Athlete

Jake Zweig – Navy SEAL and Football

Jake Zweig coach football ncaa d1 navy seal wrestler

My guest today is ex-Navy SEAL and D1 Football Coach, Jake Zweig. This episode is a two part episode. Part 1 gives us background of Jake and his mindset. Part 2 we talk about his time traveling internationally while he was a Navy SEAL. He speaks about his time working on the television shows and I also ask Jake how he prepares his student/athletes to schedule their time while playing football at the University of Illinois. His response is one for every coach on most levels.

Jake is man who has accomplished a tremendous amount in a short time and is just now hitting his prime. Jake attended the U.S. Naval Academy where he played football and wrestled. He graduated as a commissioned officer receiving his degree in computer science.

“My smart phone probably makes me 40% more efficient”

He served for two years before reporting for Navy SEAL training where he was named the SEAL class leader. Following his SEAL training, Jake reported to SEAL Team 8 in Little Creek, VA and attained the rank of Lieutenant.

He then went on to earn his MBA from the University of Michigan.

Jake began his coaching career in 2005 when he joined the University of Maryland staff as a graduate assistant working with the Terrapin wide receivers. He has since worked as an assistant coach at several colleges and is now working at the University of Illinois as their Special Teams Analyst.

His off the clock activities keep him equally busy. He co-hosted the Discovery Channel series called “Dude You’re Screwed” and competed on History Channels show “Top Shot” against law enforcement officers, military snipers and professional shooters. He still goes scuba diving and parachutes to raise awareness for veteran’s charities and just for fun.

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John Bonaventura – CFL scout and Dad

This podcast is with western regional scout for the CFL Winnipeg Blue Bombers football team, John Bonaventura. John has worked in the football industry for over 30 years as a player, coach, scout and administrator. He has worked at the high school, collegiate and professional levels of football. In addition to coaching, John has 9 years of professional football as an NFL college Area Scout, CFL pro scout and consultant, NFL combine director and XFL football administrator.

“What they don’t understand is the travel, the ins and outs of hotels, rental cars and the numerous hours spent away from your family”

A husband and father of two boys makes juggling life on the road a struggle at times and he has found ways to incorporate his family life with his professional life, a struggle most of us business travelers have experienced. Let me know what you think of this episode.

Dennis Franks – Getting The Last Laugh

Dennis Franks

On today’s The Travel Wins podcast is Dennis Franks. Dennis is retired NFL player, playing with the Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions, and now an author, business owner and motivational speaker.

He recently co-authored his first book “The Last Laugh: Vision to Victory” with his friend and teammate Vince Papale. In addition to traveling for the release of the book, Dennis has over 2 million miles in the air while traveling thru out the US and several countries for his business and speaking engagements. He talks about the importance of fitness and good eating habits being essential for all travelers.

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Dennis played professional football as a center and on special teams for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1976 to 1978 and for the Detroit Lions in 1979. He also played college football at the University of Michigan from 1972 to 1974. He was the starting center in all 11 games for the 1974 Michigan Wolverines football team that began its season with ten consecutive wins before losing to Ohio State by a 12-10 score in the final game of the season. Franks was selected as a first-team All-Big Ten Conference center in 1974.

Franks attended the University of Michigan on a football scholarship. As a freshman in 1971, he played on the all-freshman team. As a sophomore, he was the backup for starting center Bill Hart. As a junior, Franks started 5 of 11 games at center for the undefeated 1973 Michigan Wolverines football team.

As a senior, Franks started all 11 games at center for the 1974 Michigan team that began its season with ten consecutive wins before losing to Ohio State by a 12-10 score in the final game of the season. Franks was selected as a first-team All-Big Ten Conference player 1974. Head coach Bo Schembechler said of Franks: “He’s the best center I’ve seen around so far. He may be a little better than Guy Murdock — a little better and a little quicker. He’s consistent”

While playing football at Michigan, Franks drew press attention for his hobby of figure skating. His mother had been a figure skating champion in Germany, and he noted: “The figure skating is a great help for me in developing agility, versatility, quickness, and strength in my legs.”

Franks was not selected in the 1975 NFL Draft. Franks later recalled, “The computers said I was too small. I just didn’t believe the computers.” He tried out with the Philadelphia Eagles and Oakland Raiders in 1975, but both teams cut him during training camp. He tried out with the Eagles again in 1976 and made the team. As a rookie, he appeared in 14 games for the Eagles as a special teams player. During the 1977 season, Franks was given the opportunity to play at the center position. Following an injury to the team’s starting center Guy Morriss, Franks played one game as the Eagles’ starting center.

Franks was waived by the Eagles in August 1979. He had played for the Eagles for three years from 1976 to 1978, appearing in a total of 44 games. The Philadelphia Inquirer later summarized Franks’ career as follows: “For the Eagles, Dennis Franks was a bit player who made himself important to the team by sheer force of personality. He was gung-ho, articulate and hard-working. Whatever coach Dick Vermeil wanted him to do, whether it was to fill in at an unusual position or work out year after year just to sit on the bench, Franks never lost his enthusiasm for the game or the team. His attitude may have been his most important team contribution.

In September 1979, Franks signed to play for the Detroit Lions. The Lions announced that they would use him as the center on punts and on special teams. Franks appeared in 13 games for the Lions during the 1979 NFL season.

The Last Laugh - Dennis Franks and Vince Papale

Smush Parker – NBA and The World

Smush Parker NBA Los Angeles Lakers Clippers Cavaliers Basketball

Here is my podcast with professional basketball player, Smush Parker. Smush talks about his time in the NBA as well as playing basketball in multiple countries. He shared his favorite place to live and work and some travel tips while playing overseas.

“Basketball has opened the door for me to travel the world and I’m taking full advantage of it now

Smush played for the Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix Suns and the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA and played professionally in Greece, Russia, Morocco, China, Venezuela, and Mongolia. He is currently playing for Byron Scott’s Primetime Basketball League’s Los Angeles Superstars.

Smush holds FREE clinics for children interested in basketball while still pursuing playing in the professional ranks.

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BIO

William Henry “Smush” Parker is an American professional basketball player for Byron Scott’s Primetime Basketball League’s Los Angeles Superstars. Parker previously played for the Albany Patroons of the North American Premier Basketball. He played in the NBA, the NBA D-League, and several leagues overseas. Parker played shooting guard in college but moved to point guard in the NBA.

Early years

Parker was born in Brooklyn to parents William “Bill” Henry Parker II and Robin Royal Parker. He attended Newtown High School in Elmhurst, Queens, where he was a star guard on their varsity basketball team. He then enrolled in the College of Southern Idaho as a freshman in the 1999-2000 season and transferred to play college basketball at Fordham University. Following his sophomore season at Fordham University, he entered the NBA in 2002 but went undrafted. During his sophomore season, he was Second Team All A-10 and Second Team NABC All-Region.

Parker has one daughter and resides in New York City with his live-in long time girlfriend Naeemah Brown

Professional career

While he was not drafted out of college, the Cleveland Cavaliers signed him for the 2002-03 season.

In 2003, he signed with Aris Thessaloniki of the Greek League (FIBA Europe), and helped them win the 2004 Greek Basketball Cup in the final against Olympiacos. He returned to the NBA in 2004, and played for the Detroit Pistons and the Phoenix Suns. He then signed a contract with the Los Angeles Lakers during the summer of 2005.

Little known entering the 2005 season, Parker gained recognition as the starting point guard for the Lakers under coach Phil Jackson. While many experts thought that either newly signed veteran Aaron McKie or Sasha Vujačić would start at point guard, Parker became the surprise starter in the Lakers’ season opener against the Denver Nuggets and went on to score at least 20 points in four of his first five Laker games. This impressed Jackson, and Parker found himself in the starting line-up for the Lakers. From 2005 until 2007, Parker started 162 straight games averaging 11.5 points. During the last two games of the regular season and the playoffs (2006–2007), Parker lost his starting spot to rookie Jordan Farmar. While with the Lakers, Parker clashed with coaches and players, and has even admitted to looking off Kobe Bryant and not passing him the ball nearing the end of his second season. Kobe Bryant singled out Parker as a bad teammate, saying in 2012 that Parker “shouldn’t have been in the NBA, but we were too cheap to pay for a point guard

On July 26, 2007, Parker signed with the Miami Heat. For the Heat, Parker wore jersey number 21. His production dropped off dramatically while with the Heat, with averages of 4.8 points, 1.7 assists and 2.1 rebounds, compared to his 11.1 in 164 games with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Due to a physical altercation that Parker had with a parking attendant in November 2007, the Miami Heat put him on paid leave to investigate the matter. On March 10, 2008, the Miami Heat officially waived Parker. The Los Angeles Clippers then signed him for the rest of the season on March 12, 2008.

On July 10, 2008, the Los Angeles Clippers officially renounced their rights to Parker.

In the 2008 offseason Parker was signed by the Denver Nuggets but was released on October 23, 2008, as the Nuggets trimmed their roster to the league-allowed 15. He then played with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA Development League.

On January 9, 2009, Parker officially signed with Guangdong Southern Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association, making him one of the better known foreign players employed in the CBA, which was due mainly to his exposure gained in the country playing alongside Kobe Bryant.

In September 2010 he signed a one-year contract with the Russian club Spartak Saint Petersburg.

In January 2011 he returned to Greece and signed a contract with Iraklis Thessaloniki.

In January 2012, Parker signed with Petrochimi Bandar Imam of the Iranian Basketball Super League. He later played in Venezuela, then signed with the Indios de San Francisco de Macorís of the Dominican Republic.

Karissa Cook – Beach and Volleyball

Karissa Cook Beach Volleyball AVP Manhattan Beach California Stanford

My guest today is beach volleyball professional, Karissa Cook. After watching Karissa and her playing partner play in the Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach AVP beach volleyball tournaments I had a nice chat with her.

After a stellar college career at Stanford (graduate in engineering) and Hawaii (masters in engineering), she has made the successful leap into a professional beach volleyball career with opportunities to play around the States and internationally including Cuba and Russia. She shares some insights to what it takes to travel as a professional athlete.

“Just being on the road can be hard on relationships”

Karissa Cook on social media:

After three amazing years on The Farm, Karissa has decided to move to Manhattan Beach to continue playing on the AVP tour. She had her personal best year in 2018, tallying six top-ten finishes and one semifinal appearance.

Karissa’s listening choice while traveling for work is:

Click here to see other guests choices for listening while traveling

College:  Cook played four years as a setter at Stanford, helping the team to the NCAA Regional finals twice. An engineering major, she left the school ranked seventh all-time in assists. She then transferred to Hawai’i where she played beach volleyball and received a Master’s degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering. Competing with Brittany Tiegs she was the AVCA Pairs National Championship runner-up, and was an AVCA All-American. She ended the year with a 42-7 match record.

Personal: Born in Salt Lake City, Cook went to high school in Santa Cruz, Calif.  She was a member of Volleyball Magazine’s Fab 50 and competed with the USA Junior National Team in the 2009 World Championships in Mexico. Her father, David, played basketball at the University of San Diego as well as professionally in Australia while her mother, Suzy, played volleyball at United States International University. One of four kids, her younger brother Brian played volleyball at Stanford. In 2015 she was named as assistant coach for Stanford beach volleyball team.

Hunter Cure – Cowboy and Family Man

Hunter Cure

On my podcast today is two-time world champion steer wrestler, Hunter Cure. Hunter competes on the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) level. Hunter shares the good and bad of traveling 6+ months a year with no guarantee of income while being a devoted husband and father at home in Texas.

“The humbling nature of moving up a level”

Hunter married his wife, Bristi in 2006 and they have 2 children. Both Hunter and Bristi attended Texas Tech and were members of the rodeo team. Bristi competed in the barrel racing, and she earned bachelors and master’s degrees in communications. Hunter’s uncle, Joe Howard Williamson, has won several world championships in cutting. Hunter runs cattle on his Holliday, Texas, ranch and provides stock for the steer wrestling competitions in San Antonio, Fort Worth, San Angelo, Houston and the Timed Event Championships in Guthrie, Okla.. He also likes hunting deer and wild hogs. His favorite restaurant is Outback Steakhouse, and his favorite food is steak.

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BIOGRAPHY

Growing up in North Texas, being a cowboy has always been second nature to Hunter Cure. He was surrounded with large cattle operations and multiple family interests which included a breeding operation, halter, performance and cutting horses. Hunter found his niche in the rodeo arena by first competing in calf roping and bull riding. At age 14, Hunter began steer wrestling and as they say the rest is history. Hunter was successful in the high school ranks and this lead to a rodeo scholarship in college. He went on to win the college national steer wrestling title in 2004 and then started his Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) rookie year in 2006.

In May of 2006 Hunter graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelors of science degree in Agricultural Economics and spent his rookie season on the road. In October he married Bristi and they moved back to the Wichita Falls, Texas area. In his spare time Hunter has been known to work on horse trailer interiors, while running wheat pasture cattle and helping with the families’ cow calf operation. In 2011 Hunter entered into the stock contracting business by providing steer wrestling cattle for Rodeo Austin, the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo and the Ft. Worth Stock Show and Rodeo.

Throughout the year Hunter can be found traveling the United States and Canada competing. He competes at over 80 sanctioned rodeos a year and drives countless miles in pursuit of another National Finals Rodeo (NFR) appearance.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

In 2009, Hunter qualified for his first NFR. That same year he won four out of the six rounds at his first Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR). He also won the Texas Circuit in 2009 which qualified him for a spot at the Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Pocatello, Idaho, where he finished second. Cure would go on to qualify for the CFR again in 2010. 2013 proved to be an outstanding season for Cure, he qualified for his second NFR, made another trip to the CFR, and won prestigious rodeos like Reno and Sheridan. Cure finished the CFR finals as reserve CFR champion. Cure’s NFR performance included two go round wins, placing in seven of the ten rounds, and finishing third in the average. Cure ended the 2013 season winning the PRCA World Championship title.

HISTORY

While Hunter’s rodeo career began roping calves and riding bulls, he’s been moving cattle and riding horses since a very young age. He even spent a summer riding cutting horses. At age 14 he tried his hand at steer wrestling. While the first few years took a lot of hard work and practice, Hunter continued to improve and get stronger. He made the best of his high school years by being successful at Texas high school rodeos in Region I & III. His successful high school career led to a rodeo scholarship to Howard Junior College where he stayed for one year before transferring to Texas Tech University in 2004. In 2004, Hunter qualified for his first College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) in Casper, Wyoming and won the National Inter-collegiate Rodeo National (NIRA) Championship title in the steer wrestling.  He later went on to qualify for the CNFR two more times, winning the Southwest Region twice and helped lead Texas Tech University’s Men’s team to a regional championship, as well as a NIRA runner-up title in 2006.

Team members included other NFR qualifiers Adam Gray (calf roping), Ryan Gray (bare back riding) and CFR qualifier Luke Butterfield.