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Saturday, May 18, 2024

UF student heads up, co–founds sports managing agency

Darren Heitner walked around the Levin College of Law courtyard with a steady, confident pace Wednesday afternoon while his peers scrambled from class to class.

The laid-back gait of this 23-year-old, second-year UF law school student doesn't seem to match his executive lifestyle.

Heitner is CEO and co-founder of Dynasty Athlete Representation, a sports management agency catering to about 40 clients in sports and entertainment.

Heitner finds harmony in the chaos.

"I always have to have my phone and computer with me as much as possible," he said.

"The good thing about the business is you're not working 9 to 5 every day. The bad is that you might be working 24 hours straight at one point because you're working on a deal or you may need to get a player traded."

Heitner was featured in Young Money Magazine on Tuesday for his entrepreneurial success with Dynasty.

The Miami native said his passion for sports came from his father.

"I wanted to be a sports doctor for a long time, but then I realized I couldn't handle blood," he said with a laugh.

He said "being a sports agent would be a perfect path" because it combined sports and law.

Heitner always had an entrepreneurial edge. He began his own promotions company during his undergraduate years that would help to fund Dynasty in the beginning.

During an internship at Career Sports & Entertainment in Atlanta, he said he was thrown into the fire of client management. But he needed to separate himself from the crop.

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"After people saw 'Jerry Maguire,' it's like everyone wants to be Tom Cruise," he said.

So he started the Sports Agent Blog in 2005. The site turned into a networking tool for agents and athletes and received more than 3,000 hits a day. Its popularity sparked some new ideas.

"Let's not wait any longer," he said he told his partner at the time. "Let's not wait to get hired by another company. Let's just do it ourselves."

Dynasty was born in April 2007.

Heitner said his method for the agency was unorthodox because most agents start with one company and later start their own after building a clientele.

What started with one bowler client has expanded to include more than 40 clients and six independent contractors in divisions such as baseball, football and basketball. The entertainment division represents six models, two of whom are UF students.

Each semester, Heitner tries to hire one UF student intern and infuse them in the sports agent and management world. Heitner said he hopes to represent a few Gators athletes and build a strong base in Florida as the 2009 NFL and NBA drafts draw near.

After he graduates, he will spend 100 percent of his time with Dynasty from home. Although there isn't a lot of money right now, they're focused more on the long-run benefits.

"It's not about the success of or the amount of money that is made from Dynasty, it's about waking up and not having any regrets with anything that you do," he said.

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