“I founded NCSA in 2000 with a passion to help turn dreams into a reality and to get kids a college education through their passion for sports.”
Chris Krause on the roots of NCSA, the important advice he received early for taking time off, and how EO has changed his life from a personal and professional standpoint.
Full Name: Chris Krause
Company Name: NCSA Athletic Recruiting
Number of Years in Business: 15
What inspired you to start your current business?
I was a high school football player who fell through the cracks in the recruiting process. As a junior in high school, I received interest from more than 100 collegiate football programs—including Harvard and Notre Dame—but did not get any real offers. My problem was not that college coaches didn’t know who I was, but that I didn’t understand how the recruiting process worked.
After my senior football season, I found out that some of my friends at rival high schools were setting up official visits and receiving offers from some of the same programs that had contacted me. It was then that I took matters into my own hands and started reaching out to college coaches on my own. I called every coach who had sent me a letter and asked if they were still looking for linebackers. Some said they wished I had called them earlier, but I also found some schools that were still looking.
College coaches were impressed that I had been the one to call them directly, not my mom or dad, and that I asked a lot of questions and showed real interest. After I sent my video footage to the ones who requested it, I received offers to take official visits of college campuses.
In the end, my hard work paid off—I received and accepted a full scholarship to Vanderbilt University and graduated in four years.
Building on my experience in being recruited to play in the SEC, I began assisting student-athletes to get recruited and play in the college that was the best fit for them. I committed my life to not letting other student-athletes fall through the cracks like I almost did, and like many of my high school teammates did. I founded NCSA in 2000 with a passion to help turn dreams into a reality and to get kids a college education through their passion for sports.
What problems are you solving through your business?
We solve two major difficulties in the world of athletics. We help student-athletes find scholarship opportunities and walk them through the very tricky recruiting process, which is our number one goal and focus. We also, however, do so by providing college coaches with a free and searchable digital database of thousands of qualified student-athletes to aid in their recruiting process, giving them exposure to thousands of student-athletes they would never know about given the limited budgets of programs across the country.
What do you believe is the key ingredient to your business’s success?
Our company culture. We were built on a set of core values that hasn’t wavered over our 15 years in business. Our number one core value is “team first” and we do so much to cultivate camaraderie and a team mentality in our office. We have a designated director of culture who plans events for the team, runs contests, and facilitates education and growth opportunities monthly for our employees. Our culture and our passion for helping student-athletes has driven our success. As an NCSA teammate, you know the people around you have your back, and it’s something I’m most proud of as founder.
How do you keep your business from getting stagnant?
The world of athletic recruiting is constantly changing and evolving. Between NCAA rules and regulations, new programs starting at a particular college, and so on, we really have no choice but to stay on our toes as a company. It’s a fast-paced, really exciting industry to be a part of.
What aspect of your company are you most excited about?
The fact that more than 90 percent of our 500-plus employees are former student-athletes, and are working everyday to give current student-athletes the experience of playing in college—something they were forever changed by and want to provide for other kids.
What is one practice that has been the key to your success and why?
Perhaps my best takeaway from EO was meeting Vern Harnish at a university more than 10 years ago. He told me to take a minimum of three weeks off every year to recharge the batteries and let leaders grown internally. It wasn’t an easy thing to do at first, but has turned out to be the best advice I’ve ever received from a personal and professional standpoint.
What is your business philosophy?
Have a vision, share it with the team, live your core values, recruit leaders, help them grow, and then get out of the way.
What inspires you outside of work?
My kids are my greatest joy and inspiration. I have an eight year-old son named Christopher, and a seven year-old daughter named Kai. Spending time with them, staying healthy and active for them, and watching them learn and grow is pretty much how I like to start and end every single day. There’s nothing like being a Dad. I’ve also developed a passion for surfing over the past 10 years, and recently moved to Manhattan Beach, California to raise my kids and surf everyday.
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
I worked morning, noon, and night for many, many years. To start to let go of the reigns and find a work/life balance with family and friends is a difficult thing to do, but it is something I learned is absolutely necessary. I’ve achieved it by putting trust in the people that occupy the leadership roles at the company, and by learning when to check-in, when to step-in, and when to just watch them fly.
Some small things I do on a daily basis to achieve work/life balance are make sure I get a good work out in, volunteer at school for Christopher and Kai, meditate, eat healthy, and cherish downtime and a good night’s sleep to do it all over again.
What else do you hope to accomplish either personally or professionally in the next five years?
Over the next five years, my professional focus is to not only continue to aid student-athletes in finding scholarships from high school to college, but to now to develop a program to get them from college into the job world. Student-athletes possess a skill set unique to any other graduate because of the lessons they’ve learned through playing their sport for four years while also earning a degree. Getting these young men and women jobs out of college is my dream to really bring NCSA full circle in our service to student-athletes.
How has EO contributed to your business’s growth and success?
EO has been invaluable to me both personally and professionally as an entrepreneur. My experiences in forum and the trust and experience share forum provides has been a huge reason for my success and has gotten me through many personal and professional ups and downs. Attending EO Universities has taken me all over the world, all while gaining knowledge I would have no way of learning anywhere else. I am forever indebted to EO for all that it has done for me in business, for the lifelong friendships it’s given me, and for the good it does for the world.