What Retirement Looks Like After a Career in Professional Sports

January 29, 2021

What Retirement Looks Like After a Career in Professional Sports with Mark Collins Sr.

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What Retirement Looks Like After a Career in Professional Sports Show Notes

There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all retirement plan, and retirement often isn’t moving to Florida and never working again in your life.

Professional athletes, and especially football players, for example, are often done playing by their thirties or forties. With so much life left to live and so many opportunities out there, there are countless paths to take – and today’s guest, Mark Collins, is living proof.

Mark is a two-time Super Bowl champion who played for the Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay Packers, New York Giants, and the Seattle Seahawks. He has worked as a financial advisor, and his current venture is 2FiveSports, where he’s helping student-athletes create winning demonstrations, connect with recruiters, and win the scholarships they need to play college sports.

Today, Mark joins the podcast to tell the story of the many roles he’s taken on since leaving the NFL, building a legacy, and giving back by creating opportunities for other kids just like him. In this podcast interview, you’ll learn:

  • How being very coachable helped Mark take advantage of opportunities and chart a path from high school football to becoming an NFL draft pick.
  • The moment Mark knew he was physically and mentally done with football, how he moved on with his life, and why he ultimately felt like the broadcasting world moved on without him.
  • How 2FiveSports is helping student-athletes get the exposure they need to win college scholarships.
  • What Mark learned from the several years he worked as a financial advisor.

Inspiring Quote

  • “Sports is a microcosm of life. You’re going to have some ups and downs in sports as you do in life.” – Mark Collins Sr.

Interview Resources

Interview Transcript

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[00:00:08] Dean Barber: Hey, everybody. I’m Dean Barber, your host of The Guided Retirement Show. My next guest, he’s a former NFL football player, two-time Super Bowl champion, played for the Kansas City Chiefs, the Green Bay Packers, New York Giants, and the Seattle Seahawks. He is Mark Collins, spent some time as a financial advisor, now runs a very successful company called 2FiveSports, a super inspiring story all the way from his years in high school through his NFL career, his career in broadcasting, financial services, and now ultimately, to his career with 2FiveSports. Enjoy my conversation with Mark Collins.


[00:00:54] Dean Barber: Mark, first of all, thank you for being part of The Guided Retirement Show and it’s always an honor to speak with somebody who has worked hard and been successful in life. And of course, professional football is how most people know you but let’s go back before professional football. Let’s go back to your youth and take me back into high school. Were you a football star in high school as well?

[00:01:24] Mark Collins: Well, thanks for having me, first of all. Secondly, no, I was born in St. Louis, raised in Southern California. In high school, I played all three sports, football, baseball, and basketball and I think I was pretty decent at all three. I thought I was better in baseball, but football just worked out for me. I worked hard to play. Really, I started playing football my sophomore year in high school. Before then, I think I played one year of like what do you call that? Peewee football?

[00:01:56] Dean Barber: Yeah.

[00:01:57] Mark Collins: Whatever, junior all-American football. And I hated it. I couldn’t stand it. The contact was I just hated every element of it until I got to high school. My high school football coach was my math teacher and I told him after, “You know, my sister was dating one of the football players.” He’d come over to our house and he had a great Letterman’s jacket. He was nice. He had the stars to step on it.

He’s a stud. And so, now I want to be like him. My high school football coach was my math teacher and I told him, “Hey, coach, I’m going to be on your football team and I’m going to be a star running back and I’m going to wear number 22,” because I was, his name was Sammy Parish, my sister’s boyfriend. That was his number. And Coach Tom Hulk looked at me and said, “Sure, kid. Go sit down.”

And I would and sat down and I was humbled because I thought I was okay but I didn’t. I wasn’t that great, I guess. Long story short, I went out for the team and I was kind of on a cutline, JV varsity. So, they sent me down the JV to practice for maybe a week, and then injury happened on the varsity level. I came up on varsity and stayed on varsity ever since. I started running back and three years in high school then got a scholarship at Cal State Fullerton and the rest is history.

[00:03:31] Dean Barber: Okay. So, Cal State Fullerton. Were you running back there too?

[00:03:36] Mark Collins: Yeah. It’s funny. I didn’t play any defense back in high school. I mean, entering the game, they put the best athletes back there to knock the ball down, that kind of stuff. But I got recruited out of college as a running back and walked with either way. So, I go to Fullerton my freshman year and we had like 15 running backs in the running back room, and eight of those guys on scholarship.

So, we’re about to start our meeting and Gene Murphy, our head coach, walked in and said, “Guys, we got a problem. We need defensive backs. Anybody want to play defensive back?” So, I looked around and no one raised their hand. So, I raised my hand and I went from offense to defense and learned how to play defensive back corner and started my freshman year after the second and third game of my freshman year.

And then we had a great second year, sophomore year, junior, senior, all-American, and I was drafted in the second round by the Giants, which is amazing. See, I’ve always been one of those guys. I’m not afraid of taking advantage of opportunity. This is all you want, right?

[00:05:04] Dean Barber: Right.

[00:05:05] Mark Collins: You just want that opportunity to prove that you can do what even some people say you can’t do or just push yourself to do something different. So, it worked out well for me.

[00:05:18] Dean Barber: So, let’s back up. You get recruited to college to be a running back, but you wind up being a defensive back. So, I got to know, did the time that you spent as a running back understanding the offense and what the offense was trying to do, did that shape the way that you were able to get over to the defensive side? Were you able to read the offense better? Did you know more about what they were trying to do? That gives you an advantage do you think?

[00:05:44] Mark Collins: Well, a little bit but not as much as – if I went from quarterback to safety, yeah, because the quarterback and the safety, they’re the same. When I play safety in the pros, I’m basically the quarterback on defense because I see the alignment on each of our receiver splits, know what’s coming. I could move linebackers this way, that way, stuff like that. But as a running back, you’re just seeing pretty much the butts of the quarterback in your running back. So, you can’t really see our defense, they’re lining up.

But they’re different, running backs to defensive backs but the athleticism could be the same, body structure like a receiver kind of type. That really goes over. I mean, you can’t put an offensive alignment in that corner. You can’t put offensive alignment at safety but you can put offensive alignment on the defensive side, defensive line and they’ll do pretty well once they learn the schemes and stuff which that’s happened before and vice versa.

[00:06:49] Dean Barber: So, you make it sound like, “Hey, man, I just went in. I played all three sports in high school, decided I’d play a little bit more football, got a scholarship and I’m the defensive star, get draft in the NFL.” I mean, you make it sound like it was just, “Oh yeah, it’s no big deal. It was easy,” but there had to be struggles here. Because it doesn’t just happen, right?

[00:07:11] Mark Collins: No. I mean, we all struggle but what I did was I really just, oh, just jumped in with both feet. I’m very coachable. I like structure and I just embraced the challenge. And once you do that, you’re good. I mean, I think it made me good, rather. It was tough. I’m not going to say it’s easy but it’s easier when you embrace it and embrace the bad with the good, and vice versa because it’s going to happen. So, I had no problem but once I got the grasp of it and I studied, I worked hard at it, even the times when there was no one looking, I was still working. It worked out.

[00:08:07] Dean Barber: Did you have anybody in whether it was high school, college, or early years in the pro, was there one person that you could point to that was somebody that helped you stand out that was maybe a mentor or somebody who helped you see things differently that allowed you to excel at the pace that you did?

[00:08:27] Mark Collins: No. I mean, just my parents and my brothers and sisters. We were a good family but as far as a role model and that kind of having an athlete to look up to or something like that, no. I don’t know what it was, to be honest with you. I mean, God has helped me a lot. So, I must admit to that but I just went and just did what I did. I know it was through the grace of God that got me through a lot of things. But no, not having a mentor.

I mean, my family, uncle was falling on the sports side, no. But I’ve always said that sports is a microcosm of life. You’re going to have some ups and downs in sports as you do in life. It was one of my coaches at Cal State Fullerton used to say when I was a freshman, and it still sticks with me. He says, “It’s not what happens to you. It’s how you handle it.”

So, wow, that’s pretty bold stuff and you look at it like now. You know, a lot of people when something bad happens, they want to blame other people and they want to – it’s nobody’s fault. But no matter whose fault it is, it’s how you handle it. You can handle it. Or you personally are the bad parts of life. You pretty much make it through and you can’t have like you want. You continue to blame people for things that maybe they’re true or maybe not true but if you don’t handle it properly, you’re the idiot trying to chase your own tail or something.

[00:10:04] Dean Barber: I love that. I love that and I totally agree with that. It is how you handle any adversity because we’re all going to get something that’s some sort of adversity that’s going to face it at some point in our lives and most of us multiple times throughout the year, we’re going to have adversity. I mean, heck, just look at 2020. I mean, there was no short of adversity throughout the entire world in 2020. Alright. So, take me now to you got drafted to the Giants and now you’re a professional athlete. What was that first year like?

[00:10:34] Mark Collins: At first after you get drafted there’s a big celebration with the family and stuff like that. It’s great. And then you got to focus on the job because now it goes from being a game to a job within the game. Let me back up a little bit and I’ll tell the rest. The Kansas City Chiefs allowed me, they called me, invited me to speak to their rookie draft class at Patrick Mahomes unit and I spoke to them and three agents.

They’re about 26 to 27 guys in the locker room where I got a chance to talk to them. One of the things I told them was, “If you’re not prepared to walk into this room and compete and take another man’s job, this job isn’t for you. Because that’s what you’re doing. You’re walking in, you’re competing to take another man’s job, their livelihood. It’s not personal. It’s just business.”

I think they got it. Well, back when I got drafted to the Giants, that was my mentality. It wasn’t personal. I didn’t know anybody on the team, first of all, but I went into New York to the Giants with the sole purpose of, number one, making the roster, number two, I got to take somebody’s job, and that’s how I looked at it.

So, I did the same thing and I walked in and I was very headstrong, I still am to a point, very confident and I still am to a point, their strong point, and very driven. And I started on that 1986 championship team as a rookie. I played in every game and I started 10 games in that year, and we won the Super Bowl, but my mindset was just that.

[00:12:35] Mark Collins: My mind was so focused on getting in there, competing, and taking somebody’s job and contributing. That’s what I did. So, I mean, that’s the story of it.

[00:12:50] Dean Barber: That’s a storybook life right there. I mean, you’ve been playing football for eight years, and you hit a Super Bowl Championship? Wow.

[00:13:00] Mark Collins: Well, yeah, it’s something.

[00:13:03] Dean Barber: So, I got to go back because, obviously, I’m a huge Chiefs fan and I think Patrick Mahomes is one of the most amazing athletes I’ve ever seen play the game. Did you get a chance to meet Patrick and talk to him? Have you had any interactions with him?

[00:13:18] Mark Collins: Oh, yeah. I spoke to Patrick his first year during that talk I did with him and I know his agent, Leigh Steinberg. Leigh’s I heard in LA too. So, when the Chiefs drafted Patrick, I called Leigh and told him, “Hey, he’s in a perfect spot,” and I told him saying, “Listen, do the right things. Just be you. Embrace the city, the city embrace you,” and all this stuff. And I told Patrick the same thing.

And Patrick says, “Yes, sir.” I said, “Don’t call me sir. Just do this.” And that was it and you see what he’s doing now. He’s embraced the city. He lives there. He invests in the city. He’s in the community. He’s like everybody else and people love him. So, yeah, it was pretty – I thought it was great. It was great for him. It was great for Kansas City, it’s great for Leigh Steinberg and I’m glad we got him because I think there’s more championships in that young man’s future.

[00:14:21] Dean Barber: Oh, there’s no question about it. I mean, as long as the surrounding cast is there, and of course, that’s an important part of it, too. I mean, you can be on a Super Bowl team, you can win the Super Bowl, but the thing I love about the real professional athletes is that they never say, “Look what I did.” It always looks what we did, right? Because it takes the entire team including the coaches, right?

[00:14:43] Mark Collins: Well, yeah, just as in business. I mean, I will get to that down the road but it’s just like there are some sports that are individual sports. Some play golf, tennis. Yeah, I got it. The sports that it’s all about me, me, me and there are some of the me guys on teams too, the football, baseball, basketball team too. They may do well, individually, but those are the ones when a team doesn’t do well, they want to blame their teammates and things on the right, and most of those guys don’t have championships.

What they don’t understand is that you win championships as a team. And the more you buy into the team and believing to the team and buying to the system, the more opportunities you have by winning championships. So, I think Kansas City has a great organization, great foundation.

And even if… Andy Reid, they just resigned him, they redid the contracts. They’ll be there for a while. They’ll always have good parts around Patrick Mahomes. No different than when San Francisco had Joe Montana. No different than when Tom Brady was in New England, and all the parts they had coming in and out but they were still functioning and had a great… Yeah. So, just like no different than when Tom Brady and in New England and San Francisco guys. If you got a good nucleus and a good organization, good program, you want to make sure that the train keeps moving forward and you have an opportunity to win more championships.

[00:17:04] Dean Barber: All right. I want to know more about your time with the Giants. Of course, I grew up and a lot of people don’t know this but I grew up into my formidable years down in Dallas, Texas when Roger Staubach was the quarterback and they were America’s team and all that stuff. And so, I was a Cowboys fan a long, long time. Man, in 1986, when you guys were so good and that was like, man, those Giants are killing me. Talk to us more about your career there in the time that you had on the Giants.

[00:17:34] Mark Collins: Well, I spent eight years in New York, and the first five years are, I mean, all these are great, no doubt about it but we are a strong organization. I was very blessed and fortunate to play for three fantastic organizations, New York, Kansas City, Green Bay, and you talk about those are blue bloods of the NFL. So, I was very fortunate. New York, maybe I’m biased because I played on championships is the best season to play in.

I’ll tell you why. Fans are fans no matter where you go and I know those competitions, a lot of stadiums, and fan base, and whatever. But when you win in New York, it’s a whole different deal. They still remember. They never forget you when you win. When the Giants who won in ‘86, I still go back to New York. I go there twice a year except 2020 and I still get that free dinners and free beers and stuff.

[00:18:42] Dean Barber: That’s awesome.

[00:18:43] Mark Collins: Yeah. It’s pretty cool. And the fans want to talk about the ‘86 team, the ‘92. They just remember that. And big cities like New York is great, but the organization is fantastic. Tim Mara and the Tisch family owns the team. They were very stable and treated you right and you have the same, once a Giant always a Giant. That still holds true. Just a fantastic solid organization.

Now, if I want to compare them to another organization like I went to Seattle my last year in the league, the structure was awful. I bet you and you say the same thing with the Cleveland Browns back in the day, whatever. I’ll say now more so five, six years ago now but it’s just different. Love Kansas City as well. New York was great. Lawrence Taylor, Phil Simms, Mark Bavaro.

[00:19:45] Dean Barber: Yeah. That was it.

[00:19:48] Mark Collins: Harry Carson. A lot of great talent. A lot of great guys. Now, Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, those are probably the two best coaches, one and two. You can flip around the two Bills. They’re fantastic people. They knew football inside and out, especially that guy named Bill Belichick.

[00:20:05] Dean Barber: Oh, man. Still does. Amazing.

[00:20:07] Mark Collins: Yeah.

[00:20:09] Dean Barber: Amazing. All right. So, you finish up with the Giants and then you went where?

[00:20:15] Mark Collins: Kansas City. I signed in Kansas City, the day of the draft in 1994. I was vacillating back and forth between going back to the Giants. The way these contracts work out, the teams say they want your back, whatever. They leave you hanging there. Well, the Giants really do some bad things of me. And I said, “I work in Kansas anyway.” I already had a deal in Kansas City, and I signed in Kansas City April ‘94.

The reason I signed with Kansas City is because I was chasing another Super Bowl ring, because the year before ’93, Joe Montana took the Chiefs to the AFC Championship game. So, I’m thinking, “Well, they were close. I’m going to go there.” Instead of going to Detroit or Tampa, these other teams that are offering, and Kansas City gave me the most money and they gave me I thought the best opportunity to get another ring.

[00:21:25] Dean Barber: Didn’t happen yet, though, did it?

[00:21:27] Mark Collins: No. Though, I got one this year from this year’s team but not as a player, as a Chiefs ambassador, which we are part of the organization so we got a ring as well. But you want that ring as a player but I was greedy. I was chasing rings at the time but we have some good teams back then.

[00:21:45] Dean Barber: Yeah. So, you spent 13 years in the NFL, is that right?

[00:21:50] Mark Collins: Yeah. 13.

[00:21:53] Dean Barber: And then retired from the NFL.

[00:21:56] Mark Collins: Well, after my three in Kansas City I went to Green Bay try to get another ring. We went to the Super Bowl, but we lost that one, and then I retired and then I come back to California where I lived, and then Dennis Erickson who’s a coach in Seahawks called my college coach. Him and Gene Murphy, they were good friends and Gene told Dennis to give me a call because Dennis wanted me to come up here.

That’s okay. I was going to say, “I’m not going,” but he made me an offer, a financial offer I couldn’t refuse. So, I went and we went 8th of May. One room with my teammate then and the team just wasn’t good enough, and then after that, I was done. So, then I retired after that. I walked away from the game, instead of the game walking away from me and getting kicked out, and that’s the best feeling when you can walk away from a sport.

[00:22:52] Dean Barber: Did you ever have any major injuries that threatened your career?

[00:22:57] Mark Collins: No. My worst injury, I fractured my ankle in 1989 and I fractured my scapula in the 1998 season. I was going to go back to my 14th year in ’99 to 2000 and just endured. I was done and I knew it.

[00:23:18] Dean Barber: Yeah. So, were you just like were you done with the game mentally or did you think that from a physical standpoint, you were getting too old for the position that you were playing? What was the impetus there?

[00:23:28] Mark Collins: Well, I felt like that guy. You remember Forrest Gump?

[00:23:31] Dean Barber: Yeah.

[00:23:31] Mark Collins: When Forrest Gump was running all over the place and people were following him. And then when he stopped and that was it, that was me. I said…

[00:23:41] Dean Barber: I’m done.

[00:23:41] Mark Collins: That was it. I’m done. There was no reflecting back. I was done and I moved on to other things.

[00:23:50] Dean Barber: So, there you are in your early to mid-30s.

[00:23:56] Mark Collins: Thirty-five.

[00:23:57] Dean Barber: Thirty-five. Look at that and, okay, look at the career Super Bowls, an amazing, amazing story. What was the next chapter? I mean, a guy like you with that kind of experience could probably do whatever you wanted to do. What was the next chapter then for Mark Collins?

[00:24:18] Mark Collins: Well, the next chapter was to start a family, did that, and I have five great kids, and then at the same time, start a business. Do my after football stuff. I did TV and radio for a good four or five years. I did work for Sky Sports over London. Flew over there a few times. I did Super Bowl. I think it was Super Bowl 36, New England and Carolina. At least I think it was 36, I was the European feed as an analyst for Sky Sports. Then did some radio, TV, and then after a while, that whole mascot change with these podcasts. So, I would just go for radio and television, communications, and you had to be trained to do stuff like that.

Well, when the new wave of internet and all these podcasts and streaming services came out, the landscape changed because now they’re bringing in people who are not trained in communications and they’re bringing people on just for ratings, for clicks, or whatever. So, I felt I got bumped from opportunities because of that. No, I’m not going to mention anybody’s names. So, anyway.

[00:25:55] Dean Barber: But you know what, in some degrees, Mark, that’s made the broadcasting world more entertaining, in some instances.

[00:26:05] Mark Collins: Well, to a point but that depends on what is entertaining to you. Now, I don’t watch reality TV.

[00:26:14] Dean Barber: I don’t either. I don’t like it.

[00:26:14] Mark Collins: But some people do, which is fine, but all that does is it waters down true talent. It waters down people who study to be actors, actresses, TV personalities, news anchors, stuff like that. Well, it’s just like now. I mean, I know people with podcasts but back in the day, you would need training to do stuff like this. Now, this is easier. It’s an easier process. And I get it. You change the times. So, with me changing with the times and back, what happened to me then? I changed to do other things.

[00:27:00] Dean Barber: Yeah. It’s interesting. You know Joe Goldberg, right, here in Kansas City? Yeah. So, Joel was on our podcast in the last season and his story is really fascinating because he was studying to be in communications and sportscaster and all those things. But he’s taken that and what is now an era of I can sit down in front of a computer, I can get somebody on a Zoom meeting, like what you and I are doing here today and he’s had one heck of a career in broadcast media, and he’s taken the new tools and really taking them to – that’s what I was saying is it’s made it more entertaining. It’s more fun and free-flowing, and it’s on-demand if you will. As opposed to me having to sit down at a specific time to take in the content that’s out there.

[00:27:44] Mark Collins: Yeah. And, Joel, great guy, but I know a lot of people who wish to have it. A friend of mine in San Diego, we did radio together back in early 2000s, late 1999, Joe Tutino. Joe was the voice of the chargers and he’s doing the same thing as Joel Oberg is doing with the soccer team on here. I get it. You got to make changes because these guys they’re great at it.

[00:28:14] Dean Barber: And they’ve got a passion for it and I think that there are people that take that stuff in and like I said, the on-demand type of thing that you can get from what’s happening today, “Hey, I’m going to hop in my car. Man, I missed it what Joe Goldberg was saying. I missed what Mark Collins was saying. I got to finish that story.”

[00:28:31] Mark Collins: Yeah. You got to follow it. It’s great.

[00:28:33] Dean Barber: Yeah. You would think that being able to take our sports stuff in like that might make our married lives a little better too but you guys sit around. Wife says, “It’s time to have dinner.” “Okay. Let me pause this. We’ll sit down and have dinner,” as opposed to, “No, I got to wait for this broadcast to be over.” Alright. So, let’s get into where you are today and what you’re doing now with 2FiveSports. And so, first of all, people can learn about 2FiveSports if you’re not familiar with it, we’ll throw a link here to the podcast but what was your thought process there in helping these young athletes connect with people at the next level? How did you get into that?

[00:29:20] Mark Collins: Well, what happens in sports, as a former athlete, we were always and I still get it to this day, but we always coach and we teach on the field techniques with players of all sports. Whether it’s football, basketball, that’s what former players do from high school to college, to pros. We’ll have a camp and just a lot of something. I help a lot of my former teammates and friends in the league and college coaches by attending their camps. So, I looked around and I say, “You know what? There’s got to be…” I’m always thinking business to a point. That’s not a bad thing.

So, I’m going, “Okay. We help these kids get in shape and learn terminologies from playbooks and everything. There’s got to be a way to help athletes get scholarships.” So, because I still get asked, even before I started my business 10 years ago, “Can you talk to this coach for me for my kid, blah, blah, blah?” “Well, I don’t even know your kid to vouch for him and watch a video, I’m not going to sit and evaluate hours and hours of video when I want to play golf.”

[00:30:48] Dean Barber: Because golf takes hours and hours.

[00:30:53] Mark Collins: There’s got to be a better way, me using technology. So, I created 2FiveSports. So, what we do at 2FiveSports is we give every student-athlete the opportunity to gain exposure for college scholarships. The athlete will set their profile up on 2FiveSports and video pitches, academics, all the accolades they received, and colleges will look for them based on the criteria that colleges set, GPA, sport, position, region, whatever, and we bring them together. Now. I’m just a facilitator. I don’t rate players, five-star, four-star; I just bring them together. And I’ve found that to be a much, much-needed thing to do and I get them from parents every day.

I mean because a lot of parents don’t know what recruiting is all about. They don’t know the process. Should they not know about it? Maybe. It’d be nice for them to know but some parents don’t have the time on the things going on. But it’s easier for the parent of an athlete to put their profile together, in a school, for the coaches to put that together. Just like using the internet. What we do on the internet? We look for Amazon.

We look for what we want. Okay. You put that in the cart. It’s pretty much the same concept with 2FiveSports. If a coach likes what he sees on the athlete’s profile, that coach will contact that athlete, and I just stand back and tell them to enjoy the connection. It’s pretty cool because I get to go out a lot and talk to a lot of school districts, a lot of high schools, I talk to a lot of coaches, and it’s pretty nice.

[00:32:53] Dean Barber: That’s got to be a lot of fun. You don’t know this about me but I had a brother, still have a brother. He was quarterback for Yale and went on to play over in the European Football League for a few years. He was a player-coach, came back to the United States, and wound up coaching for Harvard as a wide receiver coach, and then wound up coaching for Yale. And so, he was in that arena but his deal as a coach, it was mind-boggling the amount of travel and the time that he had to put in going out and visiting these athletes all around the country and recruiting.

So, had your program, 2FiveSports, been around when he was doing that, that would have made a huge difference in his ability to find the talent that he wanted to recruit people to either Yale or Harvard, whichever school he would have been coached for at the time.

[00:33:49] Mark Collins: Oh, absolutely. And what works for us is there’s a lot of schools like for instance, let’s say University of Alabama, their athletic budget is somewhere about $85 million. Well, they can still travel all over the place, maybe not as much during COVID, which COVID has helped us out tremendously but there are some schools that don’t have that budget, like we’re working with, historically, black colleges.

They don’t have the budget to go out to recruit. Division 3 schools don’t have scholarships, but they use my services to look for players all over the country because most of them don’t have a budget to go and look for athletes. Say, there’s a school in South Florida and they want to travel and see somebody in Seattle, Washington, or the State of Washington, well, you travel and they got to go 2FiveSports, check via the invitation, and what they’re looking at is information in my website and probably the players they want to video, click a link and it’s there, and they can recruit that way from their home or their school.

[00:34:51] Dean Barber: That’s awesome. That really is. So, to me, you think, “I’m always thinking about business. I’m always thinking about business.” You’re coaching these young athletes but you’re doing more than that. You’re connecting them or giving them visibility to be seen by universities across the country in a way that they couldn’t do before.

[00:35:12] Mark Collins: Yeah. So, we’re getting the opportunity because just like myself, one of the reasons I started my business because I was overlooked. You know, I was one of those athletes. My senior year, my junior-senior year in high school, I thought I was good. I was all-conference and all this other stuff but our team, overall, we were just mediocre at that. Sometimes these bigger colleges, they kind of turn away from programs that don’t win much. So, we didn’t win much. But so, the USC, the UCLAs, the Notre Dame’s, the Miamis, they didn’t look at me. I got looked at by the Cal State Fullerton, which is a fine academic institution, Utah State, Nevada, Las Vegas, Northern Arizona. Those were the only schools that showed interest.

[00:36:07] Dean Barber: That didn’t turn out too bad for you.

[00:36:09] Mark Collins: No. I got an opportunity.

[00:36:11] Dean Barber: Yeah.

[00:36:11] Mark Collins: You know what I’m saying? And I always say there’s a lot of mes out there that need the opportunity to provide that for them and I think 2FiveSports is a perfect vehicle to help them.

[00:36:24] Dean Barber: I think it’s incredible what you’ve done. I’m going to take you back in time a little bit because I want to talk about the time that you spent as a financial advisor, which is what I do. And so, first of all, when you talk about coaching and educating and connecting, that’s what I do in my firm here in Kansas City, Modern Wealth Management. I mean, we’ve got a whole team. We’ve got the CPAs, the estate planning attorneys, the financial planners, the investment experts, the insurance experts, everything, and we bring that all together for the individuals. We kind of do that same type of a thing. You spent some time in the industry that I’m in. That had to have been after your broadcast television radio stuff.

[00:37:09] Mark Collins: Yep. Well, I got with Genworth Financial I want to say 2006, 2007.

[00:37:17] Dean Barber: Just in time for 2008, the great financial crisis.

[00:37:21] Mark Collins: Yeah.

[00:37:21] Dean Barber: Perfect timing, man.

[00:37:25] Mark Collins: If we have more time, I’d tell you the whole story. I think it was 2006 to 2008 or ‘09, maybe ‘10. I forget. And I got my Series 65 license and it was fun. I mean, I travel. I was more on the sports entertainment side. You know, I worked and I get to wine and dine with other people and talk about annuities and all this other stuff. It was fun and I did a lot of traveling and I brought to Genworth a lot of stuff from the NFL.

We did the death benefit through Hartford, I think. I forget. And then a lot of retirement vehicles we did, and that was fun but I was on the road a lot. I mean, I was on the road a lot and then I had to go to headquarters. I had to go to Richmond at least four times a year and I didn’t like Richmond.

[00:38:30] Dean Barber: So, how long did you spend in the financial industry then? Was that three or four years?

[00:38:35] Mark Collins: Well, [inaudible 38:36] navigator about five to six years.

[00:38:39] Dean Barber: Okay. Yeah. I don’t think a lot of people really appreciate the difficulty of our industry. And the other thing is I think that a lot of people think in our industry that every financial advisor is the same as the next financial advisor. But you got some experience in that. So, you know that’s not the case, right?

[00:39:01] Mark Collins: That’s not the case. No, everybody’s different. And I found I still get, like I told you before, if you look on my LinkedIn profile, you see more financial people on my LinkedIn profile than athletes and coaches. But I think that’s because of the relationships I’ve built with most of them over the years and still have with them. And it’s cool, it’s real cool.

There’s a kid who I coach when I was leaving, coaching with my son, football, and baseball. It was Blake Lopez and he just graduated Iowa State. So, I get a lot of people call me. They want to meet me at luncheon and I got to see some of what you do, to be honest with you, because I’m not even – I can’t remember everything. But they want to pick my brain about how to get in and who to talk to, whatever.

And I gave them my two cents. I tell them, he works for Mutual of Omaha. Anyway, they’ll call him and we’re talking about stuff. But it’s a different business now and you’ve been in for longer than I have. So, you’ve seen the changes.

[00:40:20] Dean Barber: Yeah. It’s been 33 years for me no doubt. There were some things that I noticed in the industry that I didn’t like. And so, one of the reasons why I started my own company was because I wanted to see things done a little bit differently because they tell you when you’re young or they tell anybody that they hire, “Man, this is the greatest industry in the world.

You can come in here, make a lot of money, and it really fast, right?” And that whole concept hit me the wrong way and I was like, “Well, I mean, that doesn’t make any sense, right?” If there’s that much financial incentive that you make that much money that fast, are we really doing the right thing all the time? And so, I mean, I was young. I was 21 years old when my mentor told me that and that guy was no longer my mentor after that because I came back a few days later and I said, “You know what, what you said just doesn’t make any sense to me.”

I said, “Because what I believe is that if I do the right thing for people 100% of the time, I may not make a whole lot of money really fast but I can build a really good client base that I’m really helping. And over the long haul, I can build an incredible business.” And so, that’s been my philosophy for the 33 years that I’ve been in this business. I don’t care about making money fast. What I care about is making sure that I know my clients so well that everything that I do for them, and their interest is always ahead of mine because I know if they’re successful, then ultimately, I can be successful on the other side of that.

[00:41:56] Mark Collins: Well, sure. You’re supposed to be a fiduciary to your client. That’s first and foremost. Back in the day, you know as well as I do, that wasn’t the case.

[00:42:05] Dean Barber: It was not the case. The term fiduciary back in the day didn’t even exist.

[00:42:09] Mark Collins: No, no. What you see now commercials is a lot now. It’s all over the place but, yeah, it was a learning experience for me and I learned a lot by being in the business, the good and the bad. The good, with the relationships that I built and some of the things I’m helping NFL retired players with, send those guys up with financial stuff. That was fun. That’s good. The bad part that I hated about the business, which I’ve been up for a while is cutthroat, man. When a company like a Genworth, which is nothing now I do believe.

[00:42:57] Dean Barber: You’re right. It was sold. Yeah.

[00:42:59] Mark Collins: When they see that, and I’d be the financial businesses like that. They’re there for seniors. They can see the future, I think. So, four months, five months before the crash happened, they let a lot of people go, and we were humming. We were doing good businesswise. And everyone is going, “What the hell’s going on?” And sure enough, that market, it just whoosh. It just came but I’ll tell you this story real quick. We were in our meeting room and they’re talking about creating these packages of financial mortgages, the mortgages into investment portals to do this, whatever. And I was like sitting there, explaining it, and one of the questions I asked was, what if people started missing payments, these mortgages, were not paying their mortgage?

[00:44:08] Dean Barber: Yeah. And you know the answer? It’s collateralized, right? You got the house. House never goes down in value.

[00:44:15] Mark Collins: Oh, yeah. That tanked everything. So, anyway…

[00:44:20] Dean Barber: Well, you know, it’s interesting, one of my business partners, Bud Kasper, who’s a co-host on my radio show, America’s Wealth Management Show, back in 2007 he wrote a white paper called When Subprime Goes Primetime. And so, the thesis of the paper was, if this subprime loan issue that’s happening leaks into the prime loan market, what’s the consequences of that?

And when we got done doing our research on that, we were like, “Oh, my God, this is the scariest thing we’ve ever seen.” And so, in late 2007, we start pulling clients’ money out of the market or pulling it out, pulling it out, pulling it out. They’re like, “What are you doing?” I’m like, “Something scary is happening.” If we’re wrong, we might miss a little bit of upside but if we’re right, man, we got to get out of the way. And so, we had clients leave us because we were missing some upside return there in late 2007 and early 2008, and then the bottom fell out of that thing and the rest is history.

[00:45:22] Mark Collins: I saw it, yeah.

[00:45:2] Dean Barber: And that, I think, is the part of our industry that you didn’t like. It’s the part that I hate. And a lot of times it’s the product manufacturer, the company that comes up with these products, just like what you’re saying what Genworth was doing with the collateralized mortgage obligation and it’s like, “What are you thinking? Whose best interest is this? Is it the companies, sales reps, or the investor? Whose is it?” And you get a lot of conflicts of interest. And so, that term fiduciary that you threw out there a few minutes ago, man, you got to be a fiduciary.

You got to always put your client’s best interests ahead of your own because if you don’t, something’s going to wind up happening and it’s not going to be a pleasant thing. That’s why I love, Mark, what you’re doing with the 2FiveSports now because, look, you’re connecting these young athletes with schools across the country. You’re giving schools across the country that don’t have the recruiting power, the recruiting budgets, the ability to find these athletes that they would have never otherwise had the opportunity to see. So, the product that you’ve put together there, in my opinion, is it should, I mean, it’s got to be revolutionizing the way that athletes are recruited to college.

[00:46:40] Mark Collins: Well, I think so. Dean, this has been done before like everything else. I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel. I’m just trying to make my wheel or the wheel roll more effectively for everybody else. So, if I could give a student-athlete in or a college opportunity to navigate recruiting easier, seamlessly, that’s what I’m trying to do. Am I different from anybody else? Maybe. What makes me different is me because I think I add credibility to what I do. I validate what I do, and I’m the face of my business. So, I’m kind of like a fiduciary to both, to colleges and student-athletes without the big monetary upswing. I get it through just by helping people. At my age, like I told you, I have no stress.

I feel good. I play golf a lot and enjoy my kids, and my fun time. And I get to enjoy business because every time I travel, I get to talk to like a superintendent of a school or a high school coach or high school principal, or then I get to talk to college coaches who are looking for athletes. Now, from the smallest schools that you never heard of, I get to talk to them and help them out. It’s pretty cool to do.

[00:48:09] Dean Barber: Yeah. But you know the most important thing you said? You get to help people. You get to help people. And you were there, right? You were there. So, you know what’s needed.

[00:48:17] Mark Collins: Yeah. It’s cool.

[00:48:18] Dean Barber: Buddy, you got an incredible story. I wish you all the success in everything that you do. I hope you get that golf game down to scratch.

[00:48:26] Mark Collins: I know. I know. I’m trying.

[00:48:30] Dean Barber: Well, hopefully, you can get out and play around sometime.

[00:48:33] Mark Collins: Well, listen, I’ll be here until February. When the snow melts, I’m taking you out for golf.

[00:48:41] Dean Barber: Let’s do it. Well, listen, enjoy the rest of your time in California there and God bless and best wishes to you and all your success. And thanks for taking time to share your story with our audience here on The Guided Retirement Show.

[00:48:53] Mark Collins: You’re welcome. To you as well, my friend. Be good.

[00:48:55] Dean Barber: All right. Thanks.


[00:48:57] Dean Barber: Well, I hope you enjoyed that conversation with Mark Collins as much as I did. If you’re listening to us on podcast, make sure to subscribe and go ahead and take a minute and give our podcast a rating. If you’re watching us on YouTube, give us a thumbs up. Also, subscribe to the YouTube channel and share this with your friends. You can find more information on Mark Collins company, 2FiveSports, in the show notes. Thanks for joining me on The Guided Retirement Show.


Investment advisory service is offered through Modern Wealth Management, an SEC-registered investment advisor.

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Investment advisory services offered through Modern Wealth Management, Inc., an SEC Registered Investment Adviser.

The views expressed represent the opinion of Modern Wealth Management an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Information provided is for illustrative purposes only and does not constitute investment, tax, or legal advice. Modern Wealth Management does not accept any liability for the use of the information discussed. Consult with a qualified financial, legal, or tax professional prior to taking any action.