Former Houston football coach trades current coordinator job to run a… Chick-Fil-A?

Most football coaches spend their whole lives chasing the opportunity to work at a big-time Division I program.

Tony Levine would rather run a .

Levine was once the head football coach at the University of Houston. From 2011 to 2014, he compiled a 21-17 record and led the program to an appearance in the BBVA Compass Bowl (a 41-24 loss to Vanderbilt).

After being let go in 2014, he spent the next 18 months out of college football. In 2016, he was hired as the special teams coordinator at Purdue by his friend Jeff Brohm, who was taking over as the program‘s head coach. This past January, the Boilermakers won their first bowl game since 2011.

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But Levine wanted to bring his wife (who was diagnosed with breast cancer last December) and their four children back to the Houston area and settle into a more comfortable lifestyle.

So, last Fall, Levine applied to become an owner/operator of a . Six weeks from now, his restaurant is scheduled to open in Missouri City, Texas. The site is just a few miles from the house he lived in (and never sold) when he coached the Cougars.

“The reasons when I was 23 years old that I wanted to get into coaching, the things that I’ve been passionate about for most of my life—developing people, team-building, identifying and recruiting talent, competing—while I had a love for those, I saw an opportunity with Chick-fil-A to become an owner/operator where a lot of those same things that I was passionate about I could keep doing, and the ability to stay in Houston was very important to my wife and I and our family as a whole,” Levine Sports Illustrated.

As for Levine‘s management style, he expects it to be a lot like his approach to coaching:

“We have to put together a team between 75 and 90 members to operate and run the restaurant,” Levine told Sports Illustrated. “I feel like that is going to be a lot like recruiting. I enjoyed identifying and recruiting talent, and I think absolutely there’s a lot of similarities in doing that. There’s a lot of meetings and decisions that have to be made.”

Sports Illustrated‘s full piece on Levine can be found .


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