athlete transition

Why it's a Transformation, Not a Transition to Life After Sports, w/ Vince Ruiz

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The way I met U.S. Army Veteran, Travis Manion Foundation Mentor and Mental Health Professional, Vince Ruiz was confirmation that there are no accidents in life. Vince and I met at the first ever Between The Ears “Link-Up,” which was founded by one of my former guests and mentors, Bill Anthes. Vince and his buddy just happened to hop in my truck as we car-pooled to a local hiking trail near the Phoenicia Diner in upstate NY. Vince had heard of my podcast from his prior interactions with Bill and started asking me questions about it at the base of the trailhead when we arrived. I began to explain how I interview injured athletes and discuss the transition to life after sports. Without hesitation, Vince followed up on my description with almost a correction of my wording by saying something like “Right on, the TRANSFORMATION.”

Although I had heard this one word (TRANSFORMATION) 1000 times, for whatever reason hearing it come from Vince really struck a cord with me on this day. I had been hosting this podcast and recorded over 150 interviews and had never heard anyone put it that way. In my mind, a transition requires one to only just go through the motions and it makes the situation seem out of your control. On the contrary, I believe “Transformation” stands for growth through action. I love looking at an athletes life after sports from the latter lens. The more I thought about the word, the more I realized how it applied to my own transformation, which was a direct result of starting this podcast and seeking the answers from those who had been there before me, while also shining a light into the darkness for those struggling after me. In this episode, Vince shines an even brighter light into the darkness of the life after sports by taking us through the story of his own struggles with PTSD and addiction after retiring from the military and how he is paying it forward today through the Travis Manion Foundation.

Below are a list of topics we touch on throughout the episode:

  • Vince’s athletic background and how hockey was the focus when he was growing up.

    “Pass it to the good kid”

  • How 9/11 inspired him to join the army.

  • Vince’s transformation to life after the Army (12 Years). Vince tells ALL of his story and you won’t want to miss it!

    • Combat

    • PTSD

    • Alcohol

    • Heroine

    • Overdose

    • Get better

    • Transformation

  • What exactly is PTSD?

    “I signed up for the million dollar experience and I got all of it.”

  • Why social connection is the 51% solution.

  • How Fundamental Life Change is similar in Athletes and Veterans.

  •  Why it is actually arrogant to think that your story.

  • What toughness means to Vince

    “What are you going to do now, that’s what matters.”

  • The importance of meeting his wife, who was also in the Army.

  • Vince’s Role with the Travis Manion Foundation.

  • TMF Principles and how they relate to Athletes.

  • The importance of failing forward.

  • Experiences Vince had with working with Athletes through the Travis Manion Foundation.

  • The role of improv in leadership.

  • Why Character Matters even after your playing days are over.

  • Why athletes and veterans need creative expression and why you need to find an outlet where you love the process.

  • Do you have someone in your life who will challenge you on your BS?

  • 3 key steps to kickstart your transformation 

    “If it’s hard you found the right thing.”



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Download Episode 153 : iTunes | Stitcher 

Athletes to Careers w/ Penelope Yamauchi

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This episode is brought to you by:

Penelope Yamauchi is an Athlete Job Placement Coach with Athletes to Careers and is a former Division - 1 swimmer and 2012 Olympic trial qualifier. I met Penelope through my last podcast guest, Tobruk Blaine who is the Director of the Beyond Football Program at San Diego State University.

After personally struggling to find a job she was passionate about after her swimming career, Penelope has made it her life’s mission to prevent other athletes from suffering the same fate as long as they are willing to put in the work!


Below you will find a list of talking points Penelope and I touch on throughout this episode:

  • Penelope’s journey to becoming a D-1 Swimmer.

  • Penelope’s transformation to life after swimming.

  • Questions to ask yourself when searching for the right fit when it comes to choosing a job.

“What are your core Values?”

  • Harnessing creativity in your transition.

  • The path that led Penelope to become a career coach for athletes.

  • Why the universe has your back.

  • Resume building tips for athletes.

    • Situation, Action, Result.

  • The importance of storytelling and going on the offensive when in an interview.

  • Why your first job shouldn’t be your dream job.

  • Stories of successful transitions:


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Download Episode 152 : iTunes | Stitcher 

Dreaming Beyond Football w/ Tobruk Blaine

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This episode is brought to you by:

Over the past couple of years I have been seeing a lot of Division 1 football teams start programs that help prepare their athletes for life after ball. However, one program in particular has caught my eye and in my opinion is doing it better than all the rest. San Jose State University’s Beyond Football program should be looked to as the gold standard of this group of athlete preparedness curriculums and I got to talk with the mastermind behind it all.

Tobruk Blaine is the Director of Beyond Football at San Jose State University and serves as the position coach of life on the team. Prior to building the SJSU Beyond Football program from the ground up, Tobruk was an award-winning educator and championship cheerleading coach. In this interview we talk about how Tobruk’s past experiences as an athlete, teacher and coach influenced the structure of her program and she gives us advice on what you can be doing to prepare yourself for success after retirement from your sport.

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Below you will find a list of talking points we touch on throughout our discussion:

  • How Tobruk applies her 10 years of teaching and 15 years of coaching experience to her job.

  • The benefits of being located in the Silicon Valley.

  • The importance of Coach Brent Brennan’s buy in with Beyond Football.

    “If we handle our business off the field then everything on the field will work itself out”

  • Tobruk’s journey to San Jose State and starting the Beyond Football Program from scratch.

  • The similarities and differences between Tobruk’s role at SJSU and Brittany Wagner’s role in Last Chance U.

  • The evolution of the Beyond the Football Program and why community service is an area of focus.

  • Pillars of the program:

    • Explore (Don’t know what they don’t know) – Providing opportunities for exposure.

    • Inspire through service.

    • Cultivate skills, knowledge and relationships.

  • How Tobruk helps her players craft their story outside of football.

  • How Tobruk manages to turn out high participation rates for a voluntary program.

  • Ellen Show Shout Out and how this contributed to some of Beyond Football’s success:

  • Why athletes need a side hustle.

  • The similarities between coaching cheerleading and coaching beyond football.

  • Tobruk’s transition to life after cheerleading.

  • What separates the SJSU Beyond Football program from other similar programs around the country.

  • How the program has benefitted athletes who were forced to retire due to injuries.

  • How Tobruk torn her ACL while coaching.

  • Don’t just go to school

  • Networking advice.

  • Who the toughest SJSU football player is.




SJSU Beyond Football:

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Download Episode 151 : iTunes | Stitcher