Football alumnus turns to business and charity
Published: Thursday, September 6, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 6, 2012 01:09
Big screen football, a $3,000 cornhole tournament and American Idol star David Cook are lined up to fight ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, this Saturday at the Curtis Hixon Park in an event sponsored by Irish 31, a South Tampa pub owned by former USF football player Jay Mize.
Mize, who sported a No. 31 jersey from 1997-2000, will be broadcasting the USF-Nevada game along with the UCF and FSU games on 150-square-foot LED screens.
The event, which costs $20 to enter, was organized by Mize, who hopes to organize more such charity events in the region.
The Oracle: What inspires you to host these events?
Jay Mize: Our plan is to have a handful of these types of events to benefit a local charity for the interest of the community. I try to pick charities that I sort of personally relate to and have some emotional interest in. I had a good friend that has ALS.
Our next charity, we’re looking forward to doing an event with the pediatric cancer foundation since my brother had cancer when he was a kid.
O: How did you go from playing football to hosting charity events?
JM: I played football at USF and I was a finance major. I’ve really been an entrepreneur from day one. I started in the finance world with a mortgage business and real estate development world, and for the last 12 years I’ve been starting and building businesses. That’s what I’ve done. I’ve made a career of it.
That’s one of your duties, as an entrepreneur. You want to be successful, but you want your business to have a positive impact on the community. That’s the duty of a community — to make sure that not just your household is successful, but that everybody around you is benefiting from you being a citizen.
O: Have you taken anything with you from your football days?
JM: There are a lot of things. The one thing that I use everyday is that you want to find something you’re passionate about. I was really passionate about football. That’s why I enjoyed it. That’s why I played it. I try to take that same passion I had for football and try to put it in my everyday life and business.
For example, for this event, it’s got a lot of things I’m passionate about. I love football and sports. I love music and creating something from scratch. I love seeing others benefit.
Those are all things I have a lot of passion for, and same thing with football. In college days, (you wonder) ‘What am I going to do? What career am I going to go into?’ My advice would be just pick something you’re passionate about. It all goes back to passion.
O: Do you still keep up with USF football?
JM: I’m very involved. I go to every home game, and I go to one or two road games a year. I’ve got a 7-year-old daughter who’s missed two home games in her entire life. I’ve got a 1-year-old son who, by the time he was six weeks old, had been to like four home games. It’s a family affair every Saturday there’s a home game.