Tommy Sims is the Executive Vice President of Football Operations for Allegiant Athletic Agency in Knoxville, Tenn. He is also an NFLPA Certified Contract Advisor, where he is responsible for the recruitment and representation of football clients. A graduate of the University of Tennessee, Tommy was a four-year starter at defensive back and was selected as Co-Captain of the 1985 SEC Championship Team and 1986 Sugar Bowl Championship Team. Below is a Q&A with Tommy. Connect with him on Twitter.
1) You had over 20-plus years of experience in medical sales. What motivated you to transition to work in athlete representation with a3?
I really enjoyed my career in medical sales. I had great relationships with my doctors and supporting staff. The idea of selling medical products that helped improved patient care and life expectancy was very rewarding. I negotiated major product deals with cath labs, surgical and radiology depts. I dealt with purchasing agents & hospital COOs on a daily basis. I decided to transition into representing athletes because it was a passion of mine. I coached two young men in little league football who went on to play in the NFL (Dan & Josh Bullock, twin brothers, former standout players at the University of Nebraska). They inspired me to get into the agency business and provide potential clients with my knowledge and passion.
2) How did you handle your first contract negotiation? As a follow-up, since then, how has your mindset changed heading into a negotiation session?
I negotiated my first client contract by myself (Jordan Babineaux, DB, former Seahawk & Titan). I soon realized that two heads are better than one. A team approach is more comprehensive and informative. When negotiating contracts with NFL teams, they use a TEAM approach (salary cap guy, GM, pro personnel, etc). I wanted to match their model in order to maximize the best deal for my player. Another set of ears and eyes may hear or see something different than I do during a contract negotiation.
3) What is the most challenge part of your job?
The most challenging part of being an agent is providing accurate information to my clients. Recruiting has been become so internet based, so I want to make sure I talk with my NFL contacts to gather facts about a player. Providing customer service is also important to me. My motto is to never “over promise and under delivery”.
4) What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
The most rewarding aspects in this business is to see the athletes’ dreams come true. Being a former player, I know how much time, energy and preparation has gone into becoming a professional athlete. It is a blessing and a privilege to play in the NFL!
5) How do you utilize social media, and especially twitter, in your role as a sports agent?
I’m not a big Facebook or Twitter guy when it comes to recruiting a player. I do use twitter to comment on my clients’ game performance.
6) In 100 words or less, what advice would you give to aspiring sports business professionals who want to work in the sports agency industry?
My advice to someone who aspires to be in the sports agency business would be to educate yourself on the CBA. Be authentic with NFL prospects and their families. Sell what you have to offer as an agent/agency and don’t focus on the negatives about a competing agent/agency. Be careful thinking that this business is all about the money — “the Jerry McGuire syndrome”. Being an agent is my “Ministry” so I take my fiduciary responsibility very seriously.