Collegiate Football University of Cincinnati, 2017


Colerain High School, 2012

My Story

When I was 20 years old, God blessed me with my first son. Though this was unexpected, it was with the woman of my dreams who is now my wife. This was an adverse period in my life to say the least. In an instant, I went from a student-athlete with no responsibility to anybody other than myself and, of course, my teammates to a man (truthfully still a boy at the time) who needed to find a way to provide for a family. Glory to God – it has been 6 years and my wife and I are now having our 3rd child. It took a tremendous amount of grit and determination, but we both graduated without pause in our academic curriculum. I gave up a lot in what others may consider a sacrifice. Others went out on weekends, I worked. They played videogames all Saturday, I studied. They slept in, I got up multiple times each night with my boy. This was a tremendous mental challenge at the time, but in hindsight, I would do this one thousand times over to be in the position that I am in now. One lesson I have learned throughout it all, faith and hard work never fail.

My Advice

Advice for a College Athlete:
a. The first thing I would say is to really determine in your heart if you want to continue in a sport in college. There are certainly more factors at play than just a love for the game. Sports at the university level become a business and, though there is a lot of fun, there is a lot of work as well. You must look at the forest from the trees to determine what is right for your future.

b. You absolutely can outwork 98% of the competition in your sport. Granted, try as you might, there is likely no circumstance where you or I would dunk a basketball on Shaquille O’Neal, but for every Shaq, there’s a Julian Edelman. In other words, once you’ve committed to your craft, to really be successful you must put everything you have into it because that is what the elite caliber athletes do. That’s not just outworking guys on the practice field either. You outwork them in your diet, your sleep habit, your weekends, and every other aspect of your life. Few and far between are those born so athletically gifted that they can glide their way to the pros by doing only what is required.

Advice to others on whether to attend UC:
a. This is a good one. When choosing a school, I would say one thing that is often overlooked are the post-graduate companies that attend a particular University’s career fair. This can play a pretty significant role in where you land post-graduation. Facebook doesn’t recruit at UC so if that’s where you want to work, that would make it an additional challenge to be noticed in a crowded field of applicants. I love my alma mater and would biasedly tell all who ask to apply blindly. But at the core of this advice is to think about a plan b. Think about what happens if you get 12 concussions and professional sports are no longer on the table. That was a tough reality for me, but fortunately, I was already in a program that added great career value at a University that I loved.


Wow Dylan. I'm proud of you and your girlfriend (now your wife) that you made the decision even though you probably both knew it wouldn't be easy to have a child at such a young age while both attending UC. I have no idea if that was something you contemplated, but regardless, I wanted to say GREAT job! I'm honored that you took the time to share this personal story with me. I know this wasn't easy and you were forced to grow up fast as a young man and soon to be Dad. For those out there who think their situation is too much to deal with and want to give up, you give hope. You don't say it's easy, but you say if you could do it all again, you would! Did you and your wife Check Your Game? Absolutely! Thank you so much. Gary Rogers

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Kate Decker says:

Beautiful story and sound advice. Thank you for sharing Dylan Coombs and for providing this platform Gary Rogers.

Gary Rogers says:

Thanks Kate. I am appreciative of Dylan sharing this Check Your Game moment so that I can encourage others with it.

Patrick says:

As a young guy looking to start a family soon, this made me less worried about what I might lose and focus on what I will gain.

Gary Rogers says:

Patrick, I am so encouraged that Dylan’s story was able to encourage you to look at the bright side of having a family. Thanks Dylan for sharing with us! This is the whole purpose of sharing these stories in order to encourage others.

Hi Dylan! Thank you for sharing your story! I was a college athlete (swimmer) at the University of Arkansas. You are so right about the sport becoming a job–a paid position, one that consumes most of your time.

Your story opens a gift that most people never see. The gift of life, character, and the truth about the hard work–the heart work. For many, it is only about the sport, but for those who want to truly become the best at their “craft” they have to not just do more, but BE more.

I love that you poured into BEING you, so that you could show up to the demands, roles, and responsibilities with a strength like no other.

Character is always greater than sport. Thank you for sharing what a heart of a champion looks like!