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Athletic Achievements Enterprises: Making It Happen
NEW HAVEN,Ct. — Even from his days as a youngster in Killeen, Texas, Tony Austin has maintained a deep rooted passion for athletics and athletes. As a former high school and college stand out in track and field, Austin always looked to use his life experiences to help steer and influence youngsters in pursuing their athletic and academic futures.
Over four years ago, Austin and his partner, William Reed Gordon, founded Athletic Achievements Enterprises, LLC. “We try to educate these young men and women on some of the things they’ll have to deal with while being recruited as student-athletes by various universities”, said Austin.
AAE is a certified Minority Business Enterprise (BSE) that operates as a sports marketing and consulting organization. Austin added that the company’s main objective is to assist high school male and female athletes obtain college athletic scholarships.
Austin also stressed that AAE is not a scouting service, but is strictly a consulting organization which reaches out to students as a guide. “I use my own experiences to let them know about the pitfalls and hidden traps that exist in the college recruiting game”, Austin added.
An All-American athlete in track and field, Austin specialized in the triple jump and was heavily recruited by several Division I schools. The Texas native would get a first hand education on the sometimes ruthless recruiting “game”.
After struggling on his initial SAT and ACT attempts as a junior, many schools shied away from him. When his scores improved and Austin made himself eligible for college, only one school stayed with him along the way.
Austin would attend Prairie View A&M University of the Southwestern Athletic Conference and would also leave a mark on the Panthers program on and off the playing field. He was a SWAC All-Academic performer during his entire four-year career.
Along the way, PVAM won four conference titles led by Austin, who was one of the nation’s top triple jumpers. “One of the things I always remembered about that experience was how Prairie View kept in touch with me and kept encouraging me along the way”, Austin added.
“Those other schools started coming back once my scores got better, but because of the way Prairie View pursued me even during my down time. It’s that sort of experience that I try to share with the kids in dealing with being recruited”.
AAE looks to “Make It Happen” for its clients. The motto is just a small part of what the organization does for prospective student athletes. A big part of what Austin and his staff does is an extensive preparation for life on and off the court. “We want our kids to know that there many tools out their for them in this process”, said Austin.
Among the many tools used by AAE are interactive seminars on topics such as life management skills, drug and alcohol awareness, money management, and various other topics. Austin feels that many young adults aren’t always made aware of the various activities that they’re eligible to participate in along the transition from high school to college.
“One of the biggest differences from the time when I attended school is the boom of technology”, Austin added. “The Internet was really just getting started when I began college. While there are pluses and minuses with the net as well, we try to use it to our advantage, especially with the kids”.
Along the way, Austin and his staff have had several success stories. Two players in particular include a Texas native and Alabama native that made an impact with their respective schools. Oklahoma freshman receiver Juaquin Iglesias, another Killeen product, was a major contributor for the Sooners during the 2005 season.
After a standout high school career that included stints in basketball and track, Iglesias caught 19 passes including 2 touchdowns. The biggest was a a 21-yard score in the second overtime to give OU a win over Baylor in October.
Another client, junior defensive tackle Jeremy Clark of Alabama has made an impact of the Crimson Tide roster as well. The Daphne, Ala. native became a starter as a sophomore in 2004 after a strong showing during the spring. Despite missing most of 2005 due to a foot injury, Clark is looking to return as a starter for Mike Shula in 2006.
Most importantly, Austin says both players are on point to graduate on time as well. “We want to let these kids know that education doesn’t stop once you get to college”, Austin added.
“We always want them to keep learning and seeking knowledge just like higher ups do in business. It’s one thing to go to college and get a scholarship, but the most important thing we stress is that you must capitalize on your education and the benefits that come with it”.
For more information, log on to www.aaesports.org.