that can’t compare to his favorite off the field moment when he asked the woman of his dreams, classmate Savannah Kuntz, to marry him and she said yes!
Most people always have a certain coach they had growing up who had an influence on them. For Victory, who grew up in Florida, that football coach is someone very special, his mother.
“I have been playing football since I was five years old and my mother is the main reason I got into playing the sport,” said Victory. “All my success I owe to her. I had aspired to play quarterback and she would work with me in the backyard, teaching me how to throw a successful spiral. I was able to master that technique since we would always throw 100 perfect passes before dinner. I loved every second of it. My mom was also my youth football coach for a few years and was the first female in Broward County to do so. She was a great coach and still is to this day.”
His mom Diane and father Dan were in attendance every Saturday for the past four years to see their son shatter the Academy record book.
He will go down as one of the greatest quarterbacks to wear the Coast Guard uniform, but his journey as a Coast Guard officer is just getting started as he prepares for life after the Academy.
“I look forward to being able to serve my country, it’s amazing to think about how far we have all come in the past four years,” said Victory. “Just having a change of scenery will work wonders, four years in New England, especially for a Florida boy like myself, has definitely taken its toll on me. I also have huge aspirations of eventually getting my own dog, so that is another thing to look forward to.”