Daron Roberts

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Sports Leadership press conference 2014 at UT Austin with Daron Roberts, Bill Powers, Steve Patterson, Rod Hart (Photo by Marsha Miller)

Daron K. Roberts (born November 29, 1978 in Mt. Pleasant, Texas) is a former Harvard Law grad turned NFL coach. Currently, he is a university lecturer and founding director of the Center for Sports Leadership & Innovation ([1]) at the University of Texas.[1] He also serves as a lecturer in the Plan II Honors program where he teaches courses on sports leadership and innovation. His writings have appeared in the Houston Chronicle and Huffington Post[2] as well as Forbes and Fortune.[3] He has served as a guest analyst for ESPN's Longhorn Network. Previously, Roberts worked as a defensive quality control assistant for the Cleveland Browns (American football).

He has been featured in ESPN the Magazine, Businessweek and Sports Illustrated.[4][5][6] Previously, Roberts was a corners coach with West Virginia University and was an assistant secondary coach with the Detroit Lions.[7] He served as the defensive quality control assistant for the Kansas City Chiefs after graduating from Harvard Law School[8] and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where he was named one of the school's 75 Most Fascinating Alumni.[9][10] He is a member of the inaugural class of the Presidential Leadership Scholars Program, a partnership between Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.[11]

Roberts speaks on topics of sports leadership, organizational management and transition strategy.

Early Years[edit]

Daron Roberts was born in Longview, Texas on November 29, 1978. He is a fifth-generation East Texan. His family moved to Mount Pleasant, Texas when Roberts was five years old and he attended Mount Pleasant Independent School District public schools before graduating from Mount Pleasant High School in 1997. As a member of the varsity football team, Roberts earned 1st Team All-District Honors as a strong safety in 1996. During high school, Roberts served as class president all four years.

College Years[edit]

Roberts attended the University of Texas and double majored in the Plan II Honors Program and Government while being an active member of the Texas Cowboys.[12] During his senior year, Roberts won the student government presidency of the largest student body in the United States. After graduating in 2001, Roberts deferred entrance to the Harvard Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and worked as an intern for Senator Joseph I. Lieberman and Lt. Governor Bill Ratliff before attending the Harvard Kennedy School beginning in the fall of in 2004[13] After graduating with a Master in Public Policy, Roberts entered Harvard Law School. During the summer before his third year, Roberts volunteered at the Steve Spurrier Football Camp at the University of South Carolina.[8] That experience prompted Roberts to pursue a football coaching job. He returned to Harvard and wrote 164 letters seeking an internship. After writing letters to the head coach and defensive coordinator of every NFL franchise and 50 FBS teams, Roberts received an offer to serve as a training camp intern with the Kansas City Chiefs.[14]

Coaching career[edit]

Impressed by his enthusiasm and people skills, Chief's coach Herman Edwards allowed Roberts to volunteer for the 2007 season before hiring him as a defensive quality control assistant in 2008. He assisted the defensive backs coach with off the field matters while in Kansas City. In 2009, Roberts left the Chiefs to work as an assistant to the secondary coach with the Detroit Lions; his duties included editing film and administrative tasks. Although his NFL work did not involve coaching, he learned from the coaches he assisted and became more determined to become part of the coaching fraternity. In 2011, Roberts realized his dream, leaving his position with the Detroit Lions to become a special teams and inside receivers coach at West Virginia University. For the 2012 season, Roberts was the Mountaineers' cornerbacks coach.[15]

4th and 1[edit]

In 2010, Roberts founded 4th and 1,[16] LLC - a nonprofit that provides free ACT prep, football skills training and life skills development to high school students in Texas and Michigan. The first 4th and 1 Football Camp was offered at Northeast Texas Community College in Mount Pleasant, Texas[17] A select group of 35 student-athletes were chosen from four East Texas counties. Former Longhorn stars, Derrick Johnson and Ahmad Brooks visited the camp. 4th and 1 held camps at Michigan State (East Lansing) and Mount Pleasant, Texas in 2011 and 2012. For his efforts the University of Texas awarded him the 2011 Outstanding Young Texas "Ex"[18]

References[edit]