Sideline story: Motley uses time away to explore entrepreneurship

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Junior offensive lineman Alex Motley was injured with a torn Achilles and was unable to play in any games during the 2018 football season. Off the field, Motley used his time to create the Youth Entrepreneurs Diversity Corporation. (Courtesy of Lehigh Sports)

Junior offensive lineman Alex Motley came to practice ready to prove himself as the starting right tackle for the defending Patriot League champions and for the 2018 football season.

Then snap.

During the initial conditioning drills, Motley tore his Achilles. Before he ever put his pads on, Motley’s season ended.

“I could feel a pop definitely, but I kept pushing because I thought it was just something I could deal with after, nothing too serious,” Motley said. “But when the trainer looked at it, he knew almost instantly (that) it was a torn Achilles.”

Motley was one of multiple players whose absence impacted the Mountain Hawks this season. The team finished 3-8 and saw its offensive regress, averaging 16.6 points per game compared to 35.8 the year prior.  

Despite the team’s struggles, Motley found himself taking on new roles off the field. Motley said he honed his leadership skills from the sideline while dealing with the struggles his injury presented, especially amongst his fellow offensive linemen.

“(Motley’s) leadership definitely became evident as the season went on,” sophomore guard Jackson Evans said. “He was especially helpful when linemen like Thomas (Zuewsky) and I were getting injured, he was the first one there to offer support.”

Off the field, Motley used his rehabilitation time to pursue his own initiative, the Youth Entrepreneurs Diversity Corporation. It is a small start-up company that Motley works with to grant students of all ethnicities entrepreneurship and networking opportunities.  

“I grew up in a family of business people, and entrepreneurship was a big thing,” Motley said. “So when my friend Brandon at Northeastern (University) told me about what he was doing, I knew I should get in on it and carry out something I’m passionate about.”

Motley serves as the head of strategic partnerships on a five-person executive board for the nonprofit. He is in charge of putting together large group events that take place at schools.

He recently organized the first Youth Entrepreneurs Diversity campus mixer tour that included stops in New York and Philadelphia, as well as the group’s first summit, where students from all over the country come to network and share their passions.  

Motley typically hosts one or two group phone meetings per week and works with speakers and venues as well. Motley said he has been passionate about it since he started on the board in 2017.

“It’s the kind of thing where I might stay in and work on this instead of going out with friends because I’m so interested in it,” Motley said.

Senior Thomas Zuewsky agrees.

“Alex (Motley) is super passionate about (Youth Entrepreneurs Diversity Corporation), but it’s funny because you might not know it because of how humble and down to earth he is,” Zuewsky said.

However, Motley said his number one priority is to get healthy and back on the field.  He has been doing extensive rehab with strength and conditioning coach Eric Markovcy to be prepared when he can start running again.

“My parents have obviously been so important in doing this but coach Markovcy has been so big too,” Motley said. “He keeps saying no one will recognize me when I’m back because I will be a machine.”

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