UT exes offer direction, advice to current student-athletes
While former University of Texas student-athletes Beth Menuet, Alfred Jackson, Cynthia Shipper and Johnny Sutton each had different stories to tell during the annual Longhorn Career Day, they had a common opinion on the event.
As in if only the Athletics Dept. had such a night when they were winding up their careers at The University.
Each of the invited guests offered kudos to the creator of the annual Longhorn Career Day, Dr. Michael Sanders of the student services office.
And each of the alums congratulated those student-athletes in attendance for taking advantage of the opportunity.
They each reminded all on hand to employ the same aggressive, competitive spirit in their post-athletic careers that they have shown during their athletic careers.
"I was sure that I was going to be the center fielder for the Houston Astros," said U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, who was a member of the 1983 Baseball National Championship team and was the MVP of the NCAA Regional that year.
"I thought Roger Clemens and I would be retiring together," Sutton continued, garnering laughter from the crowd.
Instead, Sutton found himself working with an international law firm and was in the courtroom his first day on the job.
"I knew nothing," said Sutton. "And I was scared to death. Somebody who knew I played baseball at Texas asked me how I could be scared to death in the courtroom when I wasn't scared playing in the College World Series.
"I said, 'Easy. I knew I could hit a curve ball.'"
Menuet, a member of the National Championship Volleyball team in 1981, is the executive vice president of Academy Sports and Outdoors.
But she admitted it was a slow start to her post-volleyball career.
"I was in five fields in five years," Menuet began. "I was making between $13,000 and $18,000 per year and living on Diet Coke and popcorn."
But her perseverance paid off when Reebok brought her on board, doubling her salary. Menuet earned the Sales Representative of the Year award and was on her way, with a stop at Nike before the opportunity with Academy.
Alfred Jackson, a standout football player at UT (1974-78) who went on to an NFL career with the Atlanta Falcons, is a principal with Davis, Hamilton, Jackson and Associates in Houston.
"I had someone ask me if I wanted to get into the bond business," Jackson recalled his first days after leaving the NFL. "And I was thinking, 'Bail bonds?'"
Today, Jackson is a member of the National Association of Security Professionals.
Shipper, a journalism major and a standout tennis player during her matriculation at UT, joined Wilson Sporting Goods in 1984 and was recognized as the Jack Kramer Representative of the Year. Shipper has ascended to Wilson's national manager for their Hope brand and works in the Dallas office.
"I know how lucky all of us and all of you are to represent a great university," Shipper said. "And all of you will take the same pride in what you do after school and will continue to represent The University."
All four exes were pleased to be invited to the event because each one wants to continue to give back to UT.
"Texas gave me so much," said Sutton, who spoke to a pair of baseball players who came up afterwards. "Texas gave all of us so much when we were here and opened so many doors for us after we left. I was flattered to be asked to Longhorn Career Day, and I wouldn't have missed it.
"For all of us, it's important to give back."
This panel of alums was a new touch that Sanders added to the event this year.
Following the discussion, the student-athletes went to DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium's 9th floor suites and met with representatives of 35 firms on hand for Longhorn Career Day.