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Thank you for the hundreds of emails I have received since season 2 of Last Chance U began streaming! The most frequently asked question I receive is what did I major in and how did I get where I am? I am honored that there are thousands of you inquiring about this career path and wanting to follow in my footsteps.

Like I told Isaiah Wright in the show;

I don’t have a magic wand or any fairy dust … I don’t have a magic answer for you when it comes to this career field either. There are no secrets and there isn’t one magic way to land in this career. There are many different avenues, majors and jobs  – you just have to open up and see them.

I majored in Sport Communication as an undergraduate student (but I majored in that because I wanted to work for ESPN or on the media side of college athletics). After volunteering my time (and working in it for a short stint), I wasn’t sure if this was what I wanted to do. I decided to go back to school and get my master’s degree. I received my master’s degree in Sport Administration. It was while receiving my upper level degrees that I started to get passionate about college athletics and the role I wanted to play in it. I worked as a graduate assistant in the Athletic Academic Office at Mississippi State University while in school. This was my first interaction with and knowledge of Academic Counselors.

I realized quickly that the interactions with the student-athletes – helping them, guiding them, monitoring them and being involved in their actual day-to-day successes was what I was passionate about.

I graduated and then took a few doctorate level counseling classes (which I loved even more but timing didn’t allow me to continue).

Landing a job in college athletics is all about networking – who you know. I would suggest volunteering as a tutor/mentor at the college nearest you. Even if you aren’t tutoring/mentoring athletes, still – get the experience. Most all colleges have a student success center where they offer tutoring or other services to college students. There will be a separate center for the athletes of that college – Athletic Academic Center – more than likely. Both always need volunteers/workers.

However, college athletics is not the only place to impact young lives. Elementary, Middle and High schools, Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCA – other local organizations offer mentoring programs. If you are looking to make a difference or impact the lives of young people, then go out and find a local organization and volunteer.

Actual experience is the key! Education and degrees are important but experience is golden.

Good Luck!

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This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Beau Colton

    It’s getting late but a Happy Friday to you! Thank you for sharing. One thing you didn’t mention was the it factor, of course you wouldn’t, the way you carry yourself, handle yourself. You have the it factor that would draw people’s attention to you when you walk in a room. Obviously, I only know about you through NetFlix, however reading your blog made me turn your show on again. Take care of yourself. I like the bluntness also, but you have to be that way with some of the students.

  2. Bruce Dickson

    Keep up the good work. You Rock!

  3. Dalton

    Im so glad that your happy and have found your calling. I will miss you in season 3.

  4. Sara M.

    You were hands down my favorite part of the show. I am a teacher and have seen my fair share of students who don’t think they’re good enough and won’t put the effort in. The love that you radiated for those boys and your sheer determination for them to succeed was really heart warming. I especially loved it when you got to see Ollie! Favorite part of season 2! 😊

  5. Bob Keim

    I am in awe at how you can invest so much hope and emotions in a relatively small number of kids that you can actually reach.

    I am reminded of something Siegfried and Roy said. Dogs will do what you want them to do because they want to please you. Cats will only do what they want to do. Our job is to train them to want to do what we want them to do. Siegfried added, “The best way to get a cat to want to do something is food.”

    Stephens’ method of coaching works well with dogs. However, you are left with the the training of cats.

    Coach Summit said it another way. The job of a head coach is to figure out what motivates each individual and then to adopt your coaching to what the athlete wants.

    You would have us believe there are many people doing exactly what you do. However, the graduation rate don’t bare that out.


  6. Bill Smith


    You are a credit to mankind.

    God Bless You!

  7. Rachel

    I have so enjoyed the show and watching your relationship with those boys. I went from being a therapist to teaching high school. Your job on the show is my dream job. Love working with kids and the athletes and troubled kids tend to be my favorite. Sucks that you were unhappy at EMCC, I’m sure you will be missed by your boys. Good luck in the future!

  8. Robert Matte Jr.

    Having taught writing for thirty years at Pima CC and the University of Arizona in Tucson, I have been impressed with your communication skills and heart for students. I pray you will be wildly successful with this new enterprise. Any way I can help in the writing department, feel free to contact me. You ARE doing the Lord’s work.
    In Him,
    Robert Matte Jr. BA, MEd.

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