Mastering their education: Del Guidice, McCombs getting advanced degrees
Daniel Del Guidice and Layne McCombs know where they are going. Better yet, they know where they’re not going and have had the presence of mind to prepare for not going there.

McCombs, a linebacker from Naples, Fla., and Del Guidice, a defensive lineman from Clearwater, Fla., know they won’t be playing football at any next level but have put pieces in place to transition out of college into the work force. Injuries derailed any football plans either might have had and, smartly, both currently are working on master’s degrees in business and both jumped at the chance to continue their playing careers.

“I don’t have any plans of playing any more football after this year,’’ McCombs, who graduated in the spring with a double major (finance and business) and a minor in marketing, said. “I’m going to be starting a job, hopefully a straight transition to a job, in January, in the finance field. It will be either a job or an internship.’’

McCombs considers himself lucky that education was stressed alongside his football playing since his early teens and through his days at Naples High School. It was by his own design he has excelled in the classroom.

“Football got me to where I am,’’ he said. “Without football, I wouldn’t have been at a prestigious private institution like JU. I have taken pride in my academics from early in my career with the help of teachers and other students from the past on the importance of getting a good education.’’

Those mentoring teachers and students of whom he speaks got their message across.

“Some people have potential to play college and some don’t have that opportunity,’’ he said. “Those who don’t have that opportunity have to have something to fall back on after high school. A lot of kids get carried away and don’t focus on school and when the time comes they’ve lost the opportunity.’’

McCombs said he believes some introspection has been quite useful for him and offers that as advice for kids who will follow his football playing footsteps.

“It’s very important to look at the long run for yourself and not just the best short term benefits; knowing that down the road the end’s going to come fast and it’s very important that if you’re given the opportunity to get a very good education, jump on that,’’ he said.

Elbow injuries altered any professional football plans Del Guidice, who graduated in the summer with degrees in international business and business management, might have had.

The road he chose was difficult but appears it will be worth the effort.

“Undergraduate work is difficult enough for a lot of people and it’s pretty hard to get two majors so it was a little difficult balancing two majors and football,’’ he said. “But, we managed to get through it.’’

As with his teammate, Del Guidice figured out early that education is the key.

“Education is very important,’’ Del Guidice, who is the first to graduate from college in his family, said. “As a high school student you have aspirations to make it to the next level and sometimes there are realities that set in place. For me, injuries played into it and that set me back as far as my playing but it actually excelled my education and that’s when I realized there was a path for people after football.’’

His “after football’’ not only includes working in finance or international business, but he would like to continue to pursue a clothing line, Red Rum Clothing, he has started and of which he is the founder. His advice to upcoming players is straightforward and succinct

“The big thing is to have persistence and perseverance in anything that you do,’’ he said. “Obviously, try your hardest on the football field, but do not neglect the classroom because getting an education is first and foremost. Even if you are good enough to make it to the next level you never know when your last play is so you need something to fall back on.’’

- Jim Nasella