There’s a headline you don’t see every day.
Back in mid-January, Purdue announced that Tony Levine was stepping down from his multi-faceted posts of special teams coordinator/co-offensive coordinator/tight ends coach. The only reason given was that “Levine resigned to pursue opportunities outside of coaching.”
In a piece from Bruce Feldman of SI.com, we learned just what that specific opportunity was — as the owner/operator of a Chick-fil-A in a Houston suburb that will be opening next month.
“The reasons when I was 23 years old that I wanted to get into coaching,” Levine told Feldman, “the things that I’ve been passionate about for most of my life—developing people, team-building, identifying and recruiting talent, competing—while I had a love for those, I saw an opportunity with Chick-fil-A to become an owner/operator where a lot of those same things that I was passionate about I could keep doing, and the ability to stay in Houston was very important to my wife and I and our family as a whole.”
Levine was an assistant coach at Houston from 2008-2011, then took over as the Cougars head coach when Kevin Sumlin left UH for the same job at Texas A&M in December of 2011. He went 20-17 from 2012-14, but was fired after posting a 7-5 record in what turned out to be his final season at the AAC school in 2014.
And, as it turns out, landing a Chick-fil-A franchise is kind of a prestigious deal. From Feldman’s piece:
Getting the opportunity to own a Chick-fil-A franchise, though, isn’t much easier than landing a five-star recruit. In 2016, the company had about 40,000 owner/operator applications, and less than 100 were selected, according to Carrie Kurlander, Chick-fil-A’s VP of External Communications.
“The selection process is rigorous,” she says. “We look for proven leaders with a heart for service, commitment to thoughtfully and strategically develop talent, while also having a desire to give back to their communities. Tony is all of the above. Our operator community is made up of professionals who come from an interesting and broad experience base. We have former Navy SEALs, Fortune 500 executives and even a winner from Shark Tank. Tony’s experience at the highest level of coaching makes him a compelling selection, and we are thrilled that he has chosen to spend the next chapter of his career in business with us.