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, gustsfrau. I played quarterback fifteen years in the NFL. This is my showcalled huddle up with gusts. Each week I team up with my longtime friendDave Hagar and we talked with guests about how sports shape their lives. ProAthletes, business executives, community leaders, everyone has a story to tell aboutsports. We invite you to huddle up with guests this week in the huddle. He was an all American kid growing up in America's heartland. His competitiveand hardworking athlete loved sports. Focused and determined, he always kept designing theball, basketball, that is this ball. Or dribbled his way into junior college, posted up at rice and then made a fast break for Harvard,where he earned an MBA. He now runs one of the most powerful sportsmedia companies in the world. Please, welcome to the huddle, Kevin Rabbit. We're here at the Beautiful Energy Innovation Center and we're bringing into the huddletoday a special guest who, you know, just one of the largest companies inall of America. Do anythink Dave, quiet giant? Quiet giant. Ilike that. I like that. So joining us today in the huddleis Kevin Rabbit. Kevin, thanks for being with us. We really appreciateyou coming in and getting in the huddle and talking and tell us a littlebit about your life and I'll sports shape that. Glad to be here well. Thank you. So, you know, one of the things we like todo is ask those kind of early questions. A lot of people don'tknow because, you know, a lot of people can look at your bioand see all the accomplishments you've had, but what we'd like to do isget into really how you started your life and like what influenced you. WHO'sthat first person or first idol or or what influence you to really love sports? Yeah, that's great. I grew up in Kansas City and, asreally say, sports was my entire life, so either playing sports, watching sports, talking about sports, and really the two people that had the biggestimpact where my father, who was it was a college basketball player and wonthe NAI National Championship in one thousand nine hundred and sixty four, and thatwas always kind of a focal point of knowing that he did that and andand how much fun that was for him and how proud he was that andthen my older brother was three years older and you know, essentially that's whoI compete against every day. You know, I think it's such an advantage tohave an older sibling that kicks your butt on a regular basis and sports, and I didn't even play against kids my own age until I think Igot, you know, Middle School. Just played on his teams and Igot to play against him and we had a big thing in our neighborhood thatwhatever sport you played, so basketball, football, baseball outside, the winningteam got to go in our basement and they got to hit a certain puta certain song on the jukebox. That was we are the champions by Queen, and you get to sing it to the losing team. And so Istill have nightmares my brother like saying, you know, no time for losersand pointing at me. So that was that was actually that was actually abig, big it's little use that as motivation. Yeah, I sure do. When it was great when I got to the stage where I could beathim because I got to sing it to him. Oh yeah, and thingsand he no long wanted to play with me anymore. So, yeah,so they do you do randomly? Just send him that song and say hey, remember when I kicked your but he knows that. So yeah, well, Kansas City such a great sports town. I mean you must have fallen allthe local team absolutely then the royals were great than Kansas City kings werearound that time. You know. Now on the Sacramento Kings. I wasremember being at the game when Darryl Dawkins broke the backboard in Kansas City andchocolate thunders. I get Thart. They couldn't. They couldn't figure out howto get a new basket in there. So and they didn't know what todo with the fans. We got to get you walk down the court andget a piece of the glass and they were figuring out what what to do. Yeah, so George Brett was always my my favorite athlete of all time. I got to know him and my my adult life and he's not disappointed. He has the competitor that that he comes across in baseball. When you'replaying golf with them or any other sport, he always wants to win and heusually does. Usually fust like stories to him. Sure. Oh,yeah, yeah, I don't think. I think those for a different podcast. Yeah, so one thing I always like my father and I. Wecollected cards together. Did you click cards or anything like that? Yeah,we did be big when we were younger. Yeah, baseball cards were especially sowe know we had, you get the whole set. I remember gettingone thousand nine hundred and eighty and tire set and just stuff. Got Thosesomewhere and then we would, you know, collect random ones. You know thatwe would trade then across the neighbor kids and it was it was abig part of growing up. So did your parents did they? You know, sports different now, I mean you have kids and it's so different,like it's a so everything's regimented and you got to be here like so,when you were kid and you had to play a little league or whatever itwas, your parents always go to your games and where they always supportive.And Yeah, they were. They were at every game all the way actuallythrough college. I think they made made most games. I mean they were, they were sports a big part of their life as well and they have, they've been big supporters of me and...

...but you know, I would agree. It's very different now. I mean, and you know, when we grewup, you have, you played for sports. Right, every seasonwas something different and you know, you didn't specialize at age nine and intoa particular sport, and I think it was good for your body to playdifferent sports and muscles, to develop different ways, if your mind, tohave less burn out. And Yeah, for sure. Yeah, like oneof my favorite things is growing up was we would just go and we'd radeour bike from house to house and get kids and we'd go to the localfield and we just played. Yeah, you know, and that's what Iregret is I don't see kids doing that today. Did you? was thata big part of what you guys grew absolutely, I a man worth thinkingentire summer. What I would do is either myself and my brother or mynext door day or Ross, it was my brother's age. We get ourbikes, ride down to we called it a country club, but I thinkit was a glorified meal park right has a small membership to it. Weplay. We'd play tennis all day, probably play, you know, threefour hours a tennis, go swimming for a little while, come back,play Ping Pong in the basement and then go to your baseball game that night. And that was you would repeat and pick a pick a different sport.Maybe it's whiffleball, the next day if it was raining outside, my extorneighbor and I we would we would have tournaments and ping pong where I,my right hand, would play his left hand. Then Myley Leftan will playhis right hand and you hope to both right hands won. So there bea championship. Right. And speaking whiffleball, it's funny now, even an ageforty nine, driving around different suburbs of Pittsburgh, I'll go that lookslike maybe a good whiffleball field. You know, it's still think. Ithink that all the time. And there's there's a house on the field clubthe corner, corner lot on the cone. It's on eleven. That's got astraight uphill and it'd be a perfect whiffleball field playing up hill. Ohyeah, so Keith Kat Chuck gotta, He was played in the NHL fora long time. They they called him Big Walt Right. So every yearhe has a home. He's from Boston and so they have a home outin the Cape. Every year that he has a wiffleball tournament and he invitesdifferent people there and you know it's one of those drinking tournaments, but it'swhiffleball. So you know, if you think you can't hit a woof ofball when you're sober, yeah, imagine when you're you're have a little funwith such a hockey players. It didn't share. Still the umpire. Yeah, definitely. Yeah. So you know, understanding like how we all grew up. And so what was that one moment from when you were a kidthat you remember sports that it really stayed with you? Was it whether youwere playing or watching somebody or seeing a championship? What was that? Yeah, I remember. I think there's probably two. So one was I wasin it was in fifth grade. My Dad reminds me of this all thetime, playing in great American Basketball League, so the local wreck basketball league,and I remember we had lost to this team earlier in the seasons,our only loss, and we're playing them in the championship and cold, snowyday I had cut the tips of my finger of my gloves off so Ican shoot before the game outside and in get ready, and I remember mydad saying, you know, it's okay if you guys don't win this game, Sai, don't worry, Dad, we're going to. We're going towin this game, and I remember, I think that was my all timehigh on my life. I got thirty five points. I think I'd likethe first sixteen points of the game and and just remember in retrospect. Youremember kind of how hard you worked and then you got reward for for workingin want and desire to win. And then a little bit, quite abit later in high school we always had really good high school teams. Youknow, we have three to five division one players on our team and thostyears. I started from sophomore year on and we never could quite get towhere we wanted to be. And then my senior year we went undefeated andwon the state championship on a buzzer beater of three pointer at the Buzzer toto win state in the state of the large class of Kansas. And Wow, that group of players, you know, three of US went on to playDivision One, other two. We're great role players and then we hada six guy that that played any I. But that group will be friends forlife. We get together once or twice a year still and it's likewe have even left each other because it was a group that worked all summerto try and achieve something that had we had fallen short, even with kindof more talented teams in the years before. I think the crowds and high schoolKansas were tremendous. Ran They they were outstanding. Yeah, and wewere. Our High School had, you know, over twozero kids, butyou know, we would probably have two thousand fans for for every game.Wow. And then, you know, you get to the State Championship.It's probably seven, eight thousand people at the game. What arena did youplay? The State Championship and poorious State University. So it's a division toschool. Yeah, when we won, this is an interesting store. Whenwe won, I passed the ball to write over the half court line.took named Greg Gurley, who in a plane at Kansas. GREIG caught itturned shot a three pointer at the BUZZER. We win by we win by twopoints. We were down by one at the time. All of ourfans, our student section, jumped up at the same time because they're excitedand they land on the bleachers and the bleachers collapse. So people were flowingonto the flow, onto the court.

No one really got hurt, butit was it was amazing. We still I still watch that video and yousee people jump in these just flowing on onto the court because they the bleacherscollapsed, right, and that's what started. Like all the fans were using thecourt as an accident and their fans are started. Now it's a yousee it all the time, right, bum, Russian, and you wouldwin a state championship or National Championship, right, right. Wow, Kevin, we're going to get a little bit about your high school experience. We'veall had different high school experiences. Dave, you know, we don't like talkabout his anymore because as they're kind of crazy. They were limited alsoathletically, but a good fan you were. Yeah, we so we had RyanFitzpatrick on a few weeks ago and so dave was from Tucson. Ryan'sfrom Gilbert, Arizona, and so they had a little bit of, youknow, Arizona arrival here in Pittsburgh. So I was kind of funny.How real short, the worst homer job e ever seen from a referee wasin at one that I thought we were still I find it finished atom byat Gilbert. The raps were from Gilbert ever seeing like it. So whenyou got into your high school, you like so we all make that transitionfrom like eighth grade to high school. It's it's tough for a lot ofpeople, you know. So what was that like for you when you wentfrom you know, you we're all playing sports with all your buddies and elseand you're in high school and some things change, something stay the same.For me was a good transition. I remember, I think probably my worstathletic year ever was eighth grade and I hadn't grown and other kids have grown. I remember just being on how I went from being good to being,you know, not very good, and so I think at the high schoolI saw this kind of a new opportunity to re establish myself in sports.I Played Two sports. I played soccer and I played and I played basketballand I played, you know, don't even seek this happens man anymore,by playing a freshman team, but both. You know, when I when Iwas a freshman, end up having great coaches and both of those thatreally helped me develops. The best thing, I mean, I think I wasdisappoint I wasn't playing Jav on these but played freshman and that was probablythe best part of my development. And then from sophomore year on I startedvarsity after those. So that was that. That transition was really about. Ithink too, great freshman coaches that that really helped me develop in boththose sports and that's important to because there's so many people who are disappointed ifthey don't make the say the GV, not varst year, whatever. Sometimesyou gotta play, you got to get minutes and get better, and that'swhat Ken did. He you know, if there wasn't a freshman team,you may have sat the bench as GV player and absolutely and I think Ithink just getting reps in or whatever you're doing is more important than saying you'reon whatever team you're on right and also having an influence like a great coachthat understands it could communicate. Coaches make such a big difference in kids livesin high school and we see it all the time if they don't have agood coach. You guys were just talking about Fox Chapel. You know,if 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 if youhave a good coach then you want to go and play. And it seemslike you had that that kind of experience. Certainly did. I had great coachesagain, both freshman coaches were outstanding and they were not going to fulltime teachers. One was a had been a college soccer player and one washad formerly been a coach but had and they came back to coach those teamsbecause they really wanted to and they had a big impact and that I wasfortunate to have great varsity coaches throughout as well my younger brother as a highschool coach now out. So I just have a lot of respect for forfolks that, you know, spend that amount of time trying to shape,you know, kids, young kids lives and deal with parent issues and otherthings that they get in the way as well. It just trying to coach. And just a disclaimer, both Kevin and my kids both could and FoxChapel and they're all great coaches, which I would absolutely relieve that we whenestablished that we have this great thing called editing days. So they don't likethat, we can take it out. But I was just trying to makethe point that my kids didn't want to play certain sports because they knew thatthe coach at central wasn't somebody they wanted to be around, because other kidstalk and great coaches, you know, usually develop great players because they understandthem, they know how to deal with them, they know how to putthem, you know, through the ring of like my high school coach wasmy wife's father and Harry Cook, forty two years and Harry was tough asthey come in football, but everybody respected him and everybody wanted to play forhim. So coaches come in all different shapes and sizes and can make areal difference in it, in a kid's life. Absolutely. So you wentthrough a little bit about your you know you're one of your greatest moments was, you know, you guys win the State Championship, but you didn't getthere because you were just there. So talk a little bit about that hardwork he had to put in all the time. Yeah, I mean itwas. Basketball was always my favorite of the sports, so I worked atbasketball year round. I love soccer, but you know, soccer I didn'tI don't think I put as much time into and so, you know,is ongoing routine that I would do. You know, would be, ifit is in the summertime, it would be an hour and a half toour rouutine of hitting ball, handling,...

...shooting and then, in addition tothat, addition to that doing weightlifting and other conditioning and and when it wasin season or or still school year, it would be a shorter version ofthat, but that was a big part of it. And then as ateam we all got together and we would we would meet at someone's house andwe would do workouts together. We would meet at the gym and do workout together. We play in the same summer leagues and then in the pureform you know, not what it is today, we played a a basketballto certainly me and in the other two guys that Played Division One. Atthat point in time Kansas City was probably the hottest that there's been in basketballand they've written articles about this in the Knsie Star where there's I think therewas like two thousand, two hundred and twenty five division one players when Iwas when I was a senior coming out of coming out of the high schoolarea there, and we we won the Kansas side State Championship and ranked Nashallyin USA Day. Another team won the Missouri side and they were ranked Nashallyin USA Day as well, and so we would we did two different AUteams that were from Kansas City and we both teams were all friends, butwhat teams toured around and we played I think thirty thirty five games in thesummer against you people like Penny Hardaway and Sean Bradley and Wow, and thatwas a big moment for us because we all realize I think we went Ithink we played thirty one games. Think we're twenty eight and three. Oneof our losses was to the other Kansas City team. We lost to tieUS ad me. We lost in Travis best, but we had beaten anfredyhardaway, we had beaten shown Bradley and that was kind of a moment wherewe all realized that we could play, you know, the sport at ata bigger level, not just not just Kansas City in high school. SoSean Bradley being seven six, like, how did you guys fare inside againstthat? We certainly didn't have a seven six guys. Our biggest guy wasprobably six hundred and ten. Yeah, and I'm going to play at Navy, but I remember I was going down a bass break and he was theonly one back, Sean Bradley was, and so I was just going rightout of them. I didn't know what's going to do, so I justjumped as high as I could, put the ball over my arm this wayand threw it up over my head and my hip only got to his hip. I hit his hip and they called a foul on him in the ballwent in. So it was that it was a computer luck shot, butit was a man as. We're gonna to play decond footage. Yeah,to find that footage and just post like posterizing Sean Bradley. But you know, you were talking about like soccer. Like when I grew up here andoutside of Pittsburgh, I didn't really know what soccer was. I mean youkind of knew it was, but nobody really played it right, right,and so for you to even play soccer in high school, I don't evenknow if our high schools had that much around here when I was growing up. You know, back in the S. all right, she's on. Theydid. It was de sent but yeah, I don't know. Idon't think anybody really wanted to play soccer here because it wasn't big. Yeah, it's already for mud right, yeah, it can't. Soccer was pretty bigand can't see the time we had indoor soccer team the Kansas City comments. It was you know professional team and they had generated a lot of excitement. But yeah, I think soccer that point in times kind of like Lacrossetoday right now. I'd never seen Lacrosse and it's all over now. Yeah, it's my kids played. They love it that. They didn't want toplay baseball because they you know, two slows. Well, they were growingup in St Louis. It was slow and there's a lot of St Luis'shuge baseball town and everybody wanted to play baseball and so they were one oflike twenty kids on the team and they play two innings and they'd sit andthen they played lacrosse and found out, Hey, I can hit my brotherwith this stick. Then he fell in love with it too. Yeah,it's you from one. Yeah, they got a two for one. Soyou probably growing up in Kansas City. You Dream as a basketball players probablyplay Kau, I would imagine every kid that grew up in Kansas. Yes, when did you start getting the feeling, hey, you know what, Imight be able to play in this next level? That was probably aftermy sophomore year in high school. And I had mentioned my father was acollege basketball player. My Golden Life had always been at that point in timeto be a division one basketball player, and I don't know one really putthat goal in my head, but that's what I wanted to be and certainlywould would hope to have played at Kansas or Kansas State was great at thetime as well. I've gotten that that point in time, Long Krueger wasa head coach at Kansas State and I've gotten to know him. And isthat like a Mitch Richmond? Are? It's Richmond, Steve Henson. I'vegot to know all those guys and I remember saying to coach Kruger one timewe were golf and I said, you remember when you passed on me andit didn't take me? And he goes, Kevin, I stand by that evaluation. Still you might have got their team, GPA. Well, yeah, we don't need to talk about that. Would either. But you know,and I think that when you when you have those aspirations. For me, you know, the first letter I ever got was from University of Michiganto play football and I was like Oh yeah, I'm going to Michigan,but it didn't happen, you know, and then I start getting some otherletters and understanding it. So were you get recruited by a lot of people. How did that work for you? Yeah, it was. I meanand again, since our team was so good, you know, Roy Williamsis almost every one of our games. He had up taken, you know, my buddy to play for him, and so you got a lot ofexposure. But yeah, I was recruited kind of broadly. So organ wasrecruiting me for a long time. They...

...came to a lot of games,a lot of Ivy League school so Princeton and Brown and then and then someof the Missouri Valley schools would come and watch as well. But I wasn'tI don't think there was anyone that just said that they had to have meon their team, and so it wasn't like I was widely recruited, butcertainly had a lot of exposure with a lot of people coming to watch me. Did Pe Krill ever call you or yeah, people will did. Yeah, and they got named Jan Van Bredakoff was is was his top assistant.That's been a lot of time on the on the phone with him. Okay, well, that's pretty interesting. So now you're a senior, right,and you got all these schools to choose from. So now you pick rice. I didn't pick rice originally, so and I end up not having aton of choose from. So I organ dropped off at the end. Theydidn't. They didn't offer me, and so Princeton Brown both wanted me tocome and and my my parents said, you know that that'd be great ifyou want to go there. And I really wanted a scholarship though. Ididn't want my parents have to pay for school, and so I turned bothof them down and Pete Kurill actually called guy named Wayne Zok who was ahead coach at Monmouth College in New Jersey and used to be as assistant,and said you should take Kevin. So he took me side on seen atthat point in time, based on Pete Ruel's recommendation, and so I played. I went to Monmouth college my freshman year. No Northeast Conference. RobertMorris always our big rival. Yeah, we were good. We think wewon nineteen twenty games that year. I got mono, though. I gotsick, and so I didn't I played in the first game against St John's. I didn't play any other games after that and at that point in timeI realized that maybe I should have thought about an ivating school from an educationstandpoint. As much as I liked him onmouth, I was thinking I thinkI could kind of got a a little bit higher academic school. And Ricehad always recruited me and one of my best friends a year below me haddecided to go there and and so they said Hey, if you if you'reinstant coming still we we'd love to have you. So I was. Ileft Monmouth and I didn't want to sit out again. I just had ared shirt year. So I committed to rice and then I and then Iplayed for one year and a junior college. Now while Marshalltown Community College, Tenten Division One basketball players living in a motel on the middle of Iowa. The motel was called the in like budget at Motel, and basically allas we did was play basketball and every once while go to class. I'dspend on anythingskidting. Surprisingly in Marshalltown I were both my parents are from Marshalltown, marshalltown high school. Yeah, so I know marshalltown. Know that yourparents are from Ile. Yeah, my dad went to Grenelle and yeah,but well, the my budget motel was right across the street from the beatclub, the one night club. That was. That was right there asacross highway thirty. So well, it was near the movie theater, becauseI remember we'd that was what we had to do, was good to theonly thing to do. One showing was the one movie and we'd watch it, and so it was a it was a long way to get to rice, but then I played three years at rice after that. So we wentthrough kind of your early years. Now we're into your college years. Youjust kind of you guys had a great connection of Marshalltown and where you wereat a Juco and and then you go to rice after that. What wasyour experience like it rice? Yeah, that was that was a great experienceoverall. You know, Rice at the time was in the southwest conference,right, so it's Texas, Texas, am, Texas Tech, Tcu,smu, Baylor, so all Texas schools, all rivals, and we were good. We were we were just we had just kind of come through aperiod where they had been one of the worst teams in the conference. Igot there, they had finished in the top three the year before. Wethought we're going to win it my first year and we got send up gettingsecond, and we I think the only school across my my career. Thosethree years we're losing record and it was Texas. Tex We had had goodteams, right, and for me personally, I played a lot. So Iwas the backup point guards of sophomore was starter after that. But itwas all pretty humbling experience to write. You start to realize, you know, how talented people are. Mean Texas had three point guards that played inthe NBA and they're all playing together at the same time and so you yeah, and so you it's pretty humbling that you realize how hard you have towork just to compete with people. And you got to find ways to goon the court by doing things that you know everyone was a score before,right, and you got to find other ways to go in the court,by play in defense, by running the team, by playing harder and everybodyelse. Arkansas was in the conference. They had just left by the sideby time I got that. Okay, so it just taxi schools of thatpoint. You were a few. Got To admit you have to dodge theforty minutes at hell then I we did. Yeah, it was just what agreat environment because everyone of you, again, everyone of these schools werewere rival so I think we sold out every conference game, you know,and that would have other than TC. I think everyone's sold out there theirbuildings every time. Yeah, that's great. So a lot of transitions you madewhen you were younger and playing with all your buddies and understanding, becauseeven in high school you you mentioned, you had a lot of talent onyour teams and so you probably had to figure out all those different things thatyou were talking about. It right.

So all that experience you had growingup and play with all that talent probably helped you a lot when you wereat rice. It helped a time. Yeah, and in you like.But time I got to rice again, I was not going to be theLeague score, but I you know, got going back and playing with youknow, when I was a kid, playing my older brother. Right,I wouldn't going to be the League score and whatever we're plan if I'm playingwith all the kids are three years older. So you to figure out a wayto make a pass or get a steal or to do something if youwant to get picked on a team and largely away. Mike, College careerwas right. If I was going to be on the court, was goingto be because I was running the team as an extension of the coach.was playing great defense and hit open shots, but but knowing the personalities everyone elsein the team, getting the ball the right people the right time.You know I was going to say. I was going to ask you guys. Did participate in March madness. We we end up making the NIIT.We were unbelievably disappointed. So we went even finishing sack fishing second that pointin time. Yeah, and so we thought for sure we're going to getat large bid. We didn't. We went up to Wisconsin and played atWisconsin the first round the unit. They had Michael Finley at the time.We beat them. Then went to Boston College and lost it bill curly.Yeah, that one thing. I didn't mention. My fairy first game atrice. This is this is a it was a big moment. I Iforgot this one, but we played the opening game of the ESPN. Itwas given how good we were at that time. We played the Fab fivewhen they were sophomores on the opening game of ESPN. So cancels played Georgiathe first game and then we played. We played the fat five in thewhere the rockets arena in Houston wow, and we had a down almost theentire game. They end up beating us with about six or eight and thatwas that was my first my first entree into too rice basketball. So youwere on jailmen rose and I was yes, so I I guarded him and Iapply it played, you know, fifteen twenty minutes that game or somethinglike that, and America came in at the end and and I'm face guard. Um, when they're up, I like for he goes, Oh,they brought you and found me. I said, I'm gonna steal the ballfrom I probably said a little more directly. Yeah, and you know, we'reJEM back and forth. I found he made two for those, butgive you a wink afterward. You've played against some of the greatest talent everin college basketball, which has got to be a great experience. Probably can'tfor you can't forget those memories. I mean that's just amazing. Absolutely.I mean, and you know from from your sports career, there's a there'sa camaraderie right, even if the someone was a competitor, there's a kindof mutual respect. If I run into someone now that I played against,it's always fun to catch up and there's that kind of mutual respect and camaraderieand but the talent level that that I got to play against was was unbelievable. That is great. So then, okay, so it's your senior year. You finished basketball. What was it? What was like? So now,like your college careers over, what we're what were you thinking? Whatwas that next step in your mind? What were you going to do?Yeah, I really had no idea. So I was getting married. Somy wife was an all American track runner at Rice, and so we hearfaster news. Yeah, at least. So two times around the track,necessarily on the on the on the straway straight away. But yeah, andso we got married and I end up just taking a job with the lateconsulting because I thought it was a great way to learn some busy of theskills and it was a one of those analyst programs you got work for acouple of years and you go if you get your NBA, and so thatI did that. It was actually really enjoying. It was learning, learninglots of things, but I got the bug to coach and so I decidedto go back and become a college basketball coach and where did you do that? Would you go? And Texas State? It was called Southwest Texas the time. So Small Division, one school. I was the I was the thirdassistant. I was making a whopping salary of six thousand five hundred dollarsa year and and I was our head coach. Was a great guy.He was one of the two youngest head coaches in the country and we hadunbelievable talent. We had got named Jeff Foster, who played for the IndianaPacers for fourteen years. Yeah, it's amazing how much better yours a coachwhen you get the leading rebound in the country and your team right, right, and and then there we made the NCA tournament. We went in ofall things, get to go back to Kansas City to play and Kemper arenafor the first round of the NCA tournament. Well, well, that's cool,is it? Where's that? Seeing Angelo now it's said just south ofAustin. So it's in San Marcos, thirty thirty minutes south of Austin.So okay, WHO's worked out? Welks, my wife got to drive up toAustin. She was an accountant. So open my six thousand five hundredswasn't going to cover right. So we RTE. We need it. Weneeded her health. They're right. So once one question always had about basketballin this because you see, like even in the NBA, you know there'sfour or five sometimes, well, a team what like I understand, likethe assistance in football. Yep, I don't understand. Like what? What? So what was your role as and it's third assistant in Yeah, andbasketball. It's the way we were. There's there's more resources now for divisionalschools. There's more than just three assistants. But really, so one of theassistants would focus on the big guys,...

...one of the assistants would focus onthe guards. Since I was a guard, I helped him with theguards. We just scouting for games. So all the scouting reports we divideequally amongst the three of us. So we just did every third game wewould develop the scouting report and go over with the head coach then review itwith the team. But I got a lot of the things that no oneelse want to do. Right, making sure kids are going to class,making sure they kept their grades up, making sure that that they that theybehaved. And I wasn't that much older than right I was only a coupleof years out of school, so I was able to connect with all theplayers quite easily. Would not recruiting. H third at that point. I'ma third assistant. Could not recruit. So you can. You could recruitseveral uls. That was a rule. Yeah, you can recruit on campus, which couldn't go on the road. You could only you can only havetwo assistants go on the road at the time. Yeah, so I've tellingyou about my son gunner. He's at William to marry and he's a studentassistant with the football team and he's on twitter and social media like helping thecoach with the kids and who we know come to William and marry all thatstuff. So I don't know if that's considered recruiting, but he's doing alot of the work. Well, you. I would write letters to kids,I could, I could make phone calls, but I couldn't be offcampus evaluating kids. Can Yeah, you did one to do that anyway.That's why I never wanted to coach college football, was because of the justrecruiting and driving and going house to house, a lot of dinners people's dining roomtables and absolutely good. Yeah, I remember and coach Raider recruited mefrom the University of Tulsa and he came and my mom put on the biggestspread for him, right, and I'm like, mom, what do youdo? What these coaches comment? We got to cook for them, right, you know? And so its coaches loved your mom. Oh, yeah, you might. I still talk to coach Raider all the time. He'slike, man, remember that million mice? I I don't remember, coach,but the most pretty good, good evert. But so, you know, one of the amazing things to me is that you've been through you know, people see where you are today, but you know, it took alot of work, like all these transitions really helped you probably to get whereyou are today. It to me. That's why I want people to understand, is that we go through all these things in life and it's teaching ussome lessons that we're going to carry with us, just like your basketball andyou're young, carried with you too, rice and probably all the other thingsyou learned. And one of the things that athletes really have a hard timewith is that they don't understand that the skills that they have acquired in business, because they've played a sport and dealing with whether you're the leader of theteam or the you know, the guy that you're one of the players,but you know you're just trying to be a part of it. So youknow, explain to that how that kind of got you to where you becauseI know after that you went to Harvard Bid Business Schools did. Yeah,so I left coaching went to work for the Houston Rockets running their arena footballteams. I was in the business side of sports at that point in time. YEA, and so it kind of got the bog. I knew Iwanted to be able to run a business, and I make the link here betweensports and a second but and so I said, well, I needI have a lot harder kind of business skills as well in addition to theleadership skills and things I had. And that's why I went to Harvard and, you know, really honed in on things that I hadn't learned before,on finance and in strategy, and kind of got some hard skills to goalong 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 beingquarterback, you have to know the personalities of every player that's on that team. You have to know if they they need to be yelled at or ifthey need to be encouraged. You know where they like to catch the ball, to make shots. You got to know what they do on every play, in addition to yourself, and you got to be able to communicate reallywell, as you have leadership skills, communication skills. And then one ofthe skills that I think is in this happens in football, happens a basketball, is fast decisionmaking, using high quality kind of analytics, with the datain front of you to make a fast decision. That transfers to business aswell as well as anything that you don't have to make a decision in tenseconds or thirty seconds in business, but you can still make a decision ina day or a week instead of bleoding it linger on forever. Just fastdecisionmaking is something I learned in sports that I would that I would say isone of the most valuable skills that come across. Right executive decisionmaking. Youknow, there's a there's that term and and I think it is you're right, because sometimes if you're in a big meeting and you know, you can'tlet this get away. You got to be quick on your feet, justlike in football. You know, I got to know if they're blitz andI got to know what guy to throw to and to make that first downor whatever that is. And and it all translate. And a lot oftime as athletes don't understand. Yeah, I think it's certainly think it translatesto man. Might Remember Willis Wilson was our head coach at rice and intothe game playing Baylor. He can call a time out, he explains whatplay we're going to run and I had enough for enough for spects match ball. Come like, coach, we can't even run that play and practice,we're not going to. We're not going to, going to, we're notgoing great. We're not going to win the game with that play because,like, what do you want to play? I'm like, everyone thinks we're goingto go to Adam or Tori. Scott's wide open it. Scott's goingto hit a jump. Here I Scott, you can have the jumper. Yep, I'm at the jumper. We ran the play to Scotty. Getthe jumper. Thank God, because it worked out that way. But thatis that type of situation where you've got to be able to speak up andwilling to speak up concisely, say, with logic or with facts, onwhat the what the right thing to do...

...is. Yeah, that's exactly thesame in a business meeting. Know it really is, because I've been transitioninginto business over the last couple of years and it was difficult transition for mebecause I've only known sports. I've coach Sports, played football for twenty fiveyears and coached it, and so the go into the business world and thengo to meet somebody that's the CEO of this company, it was was difficultto try to tell him what's on this paper and I got to got toshow him. So it took a long time for me, but it's justlike when we were kids, right, right. The only way I gotto know how to play football and basketball is going out in the court withall my buddies, or going out in the field or, you know,putting the bikes down and saying, Hey, we can't hit it the right field. Today we're only allowed to hit to left because we only got fourguys play right. So those things have and real cool. What do yousay? That's there's a probably a lot of athletes and struggle once they're doneplaying that have the gift of being able to do you guys have been ableto transition. They just don't really know how to tap into it or it'syou know it's there because it's natural from them being a point guard or aquarterbod and I think that it comes back to like you had some phenomenal coaches, it sounds like, and a good coach when you're young could teach youthings that stay with you for the rest of your life, right, andsome coaches just don't see passed the court and good coaches will see pass thatand they know that a great experience that they teach you can carry on withyou through the rest of your life. One of the things that I alwaysdid at rice, I saw a lot of my teammates not doing this,which it was always amazing to me, is I really got to know thealumni and the donors and they were coming to games, they would go ontrips with us, engage them and one of the one of the guys thatI got to know on a trip that we went to Japan. He hiredme from my first president role and was just through that connection of getting toknow him while was that Rice. So he saw the leadership skills, hesaw in firsthand and was willing to be a mentor and got me, gotme a huge break in my career. Yeah, that that's I mean.I don't think I've done enough of that. I mean I played for seven teams, played all over the country and I still regret not meeting more people. Right because I was dealt with my coaches and my family, but Ididn't do enough functions to go out and meet more people. Because the opportunitiesin front of you and if you don't grab of it, then it passengerby her like. Why? Think about that too. I went to schoolArizona and I did not play sports there, but even people who I was friendswith in fraternity's and I just met social and stuff. I didn't advancethose relationships where now, when I think about it and I know where they'rethey came from and what they're doing now and stuff, I'm going. Whywouldn't I? You just have said something, you know, in passing, likeHey, I'm going to give you a call or whatever, instead oflet it go. And now those guys are had a movie studios and stufflike I'm going. That would have been a good clee. Don't all haveKevin's intuition with that like that's weird. I was so worried about just playingfootball. That's what I love to do and right. And you don't thinkabout that, you know, you don't think about the future and seems likeyou well, you said you had it, you had a clear future in theNFL, though I did not have a clear future in the NBA.So, though it wasn't clear, I was more necessity there. I hadno idea it was going to go there. I mean until, you know,I started getting some calls from some of the pros, but you know, I was seventh round pick. got invited to the combine just to bethe guy who throws the football every day, you know, and I was moreand happy to go do that. But I really never thought I wasgoing to be in the NFL for fifteen years. But you know, youjust when you get the opportunities, you got to take the advantage of themabsolutely. Now we've been through, you know, most of your life.Now we're getting into your professional career. You graduate from Harvard Business School.What was your next step after that transition? The next step is I went towork for a global consulting from Colbatia Company and and I I knew thatI was not going to be a lifelong consultant, but I knew that Bainhad a great reputation of helping people kind of leap frog their careers into companies. And what I do. I wanted to run businesses. So I wasat Baine for exactly one year and my client have to be in Las Vegasthat produced trade shows. They asked me if I would come on board tobe their head of operations. So I did that and then over the nextthree years work my way up to be the CEO. It was Ziones,about a five hundred million dollar company that was a public company that we thetime period I was CEO we almost doubled it and made it a worldwide business. Well and from there. So we lived in out in Las Vegas andthree days of sunshine and lots of Golf. It was. It was a greatplace to live it. But I really wanted to work with a privateequity owned business because I really like the way the private equity is aligned asshareholders and think about things a little longer term. And so I made areally odd move. So instead of designing and setting up trade shows, Iwent to work for a company called three day blinds that manufactures and sells windowcoverings to consumers. Right. So it was a direct marketing business, beto s business that was coming out of bankruptcy, but it was owned byone of the really large private act from called TPG Tys, a group,and we turned that around and I got...

...that growing and then one day Igot a phone call from a recruiter. He said exactly this. He said, Kevin, I've been trying to fill this broadcast television role for a yearand everyone tells me I need to speak with you, but you run awindow covering company. Why and the Hell Am I speaking with you? Andthat's a lot. Good to meet you and nice. Tell me, tellme, tell me with the businesses. They tell me the business. Isaid, well, people tell you speak to me because it's very similar towhat I did in trade shows. I mean completely different technology, but essentiallyall of your employees. We're a broadcast television business that helps bring a livecontent to air for big networks. All of our employees are sitting out andby the dumpsters and a parking lot somewhere right by arena, hard to communicatewith. You have really high value assets and you need to get kind ofasset and people utilization in order to in order to win, and you needrelationship based selling. In have those type of skills. And I said that'sthe same thing I did as in, by the way, you have nowhereto grow. You're the largest player in the US and you're there's no wayyou're going to grow any further in the US. So so I came andinterviewed and I met with woman named Deb Honkus, who's our founder. Yeah, she and I hit it off. She's lower borough, not really.Yeah, because it is any p then a Pittsburgh company the whole time,whole time. Yeah. So deb was one of the founders and they inshe is created the largest player in the world in this space, and sheis. She's been in a fantastic partner with me, and so I tookover for her and we've just been growing ever since. We're down and Igot you back into sports. I'll be back into sport. Yeah, andwe a lot of international travel now. So we're in twenty two countries nowand you know, we're substantially larger than we were when when we started this. Wow, that's just that's amazing. So tell us a little bit.So when you went back and you had to work your way up right,like a lot of people start like that and start and they have to pushthrough the company to get to where they want to go. What was thatpart like for you? Did there at the last Vegas Company work and yeah, so that was it was interesting because I had been it had been aconsultant for the company for a year and my job in the consulting side wasto be out in the field and understand the field of operations, and soI dealt all these great relationships in the field. So when I came inI felt like I had a real big head start and I knew what weneeded to do, but I was able to leverage those relationships in a waythat it was great for me great for the company. And and then Imoved into a sales roll and then I moved into a chief operating off theirroll and then, fortunately, one day my boss came to me and said, Hey, congratulation, you're going to become seat you on the where yougoing? He's right. I'm running the parent company. That was it wasended up being. You know, a lot of things. It's just alot of luck that goes into things. Right. You could, you cancontrol how hard you work, you can control how prepared to make yourself.You can you can hopefully go get results, but you've got to be in theright place at the right time, as true in sports or and orin business. Is just a lot of kind of good bounces that go yourway and that's been a big part of my career as well. Was itthem coming to you to move up, or was it you saying how didyou make that transition? Because I always want that. Like I always say, that kind of career development is, you know, more than fifty percenton the employee, you know. And so how mine worked was I whenI was a consultant, I went to the CEO and he he said whatdo we do next, and I said, well, you hire me to beyour head of operations and I know all we need to go do becauseI just did this work and I have all the relationships within your company.So he did that. He said now we need to grow. How dowe do that? And I'm like, well, the last work we didwas this new sales work which we went down. They own and I'm theone that led that work, so you should hire me to be your headof sales. And so it was. It was a credibility that I hadwith him, but it was also is also you're not going to get somethingand in no one's going to be looking out and saying, Hey, whatKevin needs to go do next. You got to be looking out for yourown career right now. You got to be, you know, have thehave the skills in which to be able to go to that and be preparedto be someone to tell you know or not yet, but I think yougot to be a servant, as it was my view. Is there someonenow that you still kind of lean on for advice or on a professional level? Maybe Emily at home? You? Yeah, no, I I'm amember of organization called Young Presidents Organization, Ypo, and you know, it'smade up of cteos and presidents of certain sized businesses have to be under fiftyin which to which to join the organization. There's like twenty six thousand cteos inthis organization around the world, but the chapter here and Pittsburgh is abouta hundred people and there's a group that I get together with of nine peoplethat we get together every month and have real conversations about how do you realconfidential and in hard hitting conversation. How do you make the company better?How do you how do you make yourself better? You make yourself a betterhusband, better father, and so that's a group I really lean on alot. Then I've got a number of...

...mentors that I've picked up along theway that I still count on a lot. True, still friends with some ofyour buddies from Harvard and rice and absolutely, you know, it's beenfun to watch both quite close with all of them, but it's been funto watch a lot of my Harvard classmates and things they do. And andyou you see peloton bikes. That was it was a good buddy of minethat founded that business and it's a great story, isn't it? Like,yeah, it's his is his idea to me and it's amazing what it's whatit'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 make, whether they're partnersconsulting firms or CEOS of businesses or you know doing something in sports and againthat network and that camaraderie is is still there as well. You just likea team, your classmates in school. You got to know what the otherreally well and you always kind of willing to drop whatever you're doing to helpsomebody out. So how many years have you been with any P now?I'm almost on eight, now on eight. Yeah. So out of those eightyears, what has been your best sports memory that's been able to overtakeyou? Pretty much, good, you can. Yeah, usually, howyou go anyway, it could. So the what I would say is thetwo that I don't miss any any year are the masters and Wimbledon, andthose are, you know, iconic venues. Both of them World Class Service,the top of their game and their respective sports. Those are who Igo to on a regular basis. So you were master's issue. When Iwas not there for the win, I was I was there, there,there on Friday, Thursday and Friday. I was amazing. But the oneI think I like the best, which doesn't happen every obviously, is RiderCup. The Rider Cup this the atmosphere is unbelievable. You see it onTV if you're been to one. So it was so different than the otherin your other golf tournament, both in terms of the crowd, but alsoyou see the pressure on the players when they've got teammates and they you know. Yeah, and so that's probably my favorite one that I go to.And then the Olympics are always high up there as well. I always wantedlike. So they go from a sport it's individual, now they're on ateam, and how does that affect them? Like, you know, because nowall of a sudden, if you're losing the match, you just notlosing, your whole team's losing. So that's the whole jer country, yeah, and your country country. Yeah, I think right. I think someof the players have a harder time that than others, right, I mean, and you got to be a good teammate in some if you've been anindividual sport your whole career, you're not necessarily a great teammate, right.Yeah, you're competitive against the guy you need to make the put for yourteam and you're going. Well, I think that's how they it's a bigpart of how they pair up the the players together, and the Paris,right, is who can play together and who can compliment each other. Well. I think that's what's you know, there's so much made of the writerCup captain each year. Who's who it's going to be? It's not justrandom picking up players. You got to know it's a bit big job.Yeah, now we're going to come into our no huddle segment, our lastsaying with it with Kevin here, and we're going to fire some questions Adamand and get him the answer them real quick. All right, Dave,shoot, all right, Kevin. If you could treat places with any athleteever throughout time for one day, who would that be? George Brett.Can see royals when he was trying to hit four hundred. That was quitea what do you end up? Three? Nin Hundred, ninety? Yeah,wow, yeah, I have his rookie card. It's one of myfavorite cards ever. It means just have that one month was as well.Yeah, that's a great that one and Roberto Clamayo's are my two favorite.The Yankee Stadium Tantrum to is one of the classic find our game. Yeah, that was yeah, what about your biggest pet peeve? Yeah, Ithink similar in sports or in business. Id you slept several terms. Lackof Hustle in sports or laziness in business, if someone just doesn't care enough toto go be part of the solution. Well like that. Yeah, alot. I could be irritating. So you mentioned you've played against alot of a great athletes, but who's the best player you've ever played against? Yeah, it's probably surprise you. It was travis best. So Iplayed against Michael Finley, the Fab five penny, Hardaway. All those guyswere outstanding, lot better players than me, but travis best was the only guythat could tell me what spot he was going to get to that spotand shoot it over me and still make it. And he did that.It did it. Yeah, that would do it. That would do it. What do you think the most overreated things, the most overtything in thesports world is today most overright thing, I'll say broadly potential. So whensomeone says someone has potential, I always think that that's that's overright. Itell me, tell me WHO's gotten results in the past and who works hardand who's going to WHO's going to go be determined? Well, you know, off side note, Harry, my wife's Dad, it could high schoolfootball here in PA for forty two years and he would tell every kid allthe time. You know what it potential means, at least now with plants. For me, he doesn't means you're ain't worth the shit. That's whathe used to tell is all that that you got to do something. Soyou've been all over the world, I mean travel, with your work andeverything. What's your favorite vacation spot like? Where do you want to go?Where do you want to take your family? Sydney, Australia by far. It's my favorite place to go for...

...work. It's my favorite place togo vacation. It's just an amazing place. What do you like about for thosehaven't been there, way I would describe it is it's got more beautifulthan San Francisco. It's got to kind of the weather of southern California.has got the beaches of a why, it's got English speaking, you know, as primary language of Australians. Were a lot of fun. They likeAmericans and it's just a unique looking city with a lot of fun things todo. How about the most famous person in your phone? Most it's probablyVenus Williams. She's on my board. I still get excited when I getan email or attacks from Venus, even though I talk to regularly. Yeah, it's probably it's very exciting. Have you ever rallied with her? Ihave not rallied with I bowled against her and we've determined where two of theworst bowlers of all time. Oh Yeah, put the bumpers up. We shouldput them up now. We both could talk a lot of trash toeach other. We just couldn't execute on the trash toll. Right. Howabout your favorite stadium that you've ever been into? Favorite Stadium, I wouldsay, as a venue, still it is. It's Wimbledon, yeah,which is not just one stadium but yeah, but the whole the whole complex.Yeah, yeah, when you can have an all cups in great service, great experience, you just feel different when you go there and have aPIMS and watch the tennis and Tennessee even my you know what, I playeda lot, but it's not even your top of my sports list, butI still love that venue. Might see the queen to for yeah, myleaf favorite stadium to play in ever was Kansas City. I played there aswith the redskins. Yeah, and we're get all getting ready to play andthey sing the NAT first time I've seen the national anthem. Yep, andat the end they just go cheese. So it's the home of them.So the brave I went those chiefs and then all of a sudden the stealthbomber flew over, like right over, and all our whole team. I'mlooking at everybody's like it's gonna be a long I've had I've had others tellme the same thing. That said that even though they were warned, theywhen they do the chiefs, that they just feel it. It just goesright through it. It's pretty amazing feeling. Wow. Um, okay, lastone. How about the loudest stadium you've ever played in? Loudest StadiumEver played in? You know, I don't really remember loud stadiums because thoseare easy to play in my mind. I remember the quiet at stadium everplayed in, and that was TCU, and I remember I was bringing theball. Of course. Sorry to answer the question differently, but ever bringthe ball to court and the guy in the front rows having a conversation?Hey, rabbit, you build the house. It was a great break. Youhad last possession and it's so quiet there that you do you hear thatone more so the loud loudness is great. You just you just feel you feellike you're part of the game. Yeah, it's like you have headphoneon almost you just you just tune it all out and you just play.Well, we really appreciate you coming in and being a part of the huddleand letting US pepper you with a bunch of questions and and hopefully our fansget out of it and a few people understand, you know, maybe howthey get to where you are someday. Well, thanks for having me.It's great. All right, appreciate it. Thank you all right. Thanks havingthanks. All right, that's no huddle and we're going to break itthere and we'll let you all know when we when we get back next week.

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