Open Accessibility Menu
Own A Franchise Gear Store

Game Onward: The Path of Pros from Field to Franchisee Jordan Gay

Author: D1 Training

Jordan Gay and family

Jordan Gay gets a kick out of character. The character words that adorn the walls of his D1 Training facility in Mooresvile, North Carolina are a big part of his professional story, and no doubt what helped direct him to D1 Training franchise ownership.

As a standout kicker for Centre College, a Division III football program, Gay lived and played by their motto to, “Pursue excellence with a vengeance.” He attributed much of his success to the coaching staff and faculty there, where he set seven school records. By the time he left in 2013, he was an All-American and three-time conference Special Teams Player of the Year, followed by the Southern Athletic Association’s first-team kicker, punter, and Special Teams Player of the Year. It was no surprise then, that the NFL would soon come calling.

man working out

He signed with the Carolina Panthers, and was also a member of the New York Giants, Buffalo Bills, and Tennessee Titans. In 2014, Gay was one of only two primary kickoff specialists in the league. When the time came to step off the field, like every athlete, he had to think about what came next. Here he was, a former college standout and NFL professional ball player, with a degree in finance and economics, and an entire life before him - off the field.

“There’s something that happens to an athlete when they go out onto the field, in front of a huge crowd,” said Gay. “There’s this feeling. I can’t describe it.” But he says when that feeling is gone, the search begins to find it.

Gay tried more than one business venture when he left the league and dabbled in real estate. He had never heard of D1 Training. Once he did learn about the D1 Training franchise opportunity, there was something about it that struck a chord. It was the mission, to inspire and motivate athletes to do their best.

man highfiving kid

Here was an opportunity to pass along the types of lessons that Gay himself received years earlier as a player, to help young athletes have those ‘on the field’ moments. As a D1 Training franchisee, manager, and coach, he could instill character-building values into the next generations of athletes. It was a fit.

As a part of the D1 Nation, Gay could envision teaching athletes about mental toughness. To Gay, that’s really what it means to be an athlete, not necessarily what you see on a highlight reel. “Those great moments, those videos,” he said, “that’s not sports.” Gay says sports is about consistency, discipline, showing up and practicing even when you don’t feel like it.

The first years as a franchisee weren’t as easy as Gay had envisioned. “I was naïve,” he said. “I ran it as a one man show.”

The primary aspect of franchise ownership versus starting up a business on your own, is that owners do not have to build their business alone. In fact, the D1 Training business model of today teaches owners to “hire and fire on our core values.” Owners are encouraged to hire a staff which includes a General Manager and recruiter, in addition to world-class coaches and staff.

Today, Gay’s D1 team consists of a GM, a recruiter, and twelve staff members. He is proud of the culture and team he has built and humbled by the impact they collectively make on their community, where they take each member’s experience to heart.

men running

“The thing that hurts the most is when people leave,” he said. “I tell the team it should hurt them too, that they should take it personally.” It’s that kind of commitment to membership retainment that is growing Gay’s business.

Thankfully, he believes the team at D1 Training Mooresville is now at the top of their game, where members stay, and play, and see results – and build character.

Today Gay lives in North Carolina with his wife, Meredith, and five children. He has found that feeling that he couldn’t describe earlier, after leaving the league as a pro player. He’s found it with his new team, his D1 Training Mooresville team, who meet each day on their D1 Training turf.