Covenant “Covie” Falana

Follow Covie's journey at NIU with updates posted here each month.

  • February 2019

    Covenant “Covie” Falana

    We’re expecting big things from Covenant “Covie” Falana. So is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

    You might just recognize the 21-year-old NIU junior from Johnson’s new NBC television show, “The Titan Games.” Of 64 competitors hand-picked by Johnson, Falana was one of them.

    The 10-episode series pits contestants against one another in head-to-head athletic challenges, ultimately awarding one male and one female Titan Champion with $100,000.

    “I’m so honored, and I’m so thankful to say I’m a part of it,” said Falana, asked not to reveal the outcome of his episode, airing Thursday, Feb. 14.

    Originally from Nigeria before moving to Bolingbrook, Illinois, Falana transferred to NIU from Joliet Junior College as a business management major, with plans to one day create his own restaurant.  

    “When I was in Nigeria, I didn’t have much food to eat,” he said. “Even when I came to America we didn’t have much. If we had a little money, we would go to a fast-food place.”

    He aims to create a restaurant as convenient and affordable as fast food, but healthy. Along with his athletic ability, Falana’s proud of the mental toughness he brings to his four-hour-a-day workouts at the Student Recreation Center — and to the classroom.

    “You just have to work hard and leave it all on the line,” he said.

  • March 2019

    Covenant “Covie” Falana

    “You win some, you lose some.”

    Things might not have gone the way Covie Falana had hoped on “The Titan Games,” but our Huskie isn’t complaining.

    He’s ready to take on the next challenge. Up against Brad Schaeffer, a podiatrist from New Jersey, Falana scaled the tower drop in Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s new NBC show. In the athletic challenge, the two competitors had to systematically pull heavy poles out of a tower in a climbing race to the top. Schaeffer clinched a neck-and-neck victory.

    “Time to get back to work and come back stronger,” said 21-year-old Falana of Bolingbrook, who hopes to compete again in a second season of “The Titan Games.” He looks at the experience as enlightening, and it might even affect the business management major’s future career goals.

    “It really opened my eyes to a totally new world,” said the Joliet Junior College transfer student. “I think the fitness industry is really polarized. Everyone thinks it’s just about looking good and lifting a lot of weights. That has some truth to it, but there’s so much to it. I think fitness can be really inspiring for everyone so I’m hoping to put out a message that it’s not about how you look ... It’s about getting healthy for yourself.”

    That means healthy both inside and out, he stressed. His endless training has paid off in numerous ways.

    “I take that focus I use when I work out and bring that into school and into my daily life, which gives me a good direction,” he said.

  • April 2019

    Covie Falana

    Our “Titan,” Covenant Falana, has enjoyed his brush with fame and the people he’s met along the way.

    His recent appearance on Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s NBC show “The Titan Games” left him with a base of fans, all motivated to get in shape themselves.

    He still trains nightly for whatever’s next, but these days, he’s all about school.

    Aiming to graduate in spring 2020, the business management major from Bolingbrook has his eye on internship and future job possibilities. Since transferring from Joliet Junior College, he’s relied upon a wealth of NIU resources, including academic advising at the College of Business.

    When it comes time to find a job, he knows Career Services will have his back.

    “When I first came to NIU I didn’t know what I was doing,” said Falana, who met with an advisor immediately upon enrolling.

    “People were so helpful in trying to get all of my credits transferred and helping me acclimate to the new climate.”

    Along with advising offices in each college, the Academic Advising Center works with undergraduate students who are undecided. And NIU’s Student Career Success Map helps students figure out what to do along the way. We’ve got parents covered as well, with our comprehensive list of family resources just for them.

    “It’s like everyone is rooting for everyone’s success and that’s amazing to see in such a big university,” Falana said. “Just even being able to go to the school rec center with my peers rather than a normal gym adds a sense that I am at a university, and it is a home.”

  • May 2019


    Having grown up in Nigeria during tougher times, Covenant Falana now sees opportunity everywhere. He wants others to see it, too.

    When he and his classmates were tasked with a project in their 200-level course on Social Change Leadership — now offered as a minor — he knew exactly what topic he wanted to tackle.

    The group created a flyer on the resources available to lower-income students, as well as anyone unaware of the wide variety of financial aid programs here at NIU.
    Their research revealed opportunities Falana never knew existed. It might seem daunting at first, but scholarships, grants, loans and federal work-study are all readily available.

    “Coming here, there are so many opportunities as long as you know what to look for,” said Falana, a business management major, who lived with his grandmother in Nigeria as a boy.

    Falana’s parents had come to the United States to find jobs after winning a visa lottery, and Falana joined them at age 14. His parents made college a priority for their children.

    “There was nothing,” he said of the opportunities in Nigeria. “It’s still humbling to think back and see how everything has played out. Not many people have the opportunities I have.”

  • June 2019

    Covie Falana

    Inside or outside the classroom, Covie Falana’s all about putting in the effort. He’s staying in DeKalb this summer to work and train in the gym for whatever’s next.

    “I don’t know what might come up,” he said of his interest in the fitness industry, as well as his continued pursuit of a business management degree.

    Originally from Nigeria before moving to Bolingbrook, Falana aims to graduate in 2021 with hopes to one day open his own restaurant, serving affordable healthy food. Meanwhile, he’s working at an area Starbucks and as an Uber driver. Each semester, the 21-year-old says he becomes more encouraged by the people around him and more thankful for the resources available to him in the College of Business and elsewhere.

    “I thought I knew a lot going into college. But looking back at it now, I had almost no idea what I was doing,” he said. 

    Now, he’s full of hope. His experience as a contestant on NBC’s “The Titan Games”has inspired him to seek similar opportunities — perhaps a return to the show or one like it.

    “I think the best thing anyone [not just an athlete] can do is to not compare themselves to others,” he tells his fans on Instagram. “That seems like a pretty easy concept, but practicing it is a little bit more difficult because of the ‘indirect’ pressure society puts on us to always want to outperform each other.”

    “I do believe, though, that seeking self-improvement and celebrating your personal growth is the first step to curing this,” he added.

  • July 2019

    Covie Falana

    Covenant Falana worried he’d have a tough time finding his community when he transferred here from Joliet Junior College as a business management major.

    He sought out like-minded people. “Not partiers,” he says, “but people who still like to have a good time. I was relieved to be able to find that in the NIU community.”

    We’re all about helping students feel at home here, but we know college can seem intimidating. Here’s Falana’s advice to future students:

    “I think the best thing anyone [not just an athlete] can do is to not compare themselves to others,” he tells his fans on Instagram. “That seems like a pretty easy concept, but practicing it is a little bit more difficult because of the ‘indirect’ pressure society puts on us to always want to outperform each other.”

    “I do believe, though, that seeking self-improvement and celebrating your personal growth is the first step to curing this,” he added.

  • August 2019


    “Take a deep breath.”

    That’s what Covie Falana’s telling himself as a new semester approaches.

    “My mind is always on graduating right now,” said Falana, who aims to graduate in 2021 or sooner.

    He’s spent the summer working two part-time jobs and, of course, working out. After appearing as a competitor on NBC’s “The Titan Games,” the 21-year-old originally from Nigeria is always open to future athletic opportunities. He’s added nearly 20 pounds of muscle this summer.

    Balancing it all can be tricky, and when school starts, he said he’ll likely cut back on the jobs to allow more time to study.

    “What really helps me is just trying to schedule and prioritize,” he said. “I try to get the important things done first and then go from there. The system fails sometimes when I get distracted, but it’s usually about knowing what’s important.”

    For him, that’s earning a business management degree and one day opening his own restaurant.

    “I’m just trying to get it done one semester at a time,” he said.

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