From the NFL to the OHS
By Josh Fernandes
After spending three years playing defensive tackle in the National Football League (NFL), Sean Hooey is giving back to the community via Oak Hall, by coaching the sport he loves. Hooey grew up in Litchfield, Mich., and started throwing around a football when he was little. He began playing competitively in the seventh grade, with his inspiration being his father, who played college football. Hooey played football for his high school, Litchfield High, but transferred during the second half of his junior year and finished his high school career at Hillsdale High School. During a playoff game his senior year, he suffered the first of two major injuries in his career, breaking his leg. Because of that injury, he now has a titanium rod in his left leg. After high school, Hooey played college football for the University of Cincinnati, while majoring in marketing.
While most NFL fans know players based off of the annual draft, Hooey’s journey to the NFL was achieved due to his determination and drive. In 2013, the Los Angeles Rams picked up Hooey from one of the team’s mini recruiting camps. Hooey said that one of the most memorable games of his entire football career was his very first NFL game. In 2015 he started playing for the New York Jets, and then the San Francisco 49ers.
One of the most rewarding parts of football for Hooey is “knowing that it was the dream of billions of kids to go play in the NFL,” he said. “If you really want to be good, if you really want to be successful, your heart has to be in it 100 percent,” he continued. Hooey stated that one of his most memorable memories was “getting to know the guys and all of the laughs”. He says that his high school coach football coach, Marc Lemerand, and his offensive line coach for the Rams, Paul Boudreau, are just two people that inspired him to become a better player.
Hooey now works at Oak Hall as a Development Associate, where he is part of the advancement team. He helps fundraise, coordinate various events, and works with alumni relations. He found the job after “a [middle school] coaching position for football caught my eye,” he said, which led to his discovery of the development associate position.
As for his coaching career at Oak Hall, the Middle School team had a winning record this year, going 4-3. “I hope they learned the meaning of a good football player is more than winning,” he said. Lessons on the football field included leadership, hard work, ownership, encouragement, and attention to detail. While Hooey wouldn’t make coaching football his ultimate career goal, he did enjoy seeing the athletes succeed, “Whether it’s in a single drill, a good practice, or a winning game,” he noted.
Photos courtesy of Sean Hooey