010 - Transitioning Careers, Not Passions with Todd Townsend | Sport Coats Podcast

A podcast fueled by professionals bridging the gap between Sports and Business. Enjoy as guests share stories & experiences from the playing field to the board room.

010 - Transitioning Careers, Not Passions with Todd Townsend

Meet Todd Townsend

A former team captain and member of the 2003 Final Four team at Marquette, Townsend’s coaching tenure has helped him build strong ties for recruiting in the Midwest.  Todd played and coached in Europe before returning to the States and coaching at NCAA DI Schools such as NIU, Drake, UW-Milwaukee and Valparaiso.  Within the last year Todd decided to make a career change and currently serves as Commercial Lines Sales Executive at R&R Insurance, where Todd helps companies improve their value by enhancing education, training, processes, and procedures that reduce the cost of doing business and offer our clients the best products, programs and professional services.

Tell me about your transition that you went through from being an assistant coach at Valparaiso during the 2019 season to where you are now at R&R Insurance?

“Yeah, I would like to say it was a hard transition. At this time, it wasn't only because over the last seven-eight years I've been trying to make that transition, but to give up something that you love and coaching at the division one level or at the college level in general is a lifestyle, it's one of those things where you work in for 365 days a year and you're texting recruits on Christmas day to say "Hey merry Christmas” Hey, what did you get?" You know, you have that fear if you don't do it, another coach will.  You’re always trying to get that leg up and, you do all that for 33 nights a year, trying to get the 34, 35, 36 in March. For the last 15 years my summers have been, either you're in a gym or you're on an airplane or you're in a car for 22-23 days out of July recruiting you know you spend all the June working basketball camps from seven in the morning to four or five and then hosting recruits and now I'm in sales it's like "hey, you want to golf?" "I was like during the week?" So I will say that the hardest part of the transition is actually not necessarily the job duties and things like that, it's realizing that my Saturdays and Sundays are actually for me and my family after the five or six o'clock at night you're with your family and for 15 years that wasn't the case.”

What is your current relationship with the sport of basketball since you have left it from a full time stance?

“I still have to get my little taste and I talk to the coaching staff and players at Valpo every day. I kind of play a consultant role with them. I talk to NBA scouts here and there, so I spend about an hour to two hours talking basketball every day, whether it's 7am in the morning after I get off my peloton, or if it's at night, but it's hard with social media because I don't follow it too much mostly because I don't go on to social media to follow it. I don't want that itch to go back and coach because I really like how life is right now.”

What were some of the biggest aspects as an individual, and as a family man that you were dealing with while you were deciding on your future as a basketball coach?

“Yeah it was even before the last six, you know, six, seven years, I've been trying to get out of coaching from the moment I got into it, or after the first couple years. My first couple years I coached Dominic James, Jerel McNeal, Wesley Matthews, Lazar Hayward, Steve Novak for a year and Joe Chapman. You go into the Big East, the NCAA tournament, and you're doing this stuff and for 33, 34, 35 nights of the year which is fun. But when your mom says, "life shouldn't be that hard'', or "you shouldn't have to work that hard, and you start saying, "Mom, you don't understand," and "I'm happy, I'm happy," and other things like that... Moms know when you're not happy. Other than that I would say the lack of friends because when you get into coaching so early it's tough. My best friend (Travis) Diener is still playing Europe, my former teammates are still playing and here I am in my mid 20s and all my friends are 40 year old coaches. They have grown kids and I found myself actually hanging out with their kids playing basketball more. So as you see social media begin to rise, you see your friends having fun and see you missed out on every teammates wedding. I made a couple but for the most part, I missed out on all those things. I started to realize I was missing out on a chunk of my life that I really wanted to be a part of.”

I'm going to follow it up with diving a little bit deeper into the recruiting process itself, then do you agree with this beast that is college recruiting? And do you think that the NCAA should be responsible for making more stipulations on how and when coaches can recruit and when they can be talking to recruits and then that might lead to just a better lifestyle for coaches?

 “It's tricky because I absolutely love recruiting, I absolutely love it.  I love the chase, I love the competition. You compete at something literally 50 times a day, whether it's this drill, whether it is a shooting drill, you're constantly competing, and  most people in life do not compete like that. I miss practice more than anything. I miss practice more than those 33, 34, 35 nights of the year where you where you're suiting up and playing, so I miss being competitive and recruiting. You have this list, and it's this chase of trying to win. You’re getting to know people and along the way you’re changing kids’ lives. You develop this unbelievable relationship and then they’ve got to make a decision, and it's not really them making the decision so you’ve got to get to the decision maker and things like that. Then there’s heartbreak. When I got the call that Fred Van Vleet was committing to Wichita State over us, that was my first real heartbreak. On the flipside, it is screwed up because for 365 days a year, you are prioritizing other people's kids before your own. You’d be gone all of July to come back off the road to try to get these recruits on campus in August before school starts, and every weekend of the fall you’re hosting recruits. Then when you’re in the season, you’ve got to worry about your team and in any free time you have you're going to see a high school game. College athletics is screwed up because every recruit is the most important recruit, and your boss is on the hot seat even if he just won 20 plus games, and you just need to be there for a recruit. Bottom line is that recruiting is not healthy, especially when you're at that low major-mid major level and you don't have money to take a plane, so you’ve got to drive six hours on the back roads in the Midwest after a seven o'clock High School game to get back in the morning. You know, it's not healthy.”

And much more....