An Interview With the Co-author of “20 Secrets to Success for NCAA Student-Athletes Who Won’t Go Pro”

December 27th, 2017 | by Ronnie Burton Jr
An Interview With the Co-author of “20 Secrets to Success for NCAA Student-Athletes Who Won’t Go Pro”

20 secrets

Ed. Note: In 2018, CollegeAD will welcome a weekly series from Jake Hirshman, Co-author of “20 Secrets to Success for NCAA Student-Athletes Who Won’t Go Pro.” Before his articles publish, our very own Ronnie Burton Jr. set out to introduce Jake and his work to better frame the series. 


In today’s climate, athletic administrators are faced with rising expectations in the area of student-athlete development. While graduation rates are key, more focus is being placed on a student athlete’s transition once they leave campus. Yet, with the all-encompassing nature of big-time athletics, many students enter and also leave school with an “athlete first” mentality causing many to struggle once their playing days are over.

In 20 Secrets to Success for NCAA Student-Athletes Who Won’t Go Pro, authors Rick Burton, Jake Hirshman, Norm O’Reilly, Andy Dolich, and Heather Lawrence attack this issue head-on.  With a mix of personal experience, interviews, expert opinion, and industry data they provide a game plan for student-athletes as they make key transitions at each stage of their career. This book is applicable to any athlete in high school, college, and beyond.

Recently, I caught up with Co-Author Jake Hirshman who’s an Ohio U alum and currently works for Major League Baseball. The book is a part of the Ohio University Sport Management Series and looks to be a tool for both the student-athlete and athletic administrator. The book is available for pre-order on Amazon and will be released January 2nd.

Interview with Co-Author, Jake Hirshman

Ronnie Burton Jr.: How did you come up with the idea for this book?

Jake Hirshman: Being a former student-athlete, who thought they were going pro, I quickly realized my dreams were crushed after an injury altered my playing career. At that point, I began coaching. As I went along I noticed many of my teammates and the student-athletes I coached, were not prepared for life after sport. Many were athlete first, student second. Although my transition was tough, I had mentors and supporters on my side to help me along the way. I wanted to create a resource for those who need it, want it, and will learn from it. Even though I’m young I’ve have been able to find success in my post-playing career. However, it’s been tough. I wish I had a resource like this book that would have helped me even more!

RBJ: How will the student-athlete be impacted by this book?

JH: The student-athlete at any level will be impacted by this book because it will help guide them through their collegiate journey and transition into real life after sports. The 65 featured contributors help provide unique perspectives that vary from sport, age, gender, background, and experience. More than anything, the student-athlete will develop their own strategy and approach to being successful. It will also prepare them for their transition from graduation to the workforce.

RBJ: How can this book be used within athletic departments?

JH: 20 Secrets to Success for NCAA Student-Athletes Who Won’t Go Pro can be used in a variety of ways within an athletic department. The ultimate goal is to get a book in the hands of every student-athlete. If the budget isn’t available, student-athlete development departments may have freshman transition programs they have created, as well as leadership development programs, or senior transition programs. Ideally, a student-athlete gets the book as a freshman and can use the resource as an extra guide in addition to whatever their school may provide. The first 10 secrets will help them succeed as a student-athlete, and the second 10 will help them transition, which we suggest you start preparing during your sophomore year.

Ronnie Burton Jr About Ronnie Burton Jr
Ronnie Burton Jr., is an emerging professional within collegiate athletics and higher education. Prior to writing for CollegeAD Ronnie worked in administrative and coaching positions at California Lutheran University, Arizona State, and Michigan State. A 2015 graduate of Arizona State’s Masters in Sports Law and Business Program he looks to be an asset for organizations making decisions in the areas of regulation and revenue generation. A former college baseball player, Ronnie’s passions reside at the intersection of higher education and athletics.

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