Eyes fixated on the TV. Family and friends all huddled around in silence waiting to hear whose name would be called. The moment represents years of blood, sweat, and tears poured out on the field. Every dream and goal was all built up to this moment. Tony Bouie watches the 1995 NFL Draft, waiting for his name to be called with anxious anticipation.
He wore the high school all-state badge proudly. He carried the acclaim of playing alongside one of the greatest college defenses in history. He even excelled academically. With everything an athlete needs to prove his worth, his fate was resting in the hands of the coaches on the other side of the screen.
Day 1 of the draft—nothing.
Day 2—still nothing.
The final day of the NFL draft came and went, and the name “Tony Bouie” was not called.
While heartbreak, confusion, and embarrassment washed over Tony, his spirit was not put out yet. His story didn’t end with a setback. His name was eventually stitched into the back of a Tampa Bay Buccaneer jersey and was worn for 57 season games. What did Tony Bouie possess that gave him the ability to eventually become a professional football player, an inventor, and a cancer survivor? Listen to the Tony Bouie story to find out.
Connect with Tony:
Tony Bouie is a former American college and professional American football who was a safety in the NFL for four seasons. He played college football for the University of Arizona and earned All-American honors. He then played professionally for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Bouie was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. While attending the University of Arizona, he was recognized as a consensus All-American and first-team All-Pac-10 selection at defensive back following his senior season in 1994—featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine. He also played for the Arizona Wildcats baseball team and was a member of the Wildcats' Pac-10 championship baseball teams in 1992 and 1993.
Bouie graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Arts degree in media arts. He was inducted into the University of Arizona Sports Hall of Fame in 2000, and his name is included among other Wildcats football greats in the Ring of Honor on the facade of Arizona Stadium.
He signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent in 1995 and played for the Buccaneers from 1995 to 1998. In four NFL seasons, he played in 57 regular-season games with the Buccaneers and started four of them.
Bouie began work on his first master's degree while playing for the Arizona Wildcats, and graduated from the University of Arizona with a Master of Arts in literacy and education in 1997. He graduated from Arizona State University's W. P. Carey School of Business with an MBA in 2005. While completing his MBA degree requirements, he wrote a business plan for the development of a stackable cup that dispenses with an attached lid. He raised capital for the manufacture and marketing of his idea, and is now the chief executive officer of Halo Cups, Inc., the distributor of the "SwoopCup."
He is a former board member of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the National Football League Players' Association. He used to be the vice president of the University of Arizona Maricopa County Black Alumni Association and was a national board member for the University of Arizona alumni association.
He is a cancer survivor, having been diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma in 2007. He underwent successful chemotherapy in the spring of 2008.
In each episode, Staci sits down with notable business leaders, influencers, and entrepreneurs to discuss how they have turned adversity into epic comeback stories that enabled them to build a life and business they love.