Author of I AM UNDERDOG
& Motivational Speaker
As an author and motivational speaker, Tony motivates, encourages, and inspires his audience through conversation and connections. Leadership in Sports and Academia, the Will to Win, and Making a Difference are a few of the topics you will hear throughout the messages he delivers across the country.
He is a frequent speaker at corporate and not-for-profit events, fundraising conferences, and athletic events targeted to a wide range of audiences. A natural communicator, Tony uplifts his audiences and guides them to a path of recognition – realizing they have the ability to move beyond personal, physical, and financial shortcomings and adversity in an effort to achieve goals and attain success.
From his earlier years as a standout collegiate and professional football player; to the premature death of his mother at the age of 47 from breast cancer; to his entry into the non-profit sector and the world of fundraising, Tony uses his own life story as an example of how one can overcome any challenge in front of them with grace and ultimately achieve greatness while living out dreams.
Tony always wanted to excel in football and had aspirations of playing in the NFL, but as a child, he was told that he would never make it because of his small stature. Despite the negativity, he went on to become one of the leading offensive and defensive players in the Pop Warner Little League and one of the best players in the state on his high school football team. Even with the discouragement of his many detractors about his ability to play on the collegiate level at the forefront of his mind, Tony pushed through it to become an ACC All-Conference and Honorable Mention All-American at the University of Virginia. He is most proud of attaining his Bachelor of Arts degree from such an esteemed university and in keeping with his will to win, he defied the critics who told him he would never excel at the professional level. He went on to prove his doubters wrong as a standout defensive back with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, being named to the NFL All-Rookie team his first year in the league. Tony enjoyed a five-year career with both the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Seattle Seahawks.
With that same determination, faith, and optimism that led him to boast major accomplishments as an NFL defensive back, Tony walks his audiences through the years of his professional football career and highlights the many life-altering lessons he learned along the way. He also discusses the many lessons he learned at the conclusion of his football career and throughout his transition into the corporate world, starting with the American Heart Association – all while managing and eventually overcoming many personal challenges and a different type of adversity.
What makes Tony such a dynamic and undeniable speaker is his ability to relate to his audience, as well as his genuine desire and passion to motivate his listeners to dig deep and find what will turn their dreams into realities. Whether he is teaching his listeners how to bridge the gap between action and commitment or showing the audience how to relate to the core of the Underdog Pledge, Tony’s passionate and inspirational message is sure to resonate with any audience.
Whether the room is filled with student athletes seeking advice and navigational tools; young professionals in need of motivation and guidance; corporate executives seeking to challenge those in the environment; women’s or men’s groups seeking direction; or those who are seeking inspiration in an effort to find purpose and meaning to his or her next steps, Tony will deliver a message to meet each person where they are.