Derrell Johnson Koulianos: fallen role model? - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Derrell Johnson Koulianos: fallen role model?

IOWA CITY (KWWL) - After gaining a reputation as one of Iowa's all-time best receivers, Derrell Johnson-Koulianos now faces serious drug charges, but he's certainly not the first collegiate or pro athlete to be in the spotlight for alleged misbehavior.

Regardless of what team they play for, well-known athletes share something in common: they carry role model status with young people, especially young athletes.

"We talk about how the eyes are on them all the time, and especially as coaches, we're role models for those players," said Keith McSweeney, Activities Director and coach for Solon Schools. McSweeney said he and other coaches constantly tell their solon teams to be on their best behavior, because they set an example for others.

Alex Kanellis felt the weight of that responsibility when he played for the Hawkeyes in 2006 and 2007.

"When you walk around Iowa City and you're on the football team, you're representing the football team," said Kanellis in the weight room at Regina High School, where he now coaches.

Kanellis and McSweeney say situations like the one Johnson-Koulianos is in, unfortunate as they are, can serve as a lesson.

"When something like this happens, we use it as a learning opportunity," McSweeney explained.

"Here's a guy that had a lot going for him, and that's all gone," Kanellis told us.

However, Kanellis also has this message for Hawkeye fans and followers: "I think it's important for kids to understand that there's still great role models on that team, and understand that this is in the news and getting all of this negative attention, because we hope it's something that doesn't happen."

Most coaches we spoke with say character-building and drug awareness are important topics of discussion for their teams.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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