Published on November 8th, 2019 | by Percy Crawford0
Kevin Olsen Perseveres Despite Early Life Trials and Tribulations
Kevin Olsen in search of perfect ending to turbulent times throughout his football career.
For most, perception is reality. However, you are perceived is typically how you go down being remembered throughout history. Olsen was a highly touted quarterback coming out of high school, but one quick internet search of, Kevin Olsen, who is the younger brother of Carolina Panthers future Hall of Fame tight end, Greg Olsen and the perception is that his checkered past and numerous run-ins with the law which led to him leaving several schools (on good terms), is how his story ended. However, there are those rare instances where the maturation process allows a person to persevere through their perception. Kevin has worked diligently to not erase his past but become a better man from it. Coaching in the high school ranks have helped him realize that his purpose is to perhaps save some teenager from making some of the same mistakes he has made. He also owns a passing academy that also puts him in the presence of youth athletes seeking not only football guidance but off the field guidance as well. Who better than someone who have seemingly been through it all to inform these potential prospects of the pros and cons of reckless immaturity than, Olsen? Turning a negative into a positive is the theme and despite his past, Olsen is determined to persevere through perception and continue to chase his football dreams. At just 25-years of age, time is still on his side.
During my recent conversation with, Kevin, he was openly honest about past mistakes, details what he feels would be the perfect ending for him and much more!
How is everything going?
Kevin Olsen: I’m doing pretty good, man. I’m still trying to play right now. I’m still trying to find somewhere to stick. Right now, I’m coaching the quarterbacks at a local high school. We are pretty good. It’s a big 4A high school. And I run my own business, training and trying to develop young quarterbacks; from high school to college. It’s in Cornelius which is a suburb of Charlotte. It’s all considered Charlotte. I’m engaged to, Lauren Cafiero. My fiancé is an amazing woman, man. So, things are going well.
When you’re evaluating talent, what are some of the things that you look for out of these young quarterbacks?
Kevin Olsen: I definitely look at the way they have about them and how they carry themselves. You get to the point… especially with younger quarterbacks where you’re talking about their footwork and arm strength. That will come in my opinion as they grow older. I tell all of my kids when they are young, your strength and that kind of stuff will come as you get older and just lifting at a certain age. So, I’m really just looking for their ways about them. On the sideline what are they doing? Do they cheer their guys on, when the defense comes off, are they the first ones there to congratulate them? That’s all stuff that you can instill in kids at a really young age, and that goes a really long ways with playing the quarterback position in general. The other positions, if they want to be that guy, that’s fine, but the quarterback position really have no choice, but to be that guy. The entire team has to believe in him on every play. That goes for youth league, rec league football, the high school kids that I have, it’s the same in college and the pros. If you don’t have a guy that everybody believes in because of his characteristics he has that has nothing to do with talent, nothing to do with throwing the ball, or how good his feet are, has nothing to do with all that. That’s the biggest attributes that quarterbacks can have in my opinion.
You have had one hell of a journey to get to where you are today. What keeps you grounded and motivated to still seek that opportunity and coach these players in a positive direction?
Kevin Olsen: Yeah, that’s a good question, it really comes down to… I never really got the opportunity to show what all I can do. I still have some left in the tank before I have to call it a career. I just love the game and I love being around it. I know I can play. And if that doesn’t happen, because we all know that there are plenty of good players who are better than me who are not on teams. So, if that’s the case, sometimes that’s just where the journey ends. It’s just not in the cards for some guys. And that’s why I’m trying to transition into a coaching career, which I have wanted to do since I was 6 or 7-years old. I knew that I was going to be a coach, I knew I wanted to coach. Like you said, it’s been a hell of a journey and I think that gives me even more credibility to what’s going on. I can literally tell guys what not to do because it happened to me. “I did this, and it sent me here, and there and to this school and then junior college and then it sent me back here.” You don’t want to do that. It’s not so much of a player telling me that I don’t know how it is and I don’t understand. No dude, I lived it. That was me. That doesn’t mean that coaches who haven’t been through my journey aren’t good coaches, I just think it makes me more relatable to these young kids because I was that young kid. Guys tried to help me, and I was young, immature and I ended up at junior college and spots I didn’t want to be in. if I can just help a couple of kids that I can guide who aren’t doing anything horribly wrong, but kind of need a little guidance. “Hey dude, if you don’t take care of X, Y and Z, they have no choice but to send you here or there.”
Your father was a legendary high school football coach in your hometown, your brother Christian went on to play quarterback at Notre Dame and obviously the success, Greg has had in the NFL, do you feel like some of your setbacks was due to the pressure of trying to live up to the Olsen last name or just you being immature?
Kevin Olsen: That’s a good question. I don’t think I ever really felt pressure. Football was always something that I chose to do. It was never something that was forced upon me or something I did half-heartedly. I was ready for that kind of stage when it came to football. When it came to football, there was no doubt about the talent or what I can do on the field. It was more of where I was at that point, still young, going to college and things happened that I wish I could take back. But now, at this point, I almost feel like I’m better for it, I’m better because of it and I could really connect and help with young minds trying to get into college. I definitely think I could see someone acting the same way as I was or doing some of the same things I did or different things but could send them off the track of their mission. When it comes to playing football, that’s easy, but making sure everything else is intact is important as well.
Do you feel like this is Chapter 2 in your life and if so, if this your redemption song so to speak?
Kevin Olsen: I don’t really think of it as redemption. Once I got by some of that immaturity, I had a lot of good things going. I’m really just looking to stay on that path. I think as I keep getting older and trying to get into this coaching deal if playing doesn’t work out, as I keep going in that direction there might be a little bit of redemption. There may be a little of, “You guys were wrong.” What people thought and what people said and how I was perceived just because of how the media put it out there. They were not really right. If you go to any of the places where I’ve been, nobody will tell you the stories that the media is telling, so I’m not really sure where they get that from. I’m more just trying to stay on the path of the things I have had going, continuing to build on that and trending in an upward angle.
What influence has, Greg, your father and Christian had on you to get you where you are today and leaving the past behind you?
Kevin Olsen: They have all been real instrumental. I have my brothers, like you mentioned earlier, one played quarterback at Notre Dame and I have Greg and between the both of them, they are really like my best friends; as well as my father. My brothers are 8 to 9 years older than me and we have a real good relationship. With everything that has happened, they have really helped me along the way. They have given great advice in different capacities and it’s helped out a lot. Since I’ve been in high school, they have given me great tips and guided me along the way. Looking back, I probably should’ve taken more advantage of it between both of my brothers and my dad than I did, but I found my way through a different direction and a different path. I’m well on my way now. They were definitely monumental during my upbringing from the time I was a freshman, and everybody knew I was going to be able to play; from then on. They have been instrumental on the field and off the field, so it’s been a really good mix between them all.
In a perfect world, how does this journey end for you?
Kevin Olsen: In a perfect world, to be honest, I really just want to move up in the ranks of coaching. I think my biggest aspiration is to be a division one head coach. I know that’s a long way down the road and I need to work my way up, but I think that that’s something that I’m more than capable of doing. I think that I can really relate to guys. Kind of like I said in the first couple of questions, I just think my experiences can really help in that direction. That’s my ultimate goal, to take the steps up, become a positions coach and then eventually work my way up in the D-1 ranks would be my perfect ending.
I love to put shine on my man, Luke Cervino because he really is a great guy and he has linked me with some amazing people. How do you know, Luke and what do you think of him as a person?
Kevin Olsen: Luke and I have been knowing each other and played sports with each other our whole lives. We grew up together. Our dads are good friends and we all still keep in touch. Luke and I talk frequently, and he is as good of a guy that there is; his whole family is.
I agree with every word. Hey man, I’m pulling for you, Kev. Keep doing your thing and best of luck to you, my man. Is there anything else you want to add?
Kevin Olsen: That’s it. I appreciate it, man. Thank you so much.
Be sure to check out, Kevin’s passing academy on Instagram @olsenpassingacademy