by Jim Gehman
Not chosen during the 1996 NFL Draft, he signed as a free agent with the Cincinnati Bengals, was moved to fullback, and placed on the practice squad. After eight weeks, he was claimed by Indianapolis, and would spend the next 11 seasons playing for the Colts, Carolina Panthers, St. Louis Rams, Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers.
Through it all, Hetherington kept one eye focused on the game, and the other on his post-playing days.
“My brother, Brian, was in finance (and) a lot of my buddies that I played football with at Yale went to Wall Street, so I thought that was my next step,” Hetherington said. “During my time in the NFL, I always paid attention to the market and did a few internships and did the (NFL Business Management and Entrepreneurship) executive programs at Harvard and Wharton (School of Business).
“When I retired in 2007, I wanted to get into finance, but I wasn’t sure really what type of finance I wanted to focus on, whether it be private wealth management or the hedge fund world or private equity. So, I ended up interviewing at a lot of the big banks and decided to join the group I’ve been with for the last 11 years, Evolution Capital. It was started by a gentleman named Michael Lerch, who I actually played football against in college. He went to Princeton.
“The transition from pro athlete to the real world is pretty difficult. I’d been out of school for 12 years at the time, and the key for me was to find the team of likeminded individuals with a good culture. I was very, very fortunate to find that.”
Hetherington has held many senior management roles with the Evolution Financial Group, and is now a managing director. Based in Santa Monica, California, he has been in the position since November 2015.
“I really like the group I work with, my firm. It’s a great culture. The markets have changed a lot and it seems as though we’re able to adapt to change, which is great,” Hetherington said. “When you’re an athlete, you have that camaraderie and you can’t replace that when you retire from the NFL. Some guys are able to find professions that you’re able to do that, and luckily, I was able to find that at Evolution.
“My dad always taught me the value of hard work; I’ve always been a grinder and a hard worker. In football, I was always taking care of my body as good or better than anybody. I studied my plays as much or more than anybody. Do what it takes to become a pro. And so in my business career, I’ve done the same thing. I’m constantly trying to learn and improve my business I.Q. like I did in football, trying to improve my football I.Q. I read a lot. I meditate twice a day. I’m just trying to improve myself, which ends up helping me in my career.”