Athletics blessed me with incredible opportunities and opened some very big doors in my life, including admittance to UC Berkeley, which was an impossibility for me applying as a regular student.
However, my success as a collegiate student athlete was unlikely. I struggled in school throughout my adolescent years. Athletically, both my high school coach and guidance counselor nearly begged me not to try to play Division I football. Not a single college offered me a scholarship, so I accepted the invite to walk-on.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t terrified when I arrived on campus prior to my freshman year. There was very little evidence I would make it athletically or academically, and I was really short on people believing in me. But I learned to apply a set of tools and a strategy that moved me in the direction of the results I desired. It took time and my life got messy at points, but I created success both on and off the field, becoming a starting player by my senior year while spending several semesters on the honor roll. I’m proud of my degree in architecture, which I achieved in four years.
I feel fortunate to have played on three bowl championship teams. My favorite bowl ring is from the Florida Citrus Bowl, where the Cal Bears crushed the Clemson Tigers to finish the season ranked 7th in the nation. I wear the that ring from time to time not for show, but to remind myself of my ability to overcome the odds – my will and persistence.
Pushing the envelope athletically and mentally has never ended for me. I found an outlet to further explore those limits in triathlons and I’m now an experienced Ironman level triathlete.
My mission is to coach young athletes to maximize their strengths and overcome their weaknesses, whether those be physical or mental, in order to create opportunities from themselves that advance their life in the same way sport has advanced mine.