How it Began
Coach Wilson was created in a hospital bed after my second of three ACL surgeries. I was a nerd growing up, a sports historian, fascinated by anatomy, a vigorous reader, and a profound observer of human nature. Yet, I hid behind my identity as an athlete. As a teenager, I would ask myself what I would do with my life when this football thing was over. The natural progression was to become a coach. Well fast forward to five coaching jobs in five years and brief stints living in five states on both coasts, and learning this career path will do nothing but add to the cycle of young men who can’t let go of the game hanging on to an old dream and failing to tap into my potential and become a source of change.
Kill or be killed is a prevalent mantra, whether it be warfare, sport, or in the streets. Of course, all forms of competition can fuel this mindset, but hip-hop music inspired this brash mentality that would be the source of my inspiration for nearly three decades.
Business as Sport
This is important because, in turbulent times, people are trying to get by and are in a state of survival, which often leads to financial and marital problems, as well as a lack of community activity and deteriorating health. Many Americans find themselves in a similar position. There’s opportunity everywhere, and getting outside the box becomes increasingly difficult as one has conformed to their environment; a capitalistic society demands competition amongst the people. It’s a game in which the person with the most value will earn a higher salary, leading to more social status, making them more desirable, and giving them more options. Whether you like it or not, you must understand you are playing a game. One can compete and create their reality or just let life happen to them. This often results in hoping to find a team, meaning a job, and stay with an organization making a decent living for as long as possible.
Athletes know all about competition, but in highly competitive sports like football, basketball, and baseball, too many young men have their sights set on going pro. Instead, they need to learn how to transition into becoming young professionals. First, one must redefine what winning is. There are different ways to compete:
- Academic success
- Beating out other coworkers for a management job
- Hitting goals in a sales job
The issue stems from the need to identify the purpose of our work and what we are trying to achieve, settling for the amount of money our employers tell us we will make. This comes back to value like jewelry or a car. These are high-priced items many desire as status symbols, but why? They are a reflection of wealth. However, we fail to realize that our mindset, skillset, and health dictate our worth.
I recognized as a coach that the more I understood a player’s condition, I could move them with my words and get them to perform. I understood where many came from, what they were trying to achieve, and what they were battling in their personal lives. I knew many didn’t trust their coaches and could see through the bullshit around them, whether it be politics, lack of resources, or the adults around them not being authentic. I could see it too, and while I never discredited my coworkers, the way I spoke to my athletes, they knew I understood. They also knew what I had been through and that I hated the system more than they did. I wanted to coach in the NFL so badly, but in every locker room I was in, I created a divide, always with my coworkers. The other coaches never liked my connection with players, leading to a great deal of internal conflict. At the time, I had a lot of opinions, and I still do. I lived a lifestyle like the players and was covered in tattoos. There are no coaches in the NFL or even college similar to me, and my mentor then told me that if coaching in the league were what I desired, then I would have to conform. I refused, confirming that was not what I truly wanted.
I got older and began to care less. It was April 2019 when I saw an article on Business Insider about this former college basketball coach, who was covered in tattoos training NBA players and connected to the Hip Hop scene. His name was Chris Brickley; he was from the Northeast, just like me, and endured a lot of personal adversity, opting for his own path. I just needed to see one person do it. That was all I needed to say “F*ck it, I will do this myself.” I knew they would never accept me, and I wasn’t changing for anyone. But I had a different twist. While football was my medium then, It was technology, health, and economics. I developed a great admiration for the late Steve Jobs and the story of Apple. From the second I quit coaching football, I knew there was more and told myself, ‘Don’t Look Back.’ It wasn’t about wanting to make money. It was about building something that was a reflection of my skill set that they couldn’t take away from me.
1990 – 2022
I am a product of the ’90s, a time many would define as a golden era. This was the peak of modern culture and the height of baby boomer reigns; regardless of the shift of political parties in the white house, Americans had money in their pockets. As a nation, our foreign relations were in good enough standing that following Desert Storm, there was no real threat of war. What can go wrong when people have money and no perceived threats jeopardizing their safety? And it seems like nothing did. Instead, we got the Star Wars trilogy, Pixar took motion picture animation to new heights, and MJ was king of the world. Well, which one? Michael Jordan or Michael Jackson… no, no, Michael Johnson, the fastest man in the world. Speaking of the Olympics, the Dream Team was the most incredible thing the sport of basketball had ever seen, and how about them Cowboys?
What was it about the ’90s? Friends, the Internet, Pokemon, MTV, Rugrats. The myriad of all things pop culture that consumed our worlds? These were such unique times. Some hypothesized “D’Generation X” had no business having children. Well, they birthed the millennials. As the decade turned, people began to wonder, “holy shit, these kids are going to grow up one day.” There were warning signs. I write this grinning from ear to ear because my generation is the middle child. 90’s kids are dope! We know an ideal world. The ’90s were great, but they were the last period of the “good ole days” since the 70s. The people who enjoyed the 70s are on their way out. This means that the Millennial generation got the last taste of a pre-internet world, with no 24-hour news cycles, a strong economy and no war. However you want to frame it, that’s a universal win for everyone.
Here we are today, with 2022 winding down, and those children, my peers, the products of the ’90s, have now come of age. As I watch my peers begin to settle down by getting married, having children, and purchasing homes, it’s apparent that there’s a validation that comes with putting your eggs in the basket and opting for stability and security. This is an innate drive, so I understand. However, in a shaky economy and a rapidly evolving job market, there’s an increasing demand for adaptable and diverse skills. A 25-34 year old climbing the corporate ladder or seeking employment in the job market needs more seniority, tenureship, or experience to make themselves indispensable. This a volatile position to be in as expenses and responsibilities increase, world events, recessions, and innovations create a volatile climate in the workforce.
Everyone has a story, and when I said I created Coach Wilson, it was this vision of this disruptive force. He is the product of frustration by the lack of help athletes receive transitioning out of sports, and his mission would be to build a business to show young kids there are more significant endeavors than going to the league. You never see a former athlete in their twenties build a legitimate start-up from scratch. If you take the same drive required to train in pursuit of going pro and learn about business which I did, earning an MBA, it’s possible. Better yet, anything is possible with focus and commitment. I stopped seeking approval, wanting to ensure another man would ever hold the keys to my future. The NFL owners were my perceived gatekeepers, and there are only 32 of them. Those are the guys I am chasing. Being a 7-figure earner won’t do it. I would still not be in control. I want to leave no doubt, and how do I want to do it? With former athletes, the ones who failed, the people who refused to accept their reality and dared to dream big. That is who my company is for. I define it as the ideal 21st-century job for former athletes, led by a coach. Every element of my company, HyperSpeed, has athletics embedded in our DNA.
Our product at HyperSpeed is all about performance. We help teams, and internally we compete by chasing significant goals. I want my workforce to be made up of athletes transitioning out of college possessing an underdog mentality and a strong will to win. We not only carry this athlete mentality internally but externally. We service teams by quantifying their health, reshaping their work culture, quantifying performance, and redefining what winning means to them. The change “Coach Wilson” desired would give young professionals a new way to win. In this world, they don’t have to answer to the media, there is no cap on their earning potential, they are not disposable, this work matters, and they have an infinite shelf life. The empowerment I lacked as an athlete and a coach is the environment I wish to create for the next generation.
As we head into the 4th industrial revolution and our economy is in the midst of a rapid transition, companies of the future have a mission aligned with society’s current state. Competition is healthy, nonetheless; business is a cutthroat game. However, in this game, it’s beyond wins and losses. Every day branding, marketing, and sales impact your market share. The western world is in flux, and society finds itself in an ongoing war for attention. Where most 30-year-olds have their sights set on settling down, I, Coach Wilson, am just getting started, with the same kill-or-be-killed mentality that drove my athletic career, and I am taking the next generation way with me to create the world we want to see.