Sports Agent Interview:
with Paul Schackman
Harold Lewis was a scholarship baseball player at the University of Tampa (a close neighbor to BCS hopeful, South Florida). He was a free agent signee by the New York Mets in 1979. Since 1982, he has been the President of National Sports Agency.
Paul Schackman: How did you get started in this industry?
Harold Lewis: Totally by accident, I started helping out some friends who were released and couldn’t get in contact with their agents. From there I was referred to players and just got lucky.
Paul Schackman: Did you attend law school or grad school? If so, which law school or grad school?
Harold Lewis: I didn’t attend either, I went to University of Tampa for my undergraduate on baseball scholarship.
Paul Schackman: Who was your first client (year, sport), and how did you recruit him?
Harold Lewis: The first players I assisted in regards to their contracts were Chris Combs and Carl Allen. Stump Mitchell was also one of my first clients and to this day is still a client. I just re-negotiated a very strong contract for him as the running backs coach of the Seattle Seahawks.
Paul Schackman: How did you handle your first contract negotiation?
Harold Lewis: My goal in negotiating my first contract was to just get my client a job. I was able to get multiple teams involved which gave me the leverage needed to get the biggest signing bonus possible, and creating a structure more advantageous for my client than the team.
Paul Schackman: At what age do you feel an agent with hit his prime/glory years? Why?
Harold Lewis: I don’t believe it has anything to do with age. You are always learning new techniques and you must be able to think outside the box. But success comes with experience, building great relationships, and a great name with the players you represent.
Paul Schackman: What is your opinion of “larger” agencies with less attention to their clients compared to “smaller” agencies who counsel more with their clients?
Harold Lewis: I really think there are positives of both. It all depends on what the athlete is looking for. I believe an ideal situation would be an agency big enough that it has the experience and respect needed, but also small enough to make you feel special. This is a personal service business, from their playing day to when they retire and thereafter.
Paul Schackman: Take our readers through a typical day in your life.
Harold Lewis: There really is no typical day, but if there were to be a model week it would look something like this: I would spend the weekdays contacting all the NFL teams to see how my players did, what injuries their team sustained, and to try and get my unsigned players signed due to injuries throughout the league. Saturday I would be traveling to games and visiting clients on the visiting team. On Sunday I would go to the game and visit with those players on the home team. Monday I would go to the Monday night game if it was near by.
Paul Schackman: What advice do you have for people looking to break into the industry?
Harold Lewis: I think it is very important to further your education in the business, whether it’s law school, an MBA, or a masters degree. Aside from an education, internships are a great way to show that you bring value to an agency.
Paul Schackman: Does your agency provide internships for people looking to break
into the industry?
Harold Lewis: Yes, but there is no limit to the number of interns we have throughout the year.
Paul Schackman: On behalf of SportsAgentBlog.com and all of our readers, I would like to thank Harold Lewis for sharing his knowledge and experiences with us today. You can check out his website at NATIONALSPORTSAGENCY.NET.