Major league baseball player Shane Victorino recalled nearly quitting professional baseball after he was sent to the minor leagues more than a decade ago, while former eight-year NFL player Vernon Fox said he was about to quit pursuing his pro football career after not being drafted out of Fresno State in 2002.
But Victorino and Fox, both Las Vegas residents, advised local business owners and professionals last week at a Faith Lutheran Middle School &High School breakfast to understand that success in business comes with some struggles.
“Struggle is inevitable,” said Fox, 34, a former safety who played for the Chargers, Lions, Redskins and Broncos and who is now the Faith Lutheran football coach. “Failure is when you stop trying.”
Victorino, 33, fresh off winning a World Series with the Boston Red Sox in 2013 and president of the Las Vegas-based Shane Victorino Foundation, said his father advised him that he needed to have fun on his job but also never be a quitter.
“Business is not always fun,” Victorino told the private school’s Business Advisory Council on Feb. 4.
Victorino said his Red Sox squad was not the most talented teams in the big leagues, but it was the club that played the best as a team.
The business lesson: “You have to work as a team,” Victorino said.
Victorino also said he sees his career as a “business” where he has to create a brand like any other company.
Fox offered three business tips: Besides pointing out that struggle is inevitable, his other two keys are “success is intentional” and “faith is essential.”
Fox has strong local roots. He’s a Las Vegas native and a Cimarron-Memorial High School graduate.
He was an academic All-American at Fresno State, where he played with quarterback and former NFL No. 1 pick David Carr.
Fox was a talented safety, but recalled how disappointed he was when no NFL team drafted him in 2002. But four months later, he made the San Diego Chargers roster as an undrafted rookie. Although there are infamous stories about NFL stars going bankrupt, Fox said he never had a signing bonus or a multiyear contract, so he was used to being careful about managing his financial resources.
“I never had a killer contract,” Fox said. “There was always the potential any year that it could be my last year.”
Fox transitioned from the NFL to life as the Faith Lutheran coach thanks to an NFL career transition program in 2010, which included an online course and a self-branding seminar.
Now, besides coaching the Faith Lutheran football team, Fox shares his business lessons of life in the NFL to groups such as the school’s business council.
Contact reporter Alan Snel at email@example.com or 702-387-5273. Follow @bicyclemansnel on Twitter.