Inspiring Excellence Today While Preparing Leaders for Life

Feb. 26, 2013

HOUSTON - Life of a student-athlete can be rewarding when great plays are made on the field. Accolades and achievements are accomplished throughout their four-year career at Houston, but what is the next step for an athlete after they hang up their cleats? Athletes are constantly focused on the routine of practice and study hall that focusing on other aspects of life after athletics is a non-existing thought.

For that reason the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) recently hosted an event called Real World 101. The event served as a way for current Houston student-athletes to get a glimpse of what awaits them in life after their athletic career. Houston junior baseball player Chase Wellbrock expressed his interest in the event

“This is a great opportunity for us to learn from people who were in our shoes not too long ago,” he said. “We don’t know when our playing careers will end, so we have to be prepared to start our careers in the business world.”

The event started off with a panel that spoke to a room full of student-athletes about their personal experience in the work force. The panel consisted of Ashley Bryant, who lettered in Track and Field at Houston and graduated in 2010, Patrick Okafor, a former men’s basketball standout who has come back from playing overseas to finish his degree in psychology, and Houston running back Andre Kohn, currently an executive district team leader at Target.

Kohn emphasized what the business world is going to expect from their employers “There is a world out there that doesn’t care how many tackles you had, or how good of a swimmer you were. It cares about the results you’re going to give for the company. That was a harsh realization for me. We wanted to come back and talk to these athletes about the reality of life.”

After the panel was done giving their testimonies they answered questions asked by the student-athletes that related to current and future situations. Troy Hopkins then took over the auditorium by giving a step-by-step breakdown of the correct way to create a résumé. The Director of Undergraduate Career Counseling at the Rockwell Career Center, Hopkins expressed how recent graduates are unprepared for life after college. Recent graduates make mistakes as simple as putting together their résumé in an unprofessional way.

This proved to be a valuable lesson for those who attended because it allowed them to see mistakes that their fellow peers are making. By going through this lesson, the student-athletes now have an advantage when it comes to applying for jobs with an expanded sense of résumé building.   

After the student-athletes were finished with the large group portion of the lecture, they were broken up into small groups that fit their field of interest. Comcast SportsNet, who recently airs Houston Athletics’ coaches shows, met with a handful of student-athletes to talk about sports communications. Sam Hale, the coordinating producer for CSN and responsible for all content within talk and news shows, oversees the intern program and training classes at the station met with the student-athletes about opportunities in the broadcasting field.

“Our partnership with UH allows us to host the coaches shows, and we’ve had a great time running those,” said Hale. “We are a growing company and we want to be able to reach out to recent graduates. Our internship programs have positions available, and we want to let students know that there are opportunities to join our company.”

CSN has hired as many as eight interns from the University of Houston because they have a connection with the school in the form of Dr. Rey Trevino, the faculty supervisor for all Kinesiology-Sports Administration senior internships.

SAAC provided the opportunity to learn more about what awaits them following the final whistle. Instead of trying to rush and develop a plan after graduation, SAAC is trying to implement the mindset of being prepared when the time comes to reflect Houston Athletics’ mission of inspiring excellence today while preparing for lessons in life.



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