Austin Lile, 2014 Foundation Academy Salutatorian, graduated last month with his Master of Science in Entrepreneurship from the University of Florida. He was #1 in Cohort, and received the 2018 Thomas S. Johnson Entrepreneurial Scholar Award. Prior to Austin receiving his Masters, he graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration, Concentration in Sports Management, and Minor in Entrepreneurship, also from the University of Florida.
Austin played football and baseball while at Foundation Academy, and he stayed involved with both sports while at UF. He was student manager for the UF Baseball team from 2014 – 2017, being a part of the team for their first national championship. Furthermore, Austin coached for the school’s Club Football Team and also a local i9 flag football team.
A natural entrepreneur, Austin started his own company while at UF. Aptly named Spartan Advising and Recruiting Network works with high school athletes to help them with college recruiting. From Austin, “we act as the guiding hand and voice of reason as we help parents and players find college opportunities that match their skill level, needs, and interests.”
We were thrilled to hear of Austin’s accomplishments and asked if he would share how Foundation Academy played a role in his success. Here is what he had to say:
How did FA prepare you for life after graduation?
While in school at Foundation Academy, I always interpreted the name “Foundation” quite literally. Understanding that the ground work you put in now sets you up for success in the future was something that I feel helped me through college. Whether it was studying for AP exams, working out with the football team, or volunteering with the different clubs at the school, everything I invested my time in translated into something later on down the road. So, surrounding myself with the best people possible and investing time in myself were two key elements in building that foundation for success in college and beyond.
What is one thing you learned from FA that still carries through today?
I often remember quotes from Coach Lord and Coach Fort since I’ve graduated. I know Coach Lord is known for saying, or yelling, a lot of things, but there’s one quote that really stands out. “It’s not how hard you can hit, but how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward” – Rocky Balboa. That quote really drove me through grueling practices and games out on the football field, but also prepared me for the rigors of college and starting my own business.
In school, I worked as a student manager for the UF Baseball team, which meant being the first one in and last to leave almost every day. We’d work upwards of 60, 70, and even more hours per week depending on the stage of the season. So, while some may have complained that they were working too much, or their school work was piling up, I always maintained the idea that every obstacle, or hit you take, just makes you stronger in the end.
Similar to that, Coach Fort always emphasized Coach Nick Saban’s motto of “Trust the Process.” I know many of us, including myself, want instant gratification for the hard work we put into doing something. However, life rarely works like that. It’s not necessarily the most motivated people who reach success, but the most diligent and disciplined. I’ve tried to apply this to my work ethic in all facets of life and would encourage current students to do the same.
What is one piece of advice you could give for current FA students?
I’d say there are two parts to this answer. For current students, I’d first tell them to “dream big.” Following your dreams and passions will open up doors and avenues you’ve never previously considered. The second part would be to learn to say “yes.” Leaving high school to go off to college can be a daunting task, especially if you don’t know anybody on the college campus. Saying “yes” to the activities, organizations, and people that present themselves to you can lead to some unforeseen benefits that will shape your college experience and your life. There are times to say “no” obviously, but learning to embrace new experiences and people can be the greatest thing you ever did. I ended up working with the greatest college baseball program in the country for three years after saying “yes” to a gruff voice over the telephone. Sometimes, saying “yes” is all you need to make your dreams come true.
Austin, thank you for you insight, and we wish you the best of luck with the next chapter in your life! We are so proud of you!