Center for Sport’s Eric Beverly uses sport to foster individuals’ growth

Bella Baff, Sports Editor

Recent events in professional sports have illustrated that athletics are not only vehicles of competition and sources of entertainment, but a phenomenon that unites people across the globe. Sports are media of influence that provides opportunities for individual and societal growth.

As director of operations of Tulane’s Center for Sport, Eric Beverly helps individuals, including former professional athletes and military veterans, channel the unique power of sports. Through enhancing their engagement with Tulane, he ultimately strives to bring their academic and athletic excellence into local and national landscapes.

Having served similar roles working with student-athletes at the University of Texas and the University of Georgia before coming to Tulane in 2017, Beverly was initially attracted to New Orleans’s unique culture as well as the mission and leaders of Tulane’s Center for Sport. 

“The vision that they have for supporting and advancing areas of the sport industry and utilizing sport as a mechanism to enhance professional development around research in clinical services, research, community engagement and education really struck a chord with me,” Beverly said.

Beverly played in the NFL for 10 years as a guard and center for the Detroit Lions and a tight end for the Atlanta Falcons. For him, sports are an opportunity to learn from individuals of different backgrounds and gain skills such as goal-setting, teamwork and resilience.

One of Beverly’s major career aims has been dispelling stereotypes, especially those associated with athletes. 

“I always have approached my life where, you know, I’m not just a football player. I’m not just a Black male,” Beverly said. “I’m Eric and Eric comes with all types of experiences.” As a “magnet” that brings people together, sports enable people to learn from each other in order to make better decisions in the future.

Beverly notes that the ability of sports to break down social barriers is at the forefront of the current political climate. “I think sport has, over the years, played a huge part in creating change and you’re seeing that right now with some of the activism that’s going on, which I’m very excited about and I think it is creating awareness that will have an opportunity to create change.”

One of Beverly’s greatest inspirations as an athlete is Muhammad Ali, who was equally famous throughout his boxing career for his fights for civil rights outside of the ring.

Beverly advises young professionals looking for careers in the sports industry to simply think outside the box. Rather than solely focusing on glamorous careers like becoming the general manager or coach of a professional team, he encourages his clients to consider careers in sports marketing and data analytics, and to leverage their athletic platform during networking opportunities.

The common thread uniting Beverly’s careers as a professional athlete and as director of operations of the Center for Sport is harnessing sports’ power as a platform, both for personal and professional growth and for driving social change. As 2020 drags on and we get closer to November elections, this platform could become more important than ever.

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