UC grad represents a stable of former Bearcats in the NFL
by Chip Reeves and John Bach
Dave Lee says he doesn't believe in serendipity.
A chance meeting with a Bearcat football player, however, changed his future forever.
As a freshman double-majoring in marketing and finance at the University of Cincinnati, Lee, Bus '01, wasn't too sure of his possible profession after graduation. But in an ordinary business class in '96, Lee saw UC football player DeJuan Gossett struggling with crutches and books after a preseason injury. Gossett, a 180-pound linebacker nursing a torn ACL, asked for help -- a simple request that sparked a friendship between the two.
That relationship grew. The two eventually roomed together through college, and it helped sculpt Lee's drive toward a career as a Chicago-based professional sports agent.
"That's how I got interested in football and the business side as well," Lee says, speaking of his friendship with Gossett, Bus '03, who would go on to become one of UC's best safeties and leading tacklers. "We were both in the business school, and from there I got this internship with a sports management company that had just started up. They were going to manage (quarterback and first-round draft pick) Akili Smith in Cincinnati. So that was a big deal."
Lee eventually facilitated Gossett's signing with the New York Giants when he went pro, but he also aided Gossett through their college years together. "I remember one time where we were up studying all night to make sure I would pass this class so I would be eligible," Gossett says. "It was a rough year. He was always a good influence."
And early in his career, Lee called Gossett many times to ask the pro football player's opinion on prospective NFL hopefuls. "In the initial stages there were times like that," Gossett says. "Now he's off and running."