Brad Fichtel

Trust Spotlights

Brad Fichtel


Because of their role in the offense, centers are often referred to as the ‘smartest guys on the field’ in football. And in Brad Fichtel’s case, the range of responsibility he had to display as a center served to help him excel in his career after the NFL as a coach and teacher.

Fichtel spent time with the Rams, Redskins Cowboys before a knee injury forced him to explore options away from the NFL. But for players leaving the league in the 90s, resources for finding a new career outside of the game were limited.

“We didn’t have anything like The Trust or career transition help,” Fichtel said. “I fell back on football because it was what I knew - It's what I did. I started substitute teaching and coaching high school football in Texas. That lead to a full-time teaching job, and I’ve been doing it ever since.”

Fichtel’s excellence in the field of education was recognized by the NFL Alumni Association in 2012 when he was a finalist for the “NFL Teacher of the Year”, an award given annually to former players who have gone into teaching following their time in the league. His on-field experience also helped opened doors to the coaching world, which Fichtel said was a natural transition for him.

“The people in the industry, some of them love the fact that you played football and want to lean on your for your knowledge,” Fichtel said. “Ultimately my playing experience opened a lot of doors, but as in any job, once you get it you have to perform and succeed. You can’t rest on the fact that you’re a football player.”

Despite the success he had already achieved in teaching, Fichtel wanted to continue to grow in his field. So, he took advantage of The Trust’s  Scholarship Award Benefit  to go back to school to get his Master’s degree. The scholarship benefit awards scholarship money to former NFL players to pursue degrees at educational organizations, vocational institutions and technical and professional licensing programs.

The people in the industry, some of them love the fact that you played football and want to lean on your for your knowledge.

“It allowed me to rejuvenate my career,” Fichtel said of going back to school. “It was energizing, and it’s going to open up some doors in the teaching world. In my field, the more educated you are, the more doors open for you. In my district they also gave me an extra stipend for having a Master’s, so it jumpstarted my career and gave me a little bit more motivation.”

Fichtel worked with The Trust and his AthLife Advisor to find the school that would be the best fit for him. He landed on Canisius College, and graduated with his Master of Science in Education degree in the Summer of 2016.

"Education seems to be a natural fit for many of our former players," said Qiana Thomas, former manager of The Trust's scholarship program. "The Scholarship Award Benefit is a great opportunity for former players to finish a degree or gain some expertise in a new field."

Fichtel’s experience is one that he believes other former players should take advantage of to boost their careers after the NFL.

“You have to utilize it, because it’s too easy not to pursue with all of the opportunities out there that The Trust gives us,” Fichtel said. “Your Program Manager walks you through all of the steps. I don’t see why anyone wouldn’t do it, take it as far as you can.”

I don’t see why anyone wouldn’t do it, take it as far as you can.

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