1987 College graduate Dennis Coffey won his second consecutive episode of 'Jeopardy!' on Monday night, winning a total of $39,202. He will continue his run again tomorrow night.
After graduating from Penn with an Asian & Middle Eastern Studies degree, Coffey said he bounced around between academia, commodities, and bar management. He returned to school and graduated from the University of Southern Maine with a degree in Classics. Coffey currently works as a bartender at Duffy's Tavern and Grill in Old Orchard Beach, Maine.
“I’m a night person now, but when I was at Penn, I would wake up at 4:30 in the morning and hit the books,” Coffey said. “But now I stay up late and am just a night owl."
Coffey said that he was “academic and bookish” during his time at Penn but that he didn't fit in with Penn's pre-professional culture.
Coffey said he applied to be on the show three times before being invited on this year. He said that being a contestant was never about making money, but instead for the experience and having fun. The two-time 'Jeopardy!' champion, however, described the competition as “pretty mentally challenging at times.”
In Coffey’s first game, which aired Jan. 17, he trailed for much of the competition but captured the victory after being the only player to correctly answer the Final Jeopardy! question and successfully knocked off four-day champion Veronica Vichit-Vadakan.
His Monday night victory came in a similar fashion. After trailing for the entire game, he once again came out on top after the final round.
"Of the four jobs in George Washington’s cabinet, what two have been filled by women in the 230 years since its creation?" the Final Jeopardy! question read which Coffey answered correctly with "What are the Secretary of State and Attorney General?"
Coffey said he only buzzed in first on 26.8% of questions on Friday and Monday, much lower than most 'Jeopardy!' winners. He attributes the low percentage to being one of the older competitors on the show but said his strategy of “scrapping it to win,” or edging out the competition, is what has led to his success.
To future Penn students looking to compete on the show, Coffey has words of advice: “Stay poised. It’s really challenging at times.”
Coffey, now a two-day champion, will compete again on Tuesday night. The episode will air at 7 p.m. EST on ABC.
All comments eligible for publication in Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. publications.