NFL player agent Deryk Gilmore has been around the game of football for a very long time!

After spending over 20 years in college athletics with the Big 10 and Pac 10 as a player, coach and administrator, Deryk Gilmore left the team side to become a sports agent.

Gilmore was certified as an agent in 2005 with Priority Sports and over the last 12 years has become one of the top agents in the industry according to Forbes Magazine.

Gilmore started his company, Day1 this year, with the vision of taking his goals and values on how to help players and make that dream a reality.
Gilmore sat down with The Source Magazine and gave his recipe for success.

The Source: How did you get in the Sports and Entertainment business.
Deryk Gilmore: Growing up in NYC professional sports was big and college was secondary. When Penn State was recruiting me out of HS, it was a huge deal where I was from. We won a National Championship and I went into coaching after that spending several years with Illinois and Oregon where I handled all aspects of the business side of football. When people heard I was leaving coaching I was recruited heavily and had an opportunity to not only join a quality firm but work from home and be active in my sons lives who were 5 and 6 at the time. In my first year as a sports agent I had a top 13 pick and 2 other high picks and have not looked back.

The Source: How difficult was it working for an agency to transitioning to your own firm. Deryk Gilmore: I was at church one Sunday and my Pastor Jentezen Franklin gave a sermon about one of the apostles in jail discouraged and how God wanted him to “get up, get out and get Free”! I felt God talking to me saying trust me I have blessings for you in you stay in faith. I talked with my partner and best friend my wife Camille and we decided to go for it. She was a driving force of support. My old company was great. They looked at it like a OC for a Super bowl team wanting to be a Head Coach. We were able to work out an agreement and I was blessed all of my clients choose to come with me. It is difficult because this business is competitive, cut throat, and crazy but I run my own race. My assistant is Smart and tough and I have a great team around me.

The Source: As an agent, you’ve found many diamonds in the rough, come draft time like Elandon Roberts. As an agent, how joyous are you when you find guys like him and they become your clients?
Deryk Gilmore: When I’m recruiting a player I’m very different most agents from what I’ve heard. I watch their games and write them up myself. Most agents get reports from scouts and the internet but I make my own list. Elandon is a great example. A friend told me about him and I watched him all year. He just kept making plays but I would look at him next to his teammates and think he is too small. But every game I watched he showed up and I knew I didn’t care about his size. He loved football and showed up and if Guys love football and want to be great we will be a good fit. It sounds simple but there are players higher ranked, that don’t always love the game. When you find guys that do grab em. The people around them tell you a lot too. Elandon’s family is awesome as are All of my players so the Joy comes on Sundays watching them play.

The Source: Tell me more about your agency? Is it strictly managing from a contractual perspective? What else is involved?
Deryk Gilmore: One of the reasons I got into the agent industry was to impact young men’s lives which is why I created PLAN (Preparing for Life After football Now) but I realized that guys who made more money than most had security but did not own anything. My new company handles all the basics. Our Director of Client Services is an MBA and has connections in all the big cities. Of course we handle player contracts, Marketing, public relations, camps and clinics and relocation but what makes us different is we are pushing for entrepreneurship and have a board to assist them with that transition of some of the top business people. We want to connect them with wealth and teach them the importance of ownership and being involved in your business not turning it over to someone where people are taken advantage of and lose money. It’s one of the reasons I started my own company to show players that they can be more than the employee they can be the owner.

The Source: What’s the best advice that anyone ever gave you?
Deryk Gilmore: Two things! First, my boss once told me that a good referee will go unnoticed. They get to ref the SB but you don’t know who they are. The only time you hear about the ref is when they blow a call. What that meant is do your job! Focus on being great at your job and everything else will take care of itself. Don’t look for credit and accolades do your job. In sports people come to see my clients not me so I try to always keep the attention on them and let everyone know how good they are. Second my wife lives by Maya Angelou quote “I might not remember what people say but I’ll always remember how people made me feel”! I want all my clients to feel like they are the most important person and that I’m always there for them. God, family and football and my clients are my family. They come to my house and I go to there’s and I’m gonna fight to the end for them like I would my sons.