Originally written on The Victory Formation  |  Last updated 11/20/14

I’ll have to give Erik Ainge an e-pat on the back…he sure does embody the spirit of the star college athlete using his name to make money in the town he’s most famous.  Many guys that don’t make it in the pros have lent their name to businesses in their college hometown whether it’s at car dealership, insurance sales, or real estate (*cough* Heath Shuler Real Estate from ’97-’03 *cough*).  Ainge has had a bit of a different approach. He’s made waves on the Tennessee River as a sort of sports radio shock jock, and now, he’ll be leading <a title="Erik's "How to Throw and Stuff" Academy" href="http://www.volunteertv.com/home/headlines/Former_Vol_QB_Ainge_launches_138449234.html" target="_blank">a football academy. 

The Ainge Academy is a unique concept. Erik combines his experience as starting quarterback on a high-profile Division One football program with his knowledge of the game as well as his tutelage under former Tennessee Coach Philip Fulmer, Duke University’s Coach David Cutcliffe, Coach Rex Ryan of the New York Jets, Brett Favre and many others.

His success on the field and unique life experience, both the good and the bad, has helped him in creating the Ainge Academy. “Anyone can teach football fundamentals, but not everyone has the unique ability to combine life experience and football experience, from high school to the NFL, to show student athletes how to be a successful and disciplined athlete. The pressures that our student athletes are facing today are stronger than ever, and our kids need strong role models. That’s the position I’ve been called to play now,” says Ainge.

I admire the entrepreneurial spirit.  I’d love to have my own business some day…be my own boss and be in charge of the successes and failures.  Ainge’s craft was football, so he’s applying his knowledge in business arenas where it’s applicable.  He says he’ll be combining “life experience and football experience” in his tutelage to youngsters, and I’m assuming that “life experience” includes a lesson on how not to waste away a great opportunity by being <a title="'I had to get help before I died."" href="http://sports.espn.go.com/new-york/columns/story?columnist=cimini_rich&id=6267822" target="_blank">addicted to prescription painkillers.  In addition to lessons on maximizing opportunities, I hope for the academy attendees that the “life experiences” lessons include a dose of reality.  The NCAA’s statistics say that only 5.8% of high school football players receive a scholarship to play college ball.  and of those playing college ball, only 2% of those play professional football.  That equates to roughly 1 out of every 1000 high school football players making into a professional league. 

Maybe Ainge can impart some wisdom on those other 999 kids too.

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