Huddle Up with Gus
Huddle Up with Gus

Episode · 2 years ago

Kevin Rabbitt

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

CEO of NEP Broadcast Productions joins the huddle, Kevin talks; playing against the Fab Five in college, his path to a CEO, and bowling with Venus Williams. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

I am former NFL quarterback Guspera. Iplayed quarterback fifteen years in the NFL. This is my show called Huddl upwith Gus each week I team up with my longtime friend Dave Hager, and wetalked with guests about how sports shape their lives pro athletes,business, executives, community leaders, everyone has a story to tell about R.We invite you to huddle up with gums this week in the huddle. He was an all American kid growing upin America's heartland. This competitive and hard working athleteLove Sports, focused and determined. He always kept his eye on the ballbasketball, that is, this foller dribbled his way into junior collegeposted up at rice and then made a fast break for Harvard where he earned anMBA. He now runs one of the most powerful sports media companies in theworld. Please welcome to the Huddle Kevin Rabbit, we're here at the Beautiful EnergyInnovation Center and we're bringing into the huddle today aspecial guest who you know just one of the largest companies in all of America Don you think they quietgiant, quiet giant like that. I like that so joining up today. In the HOTDLis Kevin, Rabbit Kevin thanks for being with us. We really appreciate youcoming in and getting in the huddle and talking and telling us a little bitabout your life and how sports shape that yeah glad to be here. wellthankyou. So you know one of the things we like to do. I is ask those kind ofearly questions. A lot of people don't know, because you know a lot of peoplecan look at your bio and see all the accomplishments you've had. But what welike to do is get in and really how you started your life and like whatinfluenced you, who is that first person or first idol or or whatinfluenced you to really love Sports Yeah Tat's great? I grew up in KansasCity and I really say: Sports was my entire life, so either playing sportswatching sports, talking about sports and really the two people that had thebiggest impact where my father, who was it, was a college basketball player adwon the Naa National Championship, ine thousand nine hundred and sixty four,and that was always kind of a focal point of knowing that he did that and and and how much fun. That was for himand how proud he was of that. And then my older brother was three years olderand you know essentially that's who I compete against every day. U, I thinkit's such an advantage to have an older sibling that kicks your butt on aregular basis and sports, and I didn't even play against kids my own age.Until I think I got you know Middle School, I just played on his teams andgot to play against him and wed a big thing in our neighboroohood thatwhatever sport you played so basketball football baseball outside the winningteam got to go in our basement and they got to hit a certain put a certain songon in the Jukbox. That was, we are the champions by Queen and you get to singit to the losing team and so still nightmares. My brother, like saying you,know no time for losers and playting at me, so that was that was actually thatwas actually a big biggesh lit. You said this motivation, yeah, I sure, did,and it was great when I got to the stage where I could beat him becous. Igot to sing it to him. Oh yeah and things, and he know whawere, to playwith me anymore, so yeah. So the do you do randomly just send them that songand say hey. Remember when I kicked your butt. He knows that Syeah well,Kansas City said your great sports down, I mean you must have followed all thelocal team. Absolutely man, the royalswere great than Kannas city kings,were around that time. You know thawont Sacramento Kings. I was remember beingat the game. When Darrel Dawkans broke the backboard in Kansas City andchocolate Thun Jug at Tho, they they couldn't, they couldn't figure out howthey to get a new basket in there so and they didn'tknow what to do with thefans. So we got to gues, you walk down n the court and get a piece of theglass o tea EA. They were figuring out. What? What to do? I also George Brettwas always my my favorite athlete of all time got to know him and my adult life andhe's not disappointed. He is the competitor that that h hat he comesacross in baseball when you're playing golf with them Orin other sport. Healways wants to win and he usually does e. He Fuc got sixe stories to I'm sureOh yeah yeah. I don't think I think those for a different podcast yeah. So one thing I always like my fatherand we collected cards together: Did you collect cards or anything like that?Yeah, we es be big. When we were younge, yeah baseball cards were specially, sowe yeah we had. We get the whole set. I remember get in one thousand ninehundred and eighty entire set and u still got those somewhere and then wewould, you know, collect random ones. You know that we would trade an acrossthe neighbor kids and it was. It was a big part of growing up. So did yourparents today, you know sports is different. Now I mean when you havekids and it's so different like it's so everything's regimented and you got tobe here like so when you were kidding, you had O play a little league orwhatever it was. Your parents always go to your games and were they alwayssupportive and yeah they were. They were at every game, allthe way actuallythrough college. I think they made Maye most games, I mean they were. They weresports, a big part of their life as well,...

...and they have they've been bigsupporters of me, and but you know I would agree it's very different. Now Imean en you know, when we grew up Y, you played four sports right. Everyseason was something different and you know you didn't specialize at age, nineand t into a particular sport, and I think it was good for your body to playdifferent sports and muscles to develop different ways or your mind to Ho lessburn out an yeah for sure. Yeah, like one of my favorite things, ive growinup was, we would just go and we'd write our bike from house to house and getkids and we'd go to the local field, and we just played you know and that'swhat I regret is. I don't see kids doing that today. Did you was that abig part of what you guys grew up? Absolutely I maemberi thinking entireSumer. What I would do is either myself ord my brother or my next door. DavorRoss. It was my brother's age. We wuld get her bikes ride down to. We calledat a country club, but I think it was a glorified Mil Park. Right, has smallmembership to it. We Doi we playd tennis, all day, probably play you know.Three four hours of tennis go swimming for a little while come back play pingpong in the basement and then go to your baseball game that night, and thatwas you wouldrepeat and pick a pick, a different sport. Maybe it's whiffleballthe next day. If it was raining outside my ext door neighbor, and I we would,we would have tournaments and ping pong where I my right hand would play hisleft hand. Then my left hwll play his right hand and y. You hope to e bothright hands, O one. So ther'll be a championship right, ecause speaking of Lipeball, it's funnynow, even at age, forty, nine driving around different suburbs of PittsburghI'll go that looks like that, be a good witfemall field. You know I still tametime. I think that all the time, an there's, a house on the FIELM Club e Corner Corner Lot on the conets oneleven, that's got a straight up. Hill and it'd be a perfect whiffleball fieldplay up hill, oh yeah, so Keith kitchuck Gon. He was played in the NHLfor a long time. They they called him Big Walt Right, and soevery year he has a home he's from Boston, and so they have a home out inthe Cape every year that he has a whiffeball tournament and he invitesdifferent people there. And you know it's one of those drinking tournaments,but it's wiffaball. So you know, if you think you can't hit a Wolfa ball whenyou're sober Y, a imagine when you're you're having a little fun with sslik ahockey players, N Char Sill, the umpire yeah. Definitely yet so you know understanding like how we all grew up,and so what was that? One moment from when you were a kid that you youremember, sports that really stayed with you. Was it whether you wereplaying or watching somebody or seeing a championship? What was that yeah o? Iremember I think, there's like two. So one was I was in. I was in fifth grade.My Dad reminds me of this all the time playing in great American BasketballLeagu, so the local wreck, basketball league and I remember we had lost tothis team earlier in the seasons. Ore only lostwere playing them in the championship and you know cold snowy day I had cutthe tips of my fing F, my gloves off, so I could shoot before the gameoutside and and get ready and remember my dad saying: Yeah, it's okay! If youguys don't win this Gami said: Don't Wor Dad we're GOINGTO we're going towin this game, and I remember I think that was my old time high in my life.Like thirty five points, I think I had like the first sixteen points of thegame and- and just remember in retrospect, you remember kind of howhard you worked and then you got reward for for working and wanting desire towin and then a little bit quite a bit later in high school. We always hadreally good high school teams. You know we have three to five division: oneplayers on our team and clost years as I started from Sophomore Yeron, and wenever could quite get to where we wanted to be. And then my senior yearwe went undefeated and won the state championship on a buzzard beater, a three Pointerath at the Buzzer to to win state in the state of the large class of Kansas andwow that group of players you thee of us, went on to play division, one other twowere, great role, players, andthen we had hosix guys that that played Nii. But that group will be friends forlife. We get together once or twice a year still, and it's like we have eenleft each other, because it was a group that worked all summer to try andachieve something that we had fallen short even with kind of more talentedteams. In the years before I back te crowds in high school Kansas weretremendous. They they were out standing yeah and we were K our high school. Hadyou know over twothousand, kids, but yeah. We would probably have twothousand fans F for every game: Wow and then you know you get to the StateChampionship. It's probably seven, eight hsand people at the game. Whatarena did you play? The State Chaon BEIP IMPOREA State University? So it'sa division to school yeah when we on this is an an interesting sto. We won.I passed the ball to right over the half court line took Inamed Greg girly wo in a plan at Kansas, great caught. It turned shot a threepointer at the Buzzer we win by. We went by two points. We were down by oneat the time, all of our fans, our student section jumped up at the sametime because they're excited and they land on the bleachers in the bleacherscllap. So people were f flowing on to...

...the O onto the court. No one really gothurt, but it was. It was amazing. We still. I still watch that video and yousee people jump ind thes just flowing on onto the court because they thebleachers a collapsed right and that's what started like all the fans were upin the court. It was an accident and their fans are started now. It's a yousee it all the time po I bomb Russian and you weren't Wen a statechampionship or National Championshin. I Wow Kevin we're GOINGTA get a littlebit about your high school experience. We've all had different high schoolexperiences Dave. You know we don't like to talk about his anymore, becausethis are kind of crazy. They were limited, also athletically, but good fan. You were yeah we so wehad Ryan Fitz Patrick on a few weeks ago, and so Dave was from Tucson Ryan fromGilbert Arizona, and so they had a little bit of you know Arizona, arrivalhere in Pittsburgh, so Itas kind of funny how real short the worst homerjob I'ver seen from a referee, was in ate one that I thought we wereto. I foufinished a Gilbert therapser from Gilbert, neverseing like ISO. When you got into your high school you like, so we all makethat transition from like eighth grade to high school N at's. It's tough for alot of people, you know. So what was that like for you? When youwent from, you know we're all playing sports with all your buddies and allSenen your in high school and it somethings change. Something say thesame and for me was a good transition. I I remember, I think fomy worstathletic year ever was eighth grade and I hadn't grown and other kids had grown.I remember just being on know how I went from being good to being you know,not very good, and so I Tik Atto high school. I saw thise kind of a newopportunity to reestablish myself in sports. I Played Two sports. I playedsoccer and I played, and I played basketball and I played you know, don't evethink.This happens Ma anymore, but playon, the freshman team, but both you knowwhen, when I was a freshman end up having great coaches and both of thosethat really helpe me develop was the best thing I mean think I wasdisappoined. I wasn't playing jv on these, but played freshman, and thatwas probably the best part of my development and then from Sophomoreyouon started verse after those o, so that was t at that. Transition wasreally about. I think, two great freshman coaches, that that really helpme develop in both those sports and that's important to it is a there's, somany people who are disappointed if they don't make the say the JV notverseyer whatever ' sometimes you got to play, you got to get minutes and getbetter and that's what Kan an di you. You know if there wasn't a freshmanteam, you may have sat the bench as GV player and absolutely M An. I think Ithink just getting Repsin and whatever you're doing is really important insaying your own, whatever team you're on right and also havin an influencelike a great coach that understands it can communicate coaches make such a bigdifference in in kids lives in high school, and we see it all the time ifthey don't have a good coach. You guys ware just talking about Fox Chapel. Youknow. If H, if there's not a good coach, then sometimes things can happen in adifferent way that that people don't want to go out right and-and if you have a good coach, then you want to go and play and it seems likeyou had that. That kind of experience certainly did. I had great coachesgeting, both freshman coaches were outstanding and they were not king afull time. Teachers, one was had been a college soccer player and one was hadformerly been a coach, but and they came back to coach those teams becausethey really wanted to and they hade bi impact, and then I was fortunae to havegreat versety coaches throughout as well. My younger brother is a high schoolcoach now, and so I just have a lot of respect for for folks that you knowspend that amount of time trying to shape. You know kids, young kids livesand deal with parent issues and other other things that they get in the wayas well it just trying to coach and just a disclaimer, both Kevin and mykids, both good. I Fox Chapel and they're. All great coaches, so WHEC? UI would absolutely Gee Thatwe Wen. I establish that we have this great thingcalled editing, Dav, so e dn't, like Hawe C, take it out, but no. I was justtrying to make the point that my kids didn't want to play certain sportsbecause they knew that the coach et Centra wasn't somebody they wanted tobe around because other kids talk and great coaches, you know usually developgreat players because they understand them. They know how to deal with them.They knowow to put them. You know, through the ring, like my high schoolcoach, was my wife's father and Harry ECOUSE for forty two years and Harrywas tough as they come in football, but everybody respected them and everybodywanted to play for him. So coaches come in all different shapes of sizes andcan make a real difference. N It in a kids life. Absolutely so you went through a little bit aboutyour. You know your one of your greatest moments was, you know you guyswin e State Championship, but you didn't get there because youwere just there o talk a little bit about that hard work you had to put inall the time. Yeah I mean it was basketball was always my favorite ofthe sports. So I worked at basketball year round. I love soccer, but you knowsoccer. I didn't, I don't think I put as much time into, and so you is ongoing routine. That I would do youknow, would be it isn. The summertime it'd be an hour and a half two hourroutine of hitting ballhandling...

...shooting and then, in addition to that,addition to that doing, weight, lifting and other conditioning and and when it was in season or or stillschool year, itould be a shorter version of that. But that was a bigpart of it and then, as a team we all got together. We would we would meet atsomeone's house and we would do workouts together. We would meet at thegym and do workout together we play in same summer leagus and then in the pure form. You know notwhat it is today. We played AAU basketball to certainly me and and theother two guys that played division one at that point in time, Kansas City wasprobably the hottest that there's been in basketball and they've writtenarticles about this in the CNC star. Where there's, I think there was liketwenty to twenty five division. One players. When I was hen, I was a seniorcoming out of coming out O he high school area there and we we won theKansas side, state champoship in the rank nationally and you'll say day.Another team won the Missouri side and they were Rick Nationally in H, Usaday as well, and so we would.We Hdad two different AU teams that were from Kansas City and we both teamswere all friends, but wit teams toured around and we played, I think, thirtythirty five games in the summer against you, people like Penny, Hardaway andSean Bradley and Wow, and that was a big momnt forcs, because weall realize I think we went, I think we'e played thirty. One Games, thinkwe're twenty eight and three one of our losses was to the other Cam city team. We Lost Attius Edny, we lost EAC Ravisbest, but we had beaten, anphrony hardaway, we had beaten Sean Bradleyand that was kind of a moment where we all realized that we could play. You know this. Sport Adi t a biggerlevel, not just not just Kansas City, an high school, so seanbraley beingseven six like. How did you guys, fair inside against that? We certainlydidn't have a seven six guy? Our biggest GAT was probably six tenyeah and up going plannt navy. But I remember I was going down a vast breakand he was the only one back. Searp barley was, and so I was just goingright at thim. I don't know what Ias Goinna do, so I just jumped as high asI could put the ball over my arm this way and threw it up over my head and myhip only got to his hip. I hit his hip and they caughtd a foule on him. An theball went in so it was. It was a compure luck shot, but it was s WernaeTtyeaa to find hat footageandjust post, like postrizing Sohn Bradley, but you know you were talking aboutlike soccer like when I grew up here and outside of Pittsburgh. I didn'treally know what soccer was. I mean I kind of knew it was, but nobody reallyplayed it right right and so for you to even play soccer in high school. Idon't even know if our high schools had that much around here. When I wasgrowing up, you know back in the s right Tuson they did, it was decent,but yeah. I don't. I don't think anybody really wanted to play soccerbecause it wasn't big yeah, its Alrefo riht yeah, ITC soccer was pretty bigand cansy. Tha Time we had indoor socer team in the Kan city comments. That was,you know, professional team and they d generated a lot of excitement but yeah.I ocker at that point in times kind of like across today. Right now never seenlacross and it's all over now yeah, it's my kids played they loved it. Theythey didn't want to play baseball because theywere, you know too slow.Well, they were growing up in St Louis Yeah. It was slow and therew's a lot ofSt Luca's, huge baseball in town and everybody wanted to play baseball, andso they were one of like twenty kids on the team and they played two inningsand they sit yea and then they played lacrosse and found out hey. I can hitmy brother with this. Stick then O love with it to to from one yeah they gottato for one. So you probably growing up in KansasCity, you dream, as a basketball players, probably play Ku. I wouldimagine every kid that grew up in Kansas. Yes, when did you start getting the feelinghey, you know what I might be able to play on this next level. That wasprobably after my sophomore year, migh school at had mentioned. My father wasa college basketball player. My goalen life had always bent that point in timeto be a division, one basketball player, and I don't no one really put that goalin my head. But that's what I wanted to be and certainly would would hope to haveplayed at Kansas or Kansas State was great at the time as well. I've gotten O at that point in time.Wan Kruger was a head coach at Kansas State and I've gotten to know him andisn't like a Mitch Richmond there, its rich man, Steve Henson, yeah. I've gotto know all those guys, and I I remember saying the coach Criger onetime we were golf and I said Ou remember when you passed on me and itdidn't take me and he goes Kevin. I stand by that evaluation. Still, you might have got their team GP, llyeah. We don't need to talk about that one either, but you know- and I thinkthat when you when you have those aspirations for me, you know the firstletter I ever got was from University of Michigan to play football, and I waslike Oh yeah, I'm going to Michigan, but it didn't happen. You know, andthen I started getting some other letters and understanding it. So wereyou get recruited by a lot of people? How did that work? For you yeah? It was,I mean and again since our team was so good. You know. Roy Williams is almostevery one of our games. He had up taken. You know my buddy to play for him andso y you got a lot of exposure yeah. I was recruited kind of broadly so organwas recruiting me for a long time. They...

...came to a lot of games, a lot of IVLeague school, so Princeton and Brown, and then and then some of the Missouri Valleyschools would would come and watch as well. But I wasn't, I don't think there was anyone thatjust said that they had to have me on their team, and so it wasn't like. Iwas, you know widely recruited, but certainly had a lot of exposure with alot lot of people coming to watch me did Pete Crill ever call you or yeahPik, Woldid, yeah and Hiy got named Jan Ven Bredikov was is was his topassistant. I spent a lot of time he on the phone with him. Okay, that's prettyinteresting, so now you're a senior right and you got all these schools to choosefrom so now you pick rice. I didn't pick rice originally soand I end up not having a ton of shoose from so I organ dropped off at the end.They didn't. They didn't offer me and so Princeton Brown both wanted meto come and and my my parents said you know thatt'd be great. If you want to go there and I really wanted a scholarship Ho, Ididn't want. My parents have to pay for school, and so I turned both of them down andPete Crill, actually called Gut name Wayne Zok, who was a head coach atMonmas College in New Jersey and used to be as assistant and said you shouldtake Kevin. So he took me side unseen at that point in time, based on P,karols recommendation, and so I played, I went to Monmouth college my freshmanyear no northeast conference, Robert Morris S, always our big rival yeah. We were good. We think we won nineteentwenty games that year I got mono though I got sick, and so I didn't Iplayed in the first game against Saint Johns. I didn't play any other gamesafter that and at that point in time I realized that.Maybe I should have thought about an evy league school from an educationstandpoint as much as I liked monmoth, I was thinking I think I could kind ofgot little bit higher academic, school and Rice had always recruited me and one of my best friends a year below mehad decided to go there, and, and so they said Hey if, if you're intestedcoming still, we would love to have you. So I was I left Monmouth and I didn'twant to sit out again. I just had a red shirt year, so I committed to Rice, andthen I and then I played for one year in a junior college and Iwa MarshalTown Community College, Ten, ten division, one basketball players livingin a motel in the middle of Iowa, the motel was called the moonlight budget,t motel and basically alls we did was playbasketball and every once in a while go to class. I had't spend anythanksgiving surprising in Marshalltown Iwa. Both my parents are from MarshallTown. We marshaltown high school yeah. So I know Marshalton know that yourparents are from my own yeah. My Dad went to granel and yeah, but welthebony budget motel was right across the street from the beat club, the onenight club that was that was right. There was across highway thirty, sowell. Thit was near the movie theater. I remember we. That was what we had todo was going to de thits. The only thing to do, one showing was one movieand we watch it and N, so it was. It was a long way to get to rice, but thenI played three years at right after that, so we went through kind of yourearly years and now we're into your college years. You just kind of youguys had a great connection of Marshall Town and where you were at a Juco andthen you could go to rice after that. What was your experience like at RigceYeah? That was, that was a great experience. Overall, you know rice atthe time was in the southwest conference right. So it's Texas, Texas,aanm, Texas, techtcu, SMU Bayler, so all Texas schools all rivals, and wewere good. We were. We were just. We had just kind of come through a periodwhere they'd been one of the worst teams in the conference an I got there.They had, you know finished in the top three the year before we thought we're going to win it myfirst year and we got O end up getting second and yeah. We, I think, the only schoolacross my my career, those three years we e losing recorgndiwas Texas text. Wehad had good teams right and for me personally, I played a lot. So I wasthe backup point card. A sophomore was starter after that, but it was a pretty humbly experienceto right. You start to realize you know how talented people are. I mean Texashad three point cards that played in the NBA and they're all playingtogether at the same time, so you it'. So it's pretty humbling that yourealize how hard you have to work just to compete with people, and you got tofind ways of got in the court by doing things that you know, everyone was ascore before right and you got to find other ways to GE on the court biteplaying defense by running the team lik playing harder than everybody else.Arkansas is in the conference they had just left but bside by time. I got okay,so just Texas schools. At that point, you ere you got to MIT. You have tododge the forty minutes of hell than we did yeah. It was what a great enviroentheugh,because everyone o the again everyone. These schools were wer rival, so yea. Ithink we sold out every conference game. You know an ulv other than TC. I thinkeveryone sold out ther their buildings every time. So yeah, that's great! So alot of transitions you made when you were younger and playing with all yourbuddies and Understad, because even in high school you mentioned, you had alot of talent on your teams, and so you probably had to figure out all thosedifferent things that you were talking...

...about a riht. So all that experienceyou had growing up and playing with all that talent,probably helped you a lot when you were rice, it helped I tam yeah and and bythe time I got to race again, I was not going to be the League score, but I youknow going back and playing with you know when I was a kid Playn, my olderbrother right, I wasdn't going to be the League score and whatever wewreplaning, if I'm playing with all the kids, are three years older sa Gin tofigure out a way to make a pass or get a steal or to do something. If you wantto get picked on a team and largely the way. My I play college creer was lright. If I was going to be on the court, it was going to be because I was running the team was an extensionof the coach, was playing great defense and hit open shots, but but knowing thepersonalities, everyone else in the team getting the ball of the rightpeople, a the right time. You know I was going to say I was GOINGNA: Ask youguys did participate in March madness. We we end up making the nit. We wereunbelievely disappointed, so we went finishing se fishing. Second, thatpoint time yeah, and so we thought for sure, We'e cint get that large bit. Wedidn't. We went up to Wisconsin and played at Wisconsin First Ralin nit.They had Michael Fenley at the time we beat them then went to Bostoncollege and lost it bill, curly yeah. That was one thing I did. I did'mention my fery first game at rice. This is this is a. It was a big moment.I OIN PLA forgot this one, but we played the opening game of the SPN. Itwas give how good we were at the time we played the fave five when they weresophomores on the opening game of VESPN. So Kansas played Georgia, the firstgame and then we played we played the Fav five in the where the rockets arenain Houston and we had hem down on almost theentire game. The end up, beating US wit about six or eight, and that was thatwas my first, my first entreend to Rice, basketball. So you were on jail, anRosa. I was yeah, so I guarded him and I I appli played you, know: Fifteentwenty minutes that game or something like that and I Mari came in at the endand and I'm faceguardian when they're up by like four he goes. Oh, theybrought you and found me. I said no, I'm going to steal the Bolfre. Myprobaby said of a little more directly yeah and the yeah we're JEM back and forth.I found Wen he made to for Jon, but give you a wink out. WOR H, you'veplayed against some of the greatest talent ever in college basketball,which has got to be a great experience. Probably can't for you can't forgetthose memories, I mean that's just amazing. The absolutely I mean- and youknow from from your sports career, there's a there's a caaraderie right,even if the someone was a competitor, is a kind of mutual respect. If I runinto someone now that I played against it's always fun to catch up and there'sthat kind of mutual respect and camaraderie, and but the talent level that that I got toplay against was was unbelievable. No, that is great. So then, okay, so it'syour senior year, you finish basketball. What was your? What was like so now,like your college careers over what? What were you thinking? What was thatnext step in your mind? What were you going to do? Yeah? I really had no ideaso I I was getting married, so my wife was an all American track, runner atRice, and so we we mar aster and Hes Yeah at least o two times around thetrack, necessarily on the on the on the straiway straight away, but yeah, andso we got married and I end up just taking a job with the light consultingbecause I thought it was a great way to learn some business skills and it was aone of those analyst programs. You got work for a couple years and you go off,get your NBA and so that I did that and I was actuallyreally enjoying it. I was wearing learning lots of things, but I got thebug to Covoch, and so I decided to go back in a D, become a collegebasketball coach, and where did you do that? Would you go in Texas state? Itwas called southwest Texas at time, so small division, one school, I was the Iwas the third assistant. I was making a wopping salary of six thousand fivehundred dollars a a year, and- and I was our head coach- was a great guy. Itwas one of the two youngest head coaches in the country and we had unbelievable talent, wed aGaame Jeff Foster played for the Indiana Pacers for fourteen years, yeahit', Amazg haw much better. You are as a coach when you get the lead reboundin the country, an your team right right and then there we made the ENCatournament. We went of all things, get to go back to Kansas City, to play andKemparena and for the first round the MTA tournament. Well, well, that's cool!Is it where's that scen Angelo? No it's in just south of Ostin IT'S IN SANMARCOS! I SM THIRTY! Thirty minutes south of Austin, so okay worked outwolks, my wife got to drive up to Austin. She was an accountant, so Ka mysix housand five hundredollars wasn't going to ca come right, so we rigt weneeded. We needed our help there right. So once one question, I always hadabout basketball on this syste because you see like even in the NBA, you know,there's four or five sometimes wot a team. What, like I understand, like theAssistante and football yep, I don't understand like what. So what was yourRoleis an I third assistant in Yeah basketballts, the way we Wul t theres,there's more resources now for division, Ol schools, there's more than justthree assistants, but really Theso, one...

...of the assistants would focus on thebig guys. One of the assistants would focus on the guards. Since I was guard,I helped him with the guards we JU Scouting for game. So all the scattingreports we divideit equally amongst the three of US o. We just did every thirdgame. We would develop ha scouting report go er with the head coach, thenreview it with the team, but I got a lot of the things that noone else want to do right, making sure kids are going to class making surethey kept their grades up, making sure that that that they behaved,and I wasn't that much older than them right. I was on a couple years out ofschool, so I was able to connect with all the players quite easily with notrecruiting it. Third, at that point time, O third assistant could notrecruit, so you cun, you could recruit him oons. That was a rule yeah you canrefruit on campus, which couldn't go on the road. You could only you coan onlyhave two assistants go on the road at the time. Yeah. So Iwas tell you aboutmy son Gon her he's a williame o Mary and he's a student assystent with hefootball team and he's on twitter and social media like helping the coachwith the kids and who you know come to William and marry all that stuff. So Idon't know if that's considered recruiting but he's doing a lot of thework. When you I would write letters to kids, I could I could make phone calls,but I couldn't be off campus evaluating bcaus yeus couldn't Yep. You didn'twant to do that anyway. That's that's why I never wanted to coach college.Football was because just recruiting and driving and going house to house alot of dinners, people's sdining room tables and absolutelyyou no e, Ayo, F,everyone, coach, Raider recruited me from the University of Tulsa and hecame and my mom put on the biggest spread for him right, I'm like mom.What O you Doin, I hes coaches coming. We got Ta Cook for them right. You knowit', O those coaches love your mom, Oh yeah. He Mi. I still talk to Cosh rader.All the time he's like man. Remember that million Mi said I don't remembercouch, but it must ben pretty good geeber. But so you know one of th. Theamazing things to me is that you've been through. You know, people see where you aretoday, but you know it took a lot of work like all these transitions reallyhelped you probably to get where you are today. It's to me. That's why Iwant people to understand is that we go through all these things in life. It'steaching us some lessons that we're going to carry with us. Just like yourbaskeball, when you're young cared with you to rice and probably all the otherthings you learned and one of the things that athletes really have a hardtime with, is that they don't understand that the skills that theyhave acquired in business because they've played a sport anddealing with whether you're, the leader of the team or the you know the guythat you're one of the players. But you know you just trying to be a part of it,so you know explain to that how that kind of got you toware you, because Iknow after that you went to Harvard good business. Choolo did yeah, so Ileft coaching went to work for the Houston Rockets running their arenafootball teams. I was in the business side of sports at that point in time,yeah, and so I kind of got the Bug I knew Iwanted to be able o to run a business, make the link here between Suport O anda second, but- and so I said well, I need to have a lot harder kind ofbusiness skills as well. In addition to the leadership skills n things I hadand that's why I went to Harvard- and you know really home an on things tha Ihadn't learned before finance and in strategy and kind of got some hardskills to go along with it. But I still say to this day the the best educationI ever got was being a point guard in basketball because similar to be inquarterback, you have to know the personalities of every player. That'son that team get to know if they they need to be yelled at or if they need tobe encourage. You Gon to know where they like to catch the ball to makeshut. You got to know what they do on every play, in addition to yourself,and you got to be able to communicate really well. ASYOHAV leadership, skills,communication skills and then one of the skills that I think is in thishappens in football happens on basketball is fast decision makingusing high quality kind of analytics with the data in front of you to make afast decision that transfers to business as well as as well as anythingNA. You don't have to make a decision in ten seconds or thirty seconds inbusiness, but you can still make a decision in a day or a week instead ofletting it linger on forever tjust fast decision making is something I learnedin sports that I that I would say, is one of the most valuable skills that hate come across right, executive decision making. You know, there'sthere's that teran and I think it is you're right because sometimes, ifyou're in a big meeting- and you know you can't let this get away- you got tobe quick on your feet, just like in football. You know I got to know ifthey're blitzen, I got to know what got to throw to to make that first down orwhatever that is an and it all translate and a lot of times athletesill understand is like I certainly than translates abot. My I remember WillisWilson was our head coach at rice and into the game playing Baylor. You cancall a time out. He explains what play we're going to run and I don't hadenough enough respection. I spoke o like coach. We can't even run that playin practice, we're not going to we're, not GOINGTA. When I get away we're notgoing today, we're not going to win the game with that play hes like what doyou want to play? I'm, like everyone, thinks we're going to go to Adam orTory Scott Wide Open. It's Scott's going to hit a jump here. Sogot you canhave the jumper Yep. I me at the jumper. We ran the play to Scott. He hat thejumper, thank God because it worked out that way, but that is that type of situation where you've gotto be able to speak up and willing to speak up concisely, say with Logicorwith facts on what what the right thing...

...to do is yeah, that's exactly the samein a business meeting. No, it really is because I've been transitioning intobusiness over the last couple of years and it was difficult transition for mebecause I've only known sports I've, coached sports played football fortwenty five years and coached it, and so that go into the business world andthen go to meet somebody. That's a see, Ouo this company. I was was difficultto try to tell him what's on this paper and I hot to got a show M, so it took along time for me, but it's just like when we were kids right right. The onlyway I got to know how to play football and basketball is going out in thecourt with all my buddies or going out in the field. Were you know, puttingthe bikes down and saying hey? We can't hit it to rightfild. Today, we're allyallowed to hit the left, because we only got four guys play Aright, sothose things happen: real cool when you say that thee's there's a probably a lot of athletes, hatdstruggle once they're done playing that have the gift of being able to do. Youguys have been able to transition, they just don't really nod o tap into it orit's. You know it's there, because it's natural for them being a point guard orQuarterblod, and I think that it comes back to like you had some phenomenalcoaches. It sounds like, and a good coach when you're young can teach youthings that stay with you for the rest of your life and some coaches, justdon't see. Patt the court and good coaches will see past that, and theyknow that a great experience that they teach youcan carry on with you through the rest of your life. One of the things that I always did it rice. I saw a lot of myteammates not doing this, which it was always amazing to me. Is I really gotto know the e alumni in the donors they were coming to games. They would go ontrips with us, Yo engage them and one of the one of the guys that I gotto know on a trip that we went to Japan. He hired me for my first president roleand was just through that connection of getting to know him whil. I was thatright. So he saw the leadership skills. He saw hin first hand and was willingto be a mentor and got me got me huge break in my career yeah. That that's Imean, I don't think I've done enough of that I mean I played for seven teamsplayed all over the country and I still regret not meeting more people rightbecause I was dealing with my coaches and my family, but I didn't do enoughfunctions to go out and meet more people because the opportunities infront of you and if you don't grab it, then it's passing e birly. Why thinkabout that too? I went to school. I Arizona and I did not play sports there,but even people who I was friends with infraternities and I just met socialand stuff. I didn't advance those relationships where now, when I thinkabout it and I know where there they came from and whatthey're doing now and stuff and Goong way. Why? Wouldn't I o just have saidsomething you know in passing, like Heyi'm Gon, give you a call or whatever,instead o let it go, and now those guys are heading movie, studios and stufflike that, an gone boy that would have been a good c. We don't all haveKevin's intuition with that. Like that's Wery, I so worried about justplaying football. That's what I love to do and Rian you don't think about that.You know you don't think about the future and seems like you. Well, youSoud you had it. You had a clear future in the NFL, though I did not have aclear future in the NBA so that it wasn't clear II, my more necessitythere I had no idea. I was going to go there I mean until you know I startedgetting some calls from some of the pros, but you know I was seventh roundpick got invited to the combine just to be the guy who throws the footballevery day. You know, and I was more happy to go- do that, but I reallynever thought I was going to be in the NFL for fifteen years, but you know youjust when you get the opportunities you got to take the advantage of absolutelynow we've been through. You know, most of your life now we're getting to yourprofessional career. You graduate from Harvard Business School. What was yournext step after that transition? The next step is, I went to work for aglobal, consulting for a cobaning company and- and I knew that I was notgoing to be a life long consultant, but I knew that ban had a great reputationof helping people kind of leap, fog their careers into companies and do Iwantd to run businesses, so I was at bane for exactly one year in my clienthave to be in Las Vegas that produced trade shows. They asked me if I would come on boardto be their head of operation, so I did that and then over the next three years,worke my way up to be the CEO. It was ones about a five hundred milliondollar company that was public company that we, the time period. I was CY. Wealmost doubled it and made it a worldwide business. Well and from thereSan we lived in out Las Vegas and threehunder days, e sunshine and lotsof Golf. It was was a great place to lave it, but I really wanted to work with a private equity own business,because I really like the way that private equity is aligned asshareholders and think about things a little longer term, and so I made areally odd move. Toso, instead of designing and setting up trade shows, Iwent to work for a company called three day, blinds T at manufacturers andsells window coverings to consumers right. So it was a direct marketingbusiness B, a s business that was coming out of bankruptcy, butit was owned by one of the really large...

Privatateo Rom called TPG Teca a group,and we turned that around and I got that growing and then one day I got aphone call from a recruiter. He said exactly this. He said Kevin I've beentrying to fill this broadcast television role for a year and everyonetells me I need to speak with you, but you run a window covering company. Whyand the hell an I speak, OT and Tgood to meet you nice tell Mehow. Wetol me with the businesses. They told me the business. I said well, peopletell you to speak to me because it's very similar to what I did in tradeshows an make completey different technology, but essentially all of youremployees were a broadcast television business that helps bring a livecontent to err for big networks. All of our employees are sitting outand by the dumpstars ind a parking lot somewhere on by arena hard tocommunicate with. You have really high value assets and you do get kind ofasset and people ulisation in order in order to win, and you need relationshipbase, selling in and have those type of Schills- and I said that's the samething I did as and by the way you have nowhere to grow you're, the largestplayer in the US, and you no way you're going to grow anyfurther in the US. So so I came and interviewed, and I metwith one named Deb Honkis whos, our founder yeah. She and I hit it off.She's Lauerboro, no really yea Beso is NP,been a Pittsburgh Company, the whole time whole time yeah. So Dad was one ofthe founders and they in she is created the largest player inthe world in this space, and she is she's, been an fantasticpartner with me, and so I took over for her and we've just been growing eversince we're down and that got you back into sports got O be back in the sportsyeah, and now we a lot of international travel down so we're in twenty twocountries now and you O we're substantially larger than we were whenwhen we started this wow. That's just that's amazing, so tell us a little bitso when you went back and you had to work your way up, yeah right, like alot of people, start like that and start, and they have to push throughthe company to get to where they want to go. What was that part like bfore?You did the Weth at the Las Vegas Company Wian Yeah, so that was. It wasinteresting because I had been a Adveen, a consultant for the company for a yearand my job, an the consulting side, was to be out in the field and understandthe field of operations, and so I dealt all these greatrelationships in the field. So when I came in, I felt like I had areal big head start and I knew what we needed to do, but I was able toleverage those relationships in a way that you know it was was great for meand great for the company and and then I moved into a sales role, andthen I moved into a chief operating off the role and then en fortunately, oneday my boss came to me and said: Hey congradulation, you're going to be comeseat, yea wherere you going he's right, I'm running the parent company, so thatwas it was end up. Being you no a lot of things, its just a lot of luck thatgoes into things right, you can you can control how hard you work. You cancontrol. How prepared you make yourself you can. You can hopefully go getresults, but you've got to be in the right place at the right time as Tou insports or or in business, just a lot of kind of good bounces that go your wayand that's been a big part of my career as well. Was it then coming to you tomove up or was it you saying? How did you make that transition? Because Ialways wonder that, like I always say that kind of career development is, youknow more than fifty percent on the employee, you know, and so howmineworked was. I know when I was a consultant. I went to theCEO and he's he said. What do we do next and I said well, you hire me to beyour head of operations and I know all Wen. You need to go do because I justdid this work and I h'm all the relationships within your com see hedid that he said now. We need to grow. How do we do that and I'm like well,the last work we did was this new sales work which we heve'n doing on and I'mthe one that led that work. So you should hire me to be your head of sales,and so it was. It was a credibility that I had withhim, but it was also is also you're not going to get something in no one'sgoing to be looking out and saying: Hey what Kavannes go do next, you got to belooking out for your own uer right. Yeah, you got to be, you know, have the have the skills andwhich to be able to go to that and be prepared to be someone to take you noor not yet, but I think you got to be a Certiv Tisiis. My view. Is theresomeone now that you still kind of lean on for advice or an a professional level? Maybe Emilaadhome you yeah? No, I I'm a member of organsizion called Young PresidentOrganization Wypo, and you know it's made up of CEOS and presdents ofcertain size businesses and have to be under fifty in which to wichto join the organization. There's like twenty six thousand cos in thisorganzation around the world. But the chapter here in Pittsburgh isabout a hundred people and there's a group that I get together with of ninepeople that we get together every month and have real conversations about howdo you real confidential in hard getting conversation? How do you makethe company better? How do you? How do you make yourself there you makeyourself a better husband, better father, and so that's a group. I ReallyLia kno N A lot. Then I've got a number...

...of mentors that I've picked up alongthe way that I still count on a lot sure, still friends, with some of yourbuddies from Harvard and rice and Oh absolutely yeah. It's been fun to watchboth quite close with all of them, but it'sbeen fun to watch a lot of my Harvard classmates and things they do. And youyou see pelaton bikes that was was a good buddy of mine that founded thatbusiness, it's a greatstory, isn't it yeah is his idea to it's amazing what t,what it's done a but there's a number of folks that I'm quite close with fromboth places and it's fun to see them in decision mate, whether they're partners,consulting firms or CEOS of businesses, or you know doing something in sportsand again that network and that camaraderie is still there as well ayou ou like a team, your classmates in school. You got to know wha, EA otherreally well, and you always kind of willing to drop whatever you're doingto help somebody out. So how many years have you been with Nepno, I'm almost oneight now on Eightyeah, so out of those eight years, what has been your bestsports memory, the best Inis Watovertayou, Pretty Much Gon e? Youcan youctothe. What I would say is the twothat I don't miss any any year are the masters and Wimbledon and those are youknow: iconic venues both of them world class service, the top of their gameand in their respect, ive sports. Those are two I go to on a regular basis. Soyou were masters. Is Your Wen tat was not thereover. The win I was I was.There was a you ere on Friday, Thursday and Friday. It was amazing, but the oneI think I like the best, which doesn't happen every oviously as writer, compann, the Writer Cup. This the atmosphere is unbelievable. You see I on TV ifyou've been to one shose, so different t the other in hear the golf tournament,both in terms of the crowd, but also you see the pressure on the playerswhen they've got teammates and they you know yeah, and so that's probably myfavorite one tha that I got to and then the Olympics are always high up thereas well. How I always wanted link, so they go from a sport. That's individualnow they're on a team and how does that affect them like you know, because now,all of a sudden, if you're losing the match, you're just not losing yourwhole team, Sosit, that's a whole Dinger ountry yeah and your country,country yeah, and I think right. I think some of the players have a hardertime that than others right to mean and Youe got to be a good teammate in some.If you've been an individual sport, your whole career you', not necessarilya great teammate right, yeah you're competitive against the guy. You needto make the pat for your team a you're gong. Well, I think that's how theyit's a big part of how they pair up the players together and the Paris right aswho can play together and who can comploment each other. Well, I think,that's what'! You know there's so much made of the writer Cup captain each eOs who's going to be it's not just random, picking a players. You got toknow it's a I big job yeah. Now we're going to come into our nohotdl segment,our last SAG, with with Kevin here and we're going to fire some questions atHem an and get them the answer them real, quick. All right, Dave shoot allright Kevin if you could tread places with any athlete ever throughout timefor one day who would that be George Brett cant Sey royals when he wastrying to hit four hundred? That was quite a Whitdye end up three nine nineyeah wow yeah. I have his rookie card. It's one of myfavorite card dever. I mean it's just tat Wa my office as well. Yeah, that'sa great that one and Rebota Clemeo are my two favorite, the Yankee StadiumTantrum. To is one of the classic Finetar Game, Yeah Yeah. What about your biggest pet peeveyeah? I think it similhere in sports or in I business. I use lept separateterms, lack of Hustle and Sports, or laziness in business. If someone just doesn'tcare enough to go, be part of the solution, I likethat yeah do a lot that could be irritating. So you mentioned you'veplayed against a lot of a great athletes, but who is the best playeryou've ever played against yeahits, probably surprise you, it was travissbest, so I played against Michael Fenley, the fabfive Penny Hardaway. Allthose guys were outstanding, a lot better players than me, but travis bestwas the only guy that could tell me what spot he was going to get to thatspot and shoot it over me and still make it and, and he di it did it yeah. That would do it. That would do it.What do you think the most overrated things the most overaty thing? Thesports world is today most overrat thing I'll, say broadly potential. Sowhen someone says someone has potential, always think that that's that's over it.I tell me tell me: WHO's got results in the past and who he works, hard andwho's Gonto who's going to go, be determined. Well, you know if SI nowHarry my wife's Dad a cook high school football here in PA for forty two years,and he would tell every kid all the time you know what the potential meansand fat least y now what's Ponanthamy, he doesn't mean Jan't worth the shit.That's what he es to tell us all the time you got Ta do something so you've been all over t the world. Imean travel with your work and everything. What's your favoritevacation spot like? Where do you want to go? Where do you want to take yourfamily Sydney, Australia? By for it's...

...my favorite place to go for work, it'smy favorite place to go. Vacation is just an amazing place. What do you likeabout for those have' been their way I would describe it? Is it's got it morebeautiful than San Francisco? It's God to kind of the weather of southernCalifornia has got the beaches of Hawaii. It's got English speaking, youknow primary language. Australians were a lot of fun. They, like Americans, aand it's just a unique looking city with a lot of fun things to do. How about the most femous person inyour phone? Well, it's probably Venus, William She's! On my board. I still getexcited when I get a email or attacks from Venus, even though I talked to oregularly pobbsvery exciting. Have you ever rallied with her? I have notrallied with I bowled against her and we've determined where two of the worstbowlers of all time. Oh yeah put the bumpers up. We should Wut Oeso. Now weboth can talk a lot of trash to each other. We just couldn't execute on thetrash toll right. How about your favorite stadium that you've ever been intofavorite stadium, I would say as a venue still it is: It's Wimbledon youknow which is not just one stadium but yeah, but the whole yeah yeah. When you can have an all cup sing greatservice, great experience. You just feel different when you go there andyou have a pems and watch tsome, tennis, N and Tennessee. Even my you know, Iplayed a lot, but it's not even yo top of Y th, my sports list, but I stilllove that venue might see the queen do. Yeah my Le Favorite Stadium to play in everwas Kansas City. I played there was with the Redskins Yep and we're get all getting ready to playand they sing the NAT first time I go, there te seen the national anthem Yepand at the end they just go cheese TAT's the home of that insead of thebrain, everyone, sase cheese and then all of a sudden, the stell bomber flew over like right,Ov and our whole team. Looking ot everybod's like t'Sgon, be o I've had I've had otherstell me the same thing that said that, even though they were warned en whenthey do the chiefs thet they, U T feelitg. It just goes right throughit's pretty amazing feeling, wow, okay, last one how about the loudeststadium, you've ever played in loudest stadium ever played in Youknow. I don't really remember loud stadiums,because those are easy to play in. In my mind I remember the quietest stadiumever played in that was Tcu, and I remember I was bringing the Ballcor 'msorry to answer the question differently, but ever bringng the ballto court in the guy. In the front rows having a conversation to hey rabbit,you buildin the house, it was a great Breck, you had last possession and it'sso quit there that you you hear that one more so the loud loudness is great.You just you just feel you feel like you're part of the game. Yeah, it'slike you have headphoon, almost you jus, you just tune it all out. You just playwell, we really appreciate you coming in andbeing a part F of the huddle and letting US pepper you with a bunch ofquestions and, and hopefully our fans get out of it and a few peopleunderstand you know, maybe how do they get to where you are someday? Well,thanks for having it's great all right appreciate. Thank you all right, thanks,gove, thanks all right, that's no huddle and we're going to break it there and we'll.Let you all know when we, when we get back next week,.

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