Purdue’s special teams coordinator, Tony Levine, has decided to leave the coaching business to a start new venture — running a Chick-fil-A franchise in Houston. Levine was hired by Jeff Brohm in 2016, after he spent more than a year out of coaching. In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, Levine explained that at Chick-fil-A, he can get a lot of the same rewards he gets from coaching:
“I saw an opportunity with Chick-fil-A to become an owner/operator where a lot of those same things that I was passionate about I could keep doing, and the ability to stay in Houston was very important to my wife and I and our family as a whole.”
The seeds of Levine’s career change were sown about three years ago, after he had been let go following a 21–17 run over three years as the Cougars’ head coach. He spent the next 14 months out of coaching.
“I noticed a change in him,” says Levine’s wife, Erin. “Maybe it was perspective. He got a chance to be around home more and be around the kids more.”
A friend of Levine’s in Houston who owns multiple CFA franchises told him about the flexibility he has with a work/home balance.
Before his stint at Purdue last season, Levine was hired by Kevin Sumlin at Houston, where he coached special teams, as well as tight ends and receivers. After Sumlin took the Texas A&M job in December 2011, Levine was named the interim head coach, a title that was eventually removed. He was the head coach from 2011-14, leading the Cougs to a bowl win in 2011, and another appearance in the BVA Compass Bowl in 2013, a 41-24 loss to Vanderbilt.
Levine isn’t the first college football coach to start a business outside of football. Just last month, Kansas’ safeties coach Todd Bradford took a job in the oil industry. In 2014, former Iowa assistant Eric Johnson left the gridiron to open a Culver’s, another fast food restaurant.
Best of luck to Levine in his new business venture.