Passion and persistence—one student’s road to working in the NFL


Brian Hayes

Tommy Rudawsky, sophomore, is a sports management major that will be networking at the NFL combine. Rudawsky creates football scouting reports, he hopes to become a football scout. (Jan. 20, 2017)

For most college students, free time means a Netflix binge or relaxing with friends.  For sophomore sports management major Tommy Rudawsky, it means studying college football.

Rudawsky, a manager for the WSU men’s basketball team, has high aspirations for his future in sports.

“I want to eventually be a football scout or work in player personnel and then hopefully work my way up and become a general manager of an NFL franchise,” Rudawsky said.

This March, Rudawsky will have the opportunity to attend the 2017 NFL Combine and its corresponding career conference.  He is eagerly awaiting the chance to take in the Combine and make connections with influential people.

“Every scout, every coach, every general manager in the league is going to be there, so it’s a great opportunity to shake some hands and meet some people,” he said.

Rudawsky said he knew his calling from a young age, and selected Wichita State as his top college choice when he was in sixth grade.

“I’ve known I wanted to go to WSU since middle school,” Rudawsky said.

Rudawsky developed a strong relationship with Gregg Marshall, and was offered a spot as a manager. Rudawksy said the hands-on training he has received with the basketball team has been invaluable.

“I think just being a part of it all is great experience for me considering what I want to go into. Seeing how that operation works from the top to the bottom – it’s good to get a glimpse of that before I go into my profession one day,” Rudawksy said.

While Rudawsky is an important member of the tightknit basketball family, his long-term ambitions do not lie with the sport.  Football is his true passion, despite the fact that has never played a down in his life.

“I just love everything about the game,” Rudawsky said.

Last summer, Rudawsky used connections he had forged over time to earn a position as an intern for the Jacksonville Florida Sharks, an Arena Football League franchise.

“I realize that I’m at a disadvantage because we don’t have a football program at WSU,” Rudawsky said. “I intern in the summer so that when I get out of college, my resume will show that I have the experience I need.”

Rudawsky attributes his ability to make connections to his online presence.

“My persistence with emailing and LinkedIn has really paid off for me. I just find the right people to reach out to and it eventually pays off.”

Persistence truly embodies his path to success.

“My future is number one in my priorities,” Rudawsky said, “I think about it every day – 365 days a year I’m trying to network and meet with people.”

For the same reason, Rudawsky submits detailed player reports to professional scouts on a regular basis.

“I want feedback from people who are doing it now so I can refine my skills. I have a deep desire to be successful, and I’ll do anything I can to reach that,” he said.