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Dave DesRochers: “Get a game plan”

I work with teens and young adults through nonprofit groups and organizations like Hispanic 100 and Orange County Hispanic Youth Chamber. I share my story of being bullied and persevering to achieve my dreams. I meet regularly with the young people I mentor and it really energizes me. I feel like I get more from […]

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I work with teens and young adults through nonprofit groups and organizations like Hispanic 100 and Orange County Hispanic Youth Chamber. I share my story of being bullied and persevering to achieve my dreams. I meet regularly with the young people I mentor and it really energizes me. I feel like I get more from mentoring than I could possibly give. Helping young people to develop confidence, skills, and to see their path in life and their future career is one of the most rewarding things I have done.


As a part of my series about sports stars who are making a social impact, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dave DesRochers.

PATH2™ Vice President and Partner Dave DesRochers has a gift for connecting with people and building mutually beneficial relationships. A former pro football player for the Seattle Seahawks and an exceptional public speaker, Dave shares lessons from life and work with students, community groups, people in career transition, veterans, HR teams, recruiters, nonprofits, and business leaders.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you share with us the “backstory” that led you to your career path in professional sports?

I appreciate the opportunity to join you and share my story and mission. As a kid, I was big and uncoordinated and bullied because of it. Through my teen years, I got better at athletics, lettering in basketball and football. I went on to play basketball and football in college at San Diego State University. With a lot of hard work, I was able to excel enough to make it to the NFL. I wasn’t a natural talent like some are, but I was willing to put in the work and that’s what helped me get to the highest level.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career? What were the lessons or takeaways that you took out of that story?

I wouldn’t have had a career if not for my high school football coach. In my junior year, our football coach asked if I was going to play football. I said no because I just wasn’t as good at it as I was at basketball, and I wanted to get a good scholarship for college. Coach encouraged me to play and said “I’ll get you a better scholarship playing football.” After the first week of practice, he told me “You’re not very good.” Rather than give up on me or tell me to go back to my basketball plan, he told me I needed to get lighter on my feet, which would make me quicker on the field. He handed me a jump rope and told me to learn how to jump. I got prolific at it. It didn’t really make me better at football, but I was given a task and I did it well. So well, in fact, that it wasn’t long before I was skipping rope better than coach. This meant a lot to me at the time, and I was glad I learned this new skill. I received multiple offers for collegiate football scholarships and accepted an offer from San Diego State. In the first week of practice, the offensive line coach handed out jump ropes and most of the other guys were looking around trying to figure out what to do. I knew what to do and was already quite good at it. This immediately set me apart and impressed the coach, who then told the other coaches about me. The big lesson is: be coachable. As a high school junior, I listened to someone who cared about me. I did something I didn’t want to do and it paid off down the road.

What would you advise a young person who wants to emulate your success?

Get a game plan. Set goals and work for them. Be coachable. And always do more, do it better, and get it done faster.

Is there a person that made a profound impact on your life? Can you share a story?

My high school football coach. After he realized I wasn’t very good, he didn’t give up on me. He didn’t need me; he already had a talented team. (Five players went on to Division I college teams, and two went on to the NFL.) We still meet for breakfast. I mention him every time I tell my story and anyone who has attended one of my speaking events knows how important and impactful he has been in my life. He came to hear me speak to 500 Boys & Girls Club counselors once, and it was so special. I was able to thank him after telling the story, telling him “You took the time to work with me and it defined my life.”

What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about what it is like being a professional sports player?

I played in the days before there were so many zeros on players’ paychecks. A lot has changed in professional football since then. The NFL is a business, plain and simple. If you’re one of the 300 Hall of Famers, it’s one thing. But as a journeyman like I was, it’s not as glamorous as it’s cracked up to be.

Another myth is that it’s a lot of fun. The last time football was truly fun was in high school. You’re playing with your buddies, and you make memories you’ll remember forever. As you go up the ladder you’re getting paid and there’s more and more expectation of performance, from college scholarships to being paid to play professionally. If you don’t perform, then it goes to the next in line.

One more myth is that the guys in the NFL must have always been the best. Because based on my story, I assuredly was not. Each year 190 guys make a practice squad. It’s assumed they were the best of the best all along the way, but that’s just not true.

Ok super. Let’s now move to the main part of our discussion. How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share with us the meaningful or exciting causes you are working on right now?

I work with teens and young adults through nonprofit groups and organizations like Hispanic 100 and Orange County Hispanic Youth Chamber. I share my story of being bullied and persevering to achieve my dreams. I meet regularly with the young people I mentor and it really energizes me. I feel like I get more from mentoring than I could possibly give. Helping young people to develop confidence, skills, and to see their path in life and their future career is one of the most rewarding things I have done.

What methods are you using to most effectively share your cause with the world?

I do a lot of networking with people, participating in community events like fundraisers, nationwide virtual events, and volunteering, speaking to groups, and appearing as a guest on podcasts.

Can you share with us the story behind why you chose to take up this particular cause?

When I think back to my days in middle school and high school, I recall how much it meant to feel understood and to belong. I want to help students feel like they’re important and discover their best path forward in life.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

I was lucky enough to have some great influences in my life, so I’d like to flip this around. I wouldn’t have gotten as far as I did without people coaching me and helping to guide me along the way.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Let’s just all be good teammates. Don’t judge. Instead, love & respect one another. Be nice to each other.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you explain how that was relevant in your life?

“Begin with the end in mind,” by Steven Covey. I always say it’s important to have a game plan. You don’t plan a vacation if you don’t know where you’re going. You have to plan it out, know your goal, or you never know when you’re there.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Politics, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Without a doubt, and no hesitation, I want to meet Jack Youngblood. He played for the LA Rams and he’s the reason I played football. He played once with a broken femur! I never met him and would love the honor. And breakfast would be on me!

How can our readers follow you online?

My company, PATH2, has a website with a blog. I host a weekly YouTube show The Locker Room on Mission Sports TV. I’m also on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Thank you so much for these amazing insights. This was so inspiring

I appreciate the opportunity. Thanks for taking the time and listening. Take care!


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