Patriots Veteran Rob Ninkovich Inspires Nichols College Students

November 22, 2019

Dudley, Mass. – On Monday, October 21, Nichols College welcomed Rob Ninkovich, an 11-season NFL player and former New England Patriots member, who imparted words of wisdom and inspiration to the Nichols community. His appearance was arranged through a connection with Jim Brown ’87, president of commercial banking at Boston Private and a Nichols trustee.

During his time on campus, Ninkovich met with the Bison football team, a group of 10 sport management students, and an assembly of 200 members of the student body. He shared the story of his journey from community college student to starting player with Purdue University to two-time Super Bowl champion in the NFL. After leading the nation in sacks in community college, Ninkovich tirelessly pursued the head football coach at Purdue, calling him over 30 times, until the coach finally relented. He then had to convince the coach to let him play defense. Ninkovich urged Nichols students to believe in themselves, and that, once a goal is set, do not let anyone sway you from the path to achieve it. His secret to achieving success? Not hitting the snooze button and a whole lot of hard work.

After eight seasons with the New England Patriots – during which he won Super Bowls in the 2014 and 2016 seasons – Ninkovich retired in 2017. His final NFL game was Super Bowl LI, when the Patriots rallied from a 28-3 deficit to win in overtime, 34-28. Since then, he has transitioned to a career in sports media, working as a sideline reporter for WBZ-TV during the 2018 preseason, and co-hosting an NBC Sports Boston podcast. He currently serves as an NFL analyst for ESPN.

To the Nichols football team, Ninkovich stressed the importance of goal setting, asking players to write down their goals and live with no regrets. “Push yourself to achieve your goals; nothing feels better,” he said. Head Coach Dale Olmsted reflected on the time spent with his team: “Rob was very relatable to our players, especially when he talked about the struggles he faced coming out of high school…. Many people think that pro athletes get to where they are just on talent alone, but Rob drove home another point, that pro athletes are successful because of mental toughness and doing anything to achieve their goals.”

Select Nichols Sport Management students also had an exclusive opportunity to pepper Ninkovich with questions and learn about the importance of building relationships. Ninkovich encouraged students in this digital age to connect with people, pick up the phone, give someone a call, get outside their comfort zone, and attend a networking event. He said that no matter what path they take in sport management, the quality of their relationships will provide them with the best opportunities.

Toward the end of his visit, Ninkovich took photos with the Nichols students and presented a signed football to Nichols President Susan Engelkemeyer.

The Nichols College Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Sport Management prepares students to take on leadership positions in a growing and competitive field. The college offers – and requires – students to participate in a range of experiential learning opportunities. Examples of these immersive experiences include, the Super Bowl Practicum course, where 16 students will travel to Miami in February to work at the Super Bowl and the Sports Sales Practicum, where Nichols College has partnered with the Boston College Athletic department to provide hands on sales management training. Just last week students planned and executed a unified basketball tournament in support of Special Olympics Massachusetts. And, this year Sport Management students in the NC Sport TV practicum course have begun to produce a weekly TV broadcast that focuses on the Bison athletic teams.

Learn more about the Sport Management Program today.

About Nichols College

Within a supportive community, Nichols College transforms today’s students into tomorrow’s leaders through a dynamic, career-focused business and professional education.

Media Contacts

Denise Kelley