Former collegiate star, sports agent, and NFL Executive Michael Huyghue recounts his journey in professional sports and shows how race and racism operate among the rich and the white and extend way beyond the NFL and the world of sports executives.
With a deep, abiding love for sports, Huyghue chronicles his journey from childhood athletics to one of the highest-ranking black executives in the NFL. Huyghue reveals a bird's eye view of the inner workings of the exclusive inner sanctum of the NFL owners, players and management. The author's journey as an athlete and lawyer provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what goes on behind closed doors in the world of professional sports and collegiate athletic programs.
His story as a pioneer and a change agent is one of hope, triumph, setback and sheer perseverance that will resonate with any sports fan. It is a blueprint-marked by wry humor and without bitterness -- to successfully navigate the journey that remains for minorities to succeed as front office executives in the multibillion-dollar sports industry. It is also a not often told chronicle of growing up black and male in white suburban America.
While black athletes are ubiquitous on the playing field and front pages of tabloids, the challenge remains to gain true power in the multibillion-dollar sports industry. Huyghue details that struggle play by play.
About the Author
Michael Huyghue gained widespread prominence as the youngest and one of the first black general managers in professional football. He held a top leadership role in operations for the NFL owners and served as senior vice president for football operations of the start up NFL team Jacksonville Jaguars. (During the team's first five seasons he lead the club to more wins than any new franchise in the history of the NFL, including a remarkable two AFC Championship game appearances.) Huyghue's career also included stops at the Detroit Lions, the NFL Management Council and the NFL Players Association.
A lawyer by training, Huyghue lectures extensively on professional sports and sports law. He received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University, where he was a star football player and is a former member of the board of trustees. Huyghue earned his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School and is admitted to the bar in New York, New Jersey and Michigan.
"Michael is very unique in that he has strong leadership and business skills, yet totally understands football and in particular the coaches and players mentality. That unique blend of talent along with some real smarts made him a successful leader. He was not only a role model for minorities in the league but for all young front office people." —Jerry Glanville, former head coach of the Atlanta Falcons
"I enjoyed interacting and collaborating with Michael for many years -while he was with the NFL Management Council, the Detroit Lions and the Jacksonville Jaguars - and I always appreciated and valued his insights and observations - I am delighted that he has chosen to share his experiences and his thoughts in BEHIND THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE."—Amy Trask, author of Negotiate Like a Girl, ESPN anchor, and former CEO of the Oakland Raiders
"Michael is unique in that he combines brilliant knowledge of the sports industry along with integrity and a sense of identity. Even now he motivates me to want to do more in my life both professionally and off the course." —Jim Thorpe, PGA and Champions Tour winner
"Michael helped to guide not only my professional football career but my off the field life as well. He was not only my agent and business advisor but a close friend too." —Eric Crouch, former Heisman Trophy winner
"Michael and I have been strong friends for more than 30 years since we graduated from Michigan Law School together. As classmates we dreamed about starting our own sports agency but Michael truly stood out, landing a job at the NFL, and beginning a journey that is far from over. We have maintained our friendship ever since." —Bob Woodruff, former head anchor of ABC News
"Michael actually gave me my first job in the NFL front office with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He understood the importance of not only setting such a positive example for other minorities in the league but reaching out to help all along the way." —Doug Williams, Super Bowl winning quarterback of the Washington Redskins
"It was clear to me when I got involved in the UFL that if we were going to have any chance of success it was because of Michael's leadership. He understands the dynamics of organizing a professional football team and has the leadership skills to blend all of the personalities and egos of owners, coaches and players. He is a unique talent and a stand-up guy." —Jim Fassel, former head coach of the New York Giants
"Michael and I worked side by side during our time in the World League as general managers. We each attended Ivy League schools but entered the senior ranks of the NFL from two different perspectives, mine as a former player and his as an attorney. I have enjoyed watching Michael advance through the ranks of the NFL and have always considered him a good friend. His insights into the interworking's of and navigating through the NFL will be invaluable advice to those interested in careers in the professional sports industry."—Reggie Williams, former NFL All Pro Linebacker, Cincinnati City Councilman, NFL World League General Manager
"Michael signed me to an NFL contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars during their inaugural 1995 season. He was among the first black executives in charge of football operations in the League. He paved the way for other black executives and I was proud to see him in that leadership role."His book is an inspirational journey of facing the intersection of race and culture in professional sports and specifically the NFL."This is a must-read for anyone who ever wanted to be a fly on the wall to see, fully comprehend and appreciate the many challenges and obstacles that are unique to minorities in the workplace."—Desmond Howard, Former Heisman Trophy Winner and ESPN College Football Analyst