Counting bibs and cones for EUAFC has ultimately led David Hesse to Florida where he is now responsible for over 900 elite athletes.
|Degree Course||MA Psychology|
|Year of Graduation||1997|
Your time at the University
I chose the University of Edinburgh because it was regarded as Scotland’s best university and offered a breadth and depth in academics and athletics that few other universities could rival.
I got involved with the University Football club (EUAFC) in my first week as a Fresher, which went on to become an integral part of my university experience. Highlights include supporting the 1st team win BUSA in 1994, being part of the team in 1996 that won the Scottish University Championships, and helping the team get promoted to the top division of football in the East of Scotland.
Road trips with the team were always ‘interesting’. Probably my fondest memory was the team banter, and the incessant jabber of some of my team mates.
I became involved in the running of the sport clubs, taking on several committee- based roles for EUAFC and the Sports Union, and became Club Captain in my final year. I really didn’t appreciate it then, but these years were exceptionally important in developing skills, experience and passion in sports administration that have led me to follow a career in elite sport development.
There are certain places that will always be in my heart - the psychology atrium, Peffermill, George Square around May (as you were always torn between sleeping in the sun versus studying for exams), and of course Teviot Union.
In recent years I have returned for the Festival and despite all the razzmatazz of the Festival, stepping into the doorway at Teviot reminds of the days when we used to go to the notice boards to find out if you had been picked to play in the games for the University.
Tell us about your Experiences since leaving the University
After leaving Edinburgh, I had a choice between sport psychology or business psychology. I choose the latter based on the better job prospects at that time.
I completed an MSc in Organisational Psychology at University of Sheffield, before spending 8 years working in London as a management consultant with Ernst & Young and Capgemini. Towards the end of my time in big business I began to get disillusioned about my contribution and wanted to find a more fulfilling way of helping others be successful. This led me back to complete my MSc in Sport and Exercise Psychology at Loughborough University in 2007.
During my time as student again, I was fortune enough to get an opportunity to work in the US at IMG Academy as an intern. 10 weeks of very hard work, coaching elite athletes the basics of mental skills was a great grounding for me to become an applied sport psychologist.
I really didn’t appreciate it then, but these years were exceptionally important in developing skills, experience and passion in sports administration that have led me to follow a career in elite sport development.
In 2010 I was offered an opportunity to go to Bradenton, Florida to help run the Performance Institute at IMG Academy. My current role is the Director of Athletic and Personal Development, where I oversee 35 specialist staff in strength and conditioning, sport psychology, physiotherapy, nutrition and leadership for over 900 elite developmental athletes and professional athletes. We have some of the biggest names in tennis train here as well as athletes in the NFL, NBA, MLB and MLS.
My role is to help everything run smoothly and serve both my staff and the athletes in their daily activities. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, dropping off team strips to the laundry, pumping up balls, counting bibs and cones, selling tickets for a night out at Century 2000, fundraising, overseeing four teams, and managing expenses for EUAFC helped me understand the value of having a great team of people who care about what they do.
After working in sport in the USA for four years, I have a great respect for the power of networking and the role alumni play in promoting a university.
Therefore, my one piece of advice would be to keep in touch with your university network. Invest the time and energy to stay connected for many different reasons but at the very least to keep up the banter - I wish I had!