Alum Scores Ultimate Touchdown With SHI Stadium Marriage Proposal

Mike Greengarten and Danielle Kozlosky at SHI Stadium
Michael Greengarten proposed to his girlfriend Danielle Kozlosky the day before Thanksgiving 2023 during a special trip to SHI Stadium.
Adam Brooks

When Michael Greengarten and Danielle Kozlosky first met, there was little sign of the roller coaster romance ahead that would include an untraditional COVID-19 courtship and an epic on-the-field marriage proposal.

The two met as undergraduates at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. Greengarten, who was studying sports management, and Kozlosky, who studied sports medicine, would run into each other in the football training room during their respective internships with Rutgers Athletics, but at the time, the interest wasn’t there. They lost touch after Greengarten’s graduation in 2014.

It wasn’t until years later – when Kozlosky returned to Rutgers to pursue a doctoral degree in toxicology – that a chance encounter at a bar set their love story in motion.

“We just started reconnecting, so I decided to give him a chance,” Kozlosky says. “Our first date was a trip down Rutgers memory lane, so we went to Tavern on George, Clydz and Olive Branch, and it was a really good time, so I decided let's do a second date.”

As soon as they felt a spark, the COVID-19 lockdown made starting a relationship an unimaginable challenge. But instead of being discouraged, Greengarten, who has been working for Rutgers Athletics for the last 10 years, says he had to get creative in his approach.

“One time we did a Google Maps date, where we showed each other where we grew up, where we want to vacation one day, where our families are from and that was really nice,’’ Greengarten says. “For another date, when zoos were streaming footage of their animals in real time, we spent a day looking at the hawks and the elephants like we were at the zoo. It was really nice to be able to still explore new things together even though we weren't physically in the same space.”

Mike Greengarten and Danielle Kozlosky at SHI Stadium after the proposal
Mike Greengarten and Danielle Kozlosky with custom Rutgers jerseys after the proposal
Adam Brooks

It wasn't until Memorial Day of that year when Kozlosky invited Greengarten over for a family barbecue that their love was able to fully blossom.

“After that, the rest is history,” Kozlosky says.

When it came time for Greengarten to pop the big question, he followed most of the traditional steps. The couple picked out a ring with the help of a family friend, Jeff Robbins, from Martin Jewelers. For the big moment, Greengarten, now the associate director of major gifts for Rutgers Athletics, knew that Rutgers and the Scarlet Knights, which first brought them together, had to be a major part of it.

“She defended her dissertation in the summer, so I knew proposing in the fall after the chaos of that would be perfect. I spoke to her parents and asked for their blessing and made sure our parents and close friends were there,” Greengarten says.

Greengarten asked Dan Ryan, senior associate athletic director of facilities and operations, if he could use SHI Stadium for the proposal. He put in a special request with Julia Baumanis and Todd Nichols, the assistant director and director of University Bands, to have the Marching Band perform some Queen and the Rutgers Fight Song after the proposal. PJ Mullen, senior associate athletic director of marketing, game presentation and fan experience, agreed to provide graphics on the jumbotron.

slideshow of photos on the jumbotron at SHI Stadium
Adam Brooks

Greengarten also had food and drinks delivered to the stadium, arranged for videographer Cory Pontarollo and photographer Adam Brooks to capture the moment, and even practiced turning on and off lights. He paid attention to every detail and even scheduled the proposal around her hair and nail appointments.

“Since we had previously spoken about it, and I used my excuse for having a work event that day, she had a hunch to get her nails done,’’ Greengarten says. "Even though it wasn't sneaky enough to completely fool her, it worked out.’’

There, at the 50-yard line, the day before Thanksgiving, Greengarten surprised Kozlosky with the proposal of her dreams as a photo montage of the couple flashed on the big stadium screen.

“It was perfect,” Kozlosky recalls. “Having friends and both of our families present really made the moment so special.”

Planning for a wedding in April of next year at the Jersey Shore, Greengarten and Kozlosky are enjoying the process, while also simultaneously wanting the day to come as soon as possible.

“It was the most unexpected love story, and if it wasn't for Rutgers, we would have never met and I am so thankful,” Kozlosky says.

“Rutgers is one of the most special places on Earth—and for us, it has even more meaning now,” Greengarten adds.

Mike Greengarten and Danielle Kozlosky with their parents at SHI Stadium after the proposal
Michael Greengarten, Danielle Kozlosky and their parents after the proposal
Adam Brooks