Senior Gridders Look To Life After Football


June 3, 2009

Brian Benio from the Lanta Group instructs some of the Illini seniors on how best to present themselves in corporate interview situations.

One might expect that the first week of June might be "down time" for the Fighting Illini football team, especially since the main summer school session at Illinois doesn't start for a couple of weeks. While a few squad members have been taking intersession classes, most of them enjoyed a couple of weeks away from campus after completing spring semester final exams.

Now everyone's back in town, and informal workouts are going strong. But not all of the players' efforts right now are geared toward a successful 2009 football season--at least not for the seniors. The young men who will soon suit up for their final campaign wearing the Orange and Blue are spending four afternoons this week to take a hard look at their long-term futures, with the help of a team from The Lanta Group out of Atlanta, Ga.

Lanta is a firm which not only specializes in human resources--matching up talented workers with corporations--but has recently branched out into training graduates and soon-to-be graduates with skills they'll need as they move from campus to the "real world."

Lanta's Sally Gumbles videotapes Donsay Hardeman and Rahkeem Smith as they interview each other.

"We have begun working with student-athletes at several universities, including Georgia, Florida, Ohio State and others," said Greg Malever, Lanta's President and CEO. These guys are obviously very competitive in athletics, and we're here to help them to be competitive as they enter the business world. Although all of them would love to play in the NFL, the fact is that the majority of them will not. So we want to equip them with interviewing, resume-writing and communication skills, and showing them how best to present themselves to clients and potential employers. We also cover such topics as financial management and how to conduct business research and make sales presentations."

"It's very important how people present themselves," said Sally Grumbles, one of Lanta's trainers. "This week, among other activities, we are videotaping these young men as they interview each other and make mock business presentations, and then we critique them. It's really helpful to be able to point out the areas that can use improvement."

Running back Daniel Dufrene particularly enjoyed the material on finances.

"They talked to us about protecting ourselves financially," he said. "I learned about liability insurance, for example. I'm also looking forward to tomorrow when we will be going over the videotapes of the interviews and presentations.

"The Lanta Group is doing a great job with our seniors," said Head Coach Ron Zook. The skills they're learning this week will help these guys for the rest of their lives."