As the University of Maryland men's lacrosse team looks to replace a group of 12 seniors who helped lead the Terps to their first national championship in 42 years, Bubba Fairman is expected to be a significant part of the equation.
Fairman, a Utah native, is the No. 1-ranked player in the class of 2017,
according to Inside Lacrosse
. Not only did he participate in the Under Armour All-America Lacrosse Game at Towson University July 1, he scored two goals. After his second, he channeled WWE star Randy Orton and
performed an "RKO" celebration
-- the RKO is Orton's finishing maneuver -- that quickly spread across the internet. Fairman spoke to PressBox about the celebration and his future with Maryland lacrosse.
The RKO celebration was pretty amazing. How did that come about?
Bubba Fairman: So honestly, the guy that I RKO'ed, his name is Elliott. We were talking the night before, and we were thinking of celebrations. We couldn't think of anything. We were scrolling through Twitter and we saw the WWE RKO and that just gave us the idea -- or sparked it. The next day we were getting ice cream right before the game, and he brought it up and it just sounded perfect. We agreed the second goal I scored that we were going to do it.
Did you guys rehearse it?
BF: We actually practiced it -- not full speed, obviously -- but we practiced it in the locker room right before.
And the third guy coming in to count the pin?
BF: That was part of it as well. We set that up in the locker room. We got him in it, so we could have the official countdown.
Did this happen because you're a big wrestling fan?
BF: I'm not a big wrestling fan at all, but it was just something we came up with on the spot and thought it would be good, so we went with it.
How cool was the reaction to it? I know it kind of went viral with Barstool Sports and a lot of others sharing it.
BF: It was insane. So I hopped on my plane early in the morning, and I had a layover in Denver. As soon as I landed, my brother called me and he just told me, "Dude, you're on Barstool Sports." I thought he was messing with me at first but I checked and I was on Barstool. And SportsCenter posted it and ESPN and it just started blowing up, and it was insane. I've gotten like a lot of follows from some pretty big-name people.
What was it like just being in the area for the All-America Game knowing you're going to be here for the next four years?
BF: I had orientation the first two days, which was fun. I'd go out and visit the school. But I didn't really understand the atmosphere, the whole environment behind lacrosse there. As soon as I showed up to Towson I had all of these Maryland alums coming up to me and just telling me how pumped they are for me and how great Maryland is. It was so amazing just to kind of get out there and experience what it's going to be like for myself there for the next four years.
How does a kid from Utah end up playing lacrosse at Maryland?
BF: I ask myself that every day, too. Luckily, I had two older brothers who beat up on me and always made me play up with them to kind of help me through it. And I've had so many people in my life just kind of pushing me. And I've been fortunate enough to go to two boarding schools on the East Coast (Calverton in Southern Maryland for my junior year and Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts for my post-grad year) and that's how I found Maryland. But I would just say my family overall.
How does a kid from Utah end up playing lacrosse at all?
BF: My dad played on the East Coast. He lived in Boston, well Framingham, Mass. So he grew up on the East Coast and then he went to college for football. In Utah they didn't really have lacrosse. My brothers and I were all raised here. We grew up playing baseball. My dad wanted to get us into lacrosse, but there was no club program for my age or my brother's age. So he ended up just starting some teams for my brother or myself. That's kind of how we got into it. For the most part, the reason I ended up in Maryland is just because whenever I played club lacrosse we'd always be playing on the East Coast. So that's how I got that exposure, just mainly through club.
What does it feel like knowing you're going to be playing for the defending national champions?
BF: That's not too bad. That's not too bad. It was crazy, I was actually up in Foxborough, Mass., at that game. The whole atmosphere of Maryland lacrosse is unbelievable. I had no idea of how big it was and how much it meant to everybody. To see how many fans Maryland had at that game was just unbelievable. It was crazy. It was awesome to watch. I love the coaches there. Everything about Maryland is just amazing. That's all I can say.
Could there be any more celebrations in the future?
BF: We'll have to wait and see. A lot of them come up on the spot.
Lastly, how did "Cole" end up becoming "Bubba?"
BF: I was born at 13 pounds, and I was just the fattest baby you could ever imagine. My cheeks rolled over my chin. I was just unbelievably fat. My parents gave it to me, and it's just stuck ever since.