By Taunita Stephenson
NFL Player Engagement
Scott Radecic, who played linebacker in the NFL for 12 seasons, shared with us his transition from professional football player to Senior Principal at Populous.
PE: Can you share with us, what are you doing now?
SR: Currently, I am a Senior Principal at Populous and one of 12 owners. I work mainly with NFL and college/university facilities. I enjoy it because we don’t just design a building, we design an experience.
PE: What skills did you develop while playing football that you use in your position?
- How to handle a loss
- How to study and do research
Architecture is as much a team game as football is. You have to compete to get jobs, get contracts, research the competitor and prospect… and sometimes you lose and then you have to learn how to get back to work.
PE: What steps did you take to transition out of football?
SR: No matter the success you had or your next step, the transition is hard. Everyone will retire, whether it’s voluntary or involuntary, despite level of success.
During my first and second offseasons, my wife and I would travel back to Penn State to finish our degrees. In year seven, I started to research possibilities related to my degree. I networked to land opportunities. At the time, Player Engagement wasn’t what it is now, so I used resources and contacts from Penn State.
I initially started with HOK Sports. I interned there for five offseasons, and when I retired I started as a Project Manager. My first project was at my alma mater, Penn State, working on the Beaver Stadium expansion. From there I began to oversee the college and university market. My next step was joining the directors and then working with the owners to buy Populous.
PE: What advice do you have for current and former players as it relates to finding their next career?
SR: 1. You have to have your degree. That degree carries so much weight in the business world. Complete your degree as soon as possible. The longer you are away, the harder it is to go back into the classroom setting.
2. You need to do some soul searching to discover your passion. You have to do what you LOVE to do!
PE: What was the biggest challenge that you faced in the transition and how did you overcome it?
SR: Retiring at 35 and having no experience in the architectural world. Being somebody in the NFL who was elite in their profession and then being in a situation where I had to start from scratch and was 10-12 years behind peers was tough. I was a rookie again.
I overcame the challenge by focusing on overcoming the stigma of being a jock and immersing myself in the business. I fount great mentors and spent extra time studying.