Los Angeles, Calif.
Kevin Anderson is more than “just a football player.” He’s also as aspiring businessman, a community leader and a father – he even admits to singing in the shower.
“I am more than just football. I want to have my hands in everything,” he said.
Anderson, a senior from Los Angeles, inherited his entrepreneurial spirit from his father at a young age. “Growing up, my father was an entrepreneur. He didn’t get his degree, but he always managed to provide,” said Anderson. “I’m a junior, so I’m sort of the better, improved version of my father. I kind of wanted to do something similar, but the right way. He actually opened a candy store… nothing but athletics and color-coordinated (items). I want to do something similar, but for the younger adults… a free space for events that brings people together in a positive way. I’m a simple guy, so anything to help others is what I want to do,” he explained.
He has already started down that path by hosting a community open mic night at The Looking Glass, a coffee shop and lounge on Lindell Street, with fellow football teammates. “We needed something else… something positive. So we thought, ‘Ok, why don’t we do open mic?’ There’s an artistic feel on campus… so why not make that available coming from the athletes? … Since the student body supports us, let’s support them,” he said. Anderson will be the event emcee and looks forward to creating a positive place for students and community members to relax, enjoy live music and, if the mood strikes them, grab the mic for themselves.
Coming to Tennessee from California was a major change in Anderson’s life, but he has enjoyed the small-town southern feel of the area. “Coming (to Martin) made me realize the simple things in life. Martin is a great place and has a great feel, so you really get that southern hospitality. It makes you feel comfortable once you get settled in,” he said.
Anderson transferred from Arizona State in 2013 after being recruited to the UT Martin football team by Bernard Riley, the defensive line coach at the time. “Growing up, I ran track and did the whole baseball thing, but football really just stuck with me,” he said. Anderson wears the #5 jersey and fills a receiver position on the Skyhawk team.
Anderson is scheduled to graduate this coming May with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies, and he wants to spend the time immediately afterward catching up with his daughter, who will be five years old in April.
“Leaving her was by far the hardest thing I had to do,” he said. “But I want a make an example for her; I want her to do anything she wants – to travel and to see the world. A lot of people don’t make it out of Los Angeles. … I want her to branch out and discover the world. It’s not just L.A. As big as that place may seem, there’s a lot of world out there,” he said. “This is my kid and this is the world she will live in, and I’m going to make it the best possible.”
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