106: Terry McDonough: a man who overcame a series of adversities including a fatal car crash that ended a life. This set him on a path of destruction until he took a hard core pivot, became a NFL executive, and now is living a purposeful life.

Terry McDonough

Terry McDonough is in his seventh season with the Arizona Cardinals and sixth as Vice President of Player Personnel. In his current role with the Cardinals, Terry works alongside GM Steve Keim, overseeing both the college and pro personnel departments while assisting with player contract negotiations. He started his NFL career as an intern with the 49ers before taking a job with NFL Europe for the Barcelona Dragons. He became the youngest full time scout in the NFL at age 26 when he was hired to work with Bill Belichick and the Cleveland Browns. Terry is a proud husband and father of three children. His dad is a well known sportswriter and reporter and both of his brothers have successful careers in the professional sports industry.

On this episode of Finding Your Summit Podcast, we talk with Terry McDonough, a veteran NFL Scout and Executive, recovered alcoholic and dedicated father. Terry’s story is one of impact and authenticity. When his parents divorced at age 8 and his dad remarried a woman 17 years younger his life changed for the worst. His dad started a new family and Terry became angry and insecure leading to feeling of loneliness and fear. He masked his negative feelings with sports. To make things worse, Terry was involved in a very tragic car accident when he was just a junior in high school that led to the death of well known and well liked young lady.  After spending 7 months in jail, he was released and later went to college where he began drinking alcohol and taking pills to mask the pain. He found sobriety when he left college and started his career and family. His troubles weren’t over just yet. Listen in to hear how Terry went through hell and back and faced his fears in order to become the sober, loving father and executive that he is today!

 

What You Will Learn:

Terry talks about the severe trauma he experienced as a child when his parents divorced and later when his reckless driving led to the death of a high school friend. He recalls the tremendous impact it had on him when his aunt gave up her career in a convent in Japan to come back to the United States to raise him and his brothers.Terry recalls he masked deep feelings of anger, insecurity and loneliness with sports.

Terry shares about his college years at UMass where he battled an inferiority complex, PTSD and anxiety. He began using alcohol and drugs to mask his feelings, and he became addicted. Terry was able to get and remain sober for 7 years after college as he began to work for the NFL and start a family.

Terry’s career in the NFL skyrocketed. First an internship with 49ers then a job in the NFL Europe league with the Barcelona Dragons. Finally he became a full time scout for the Cleveland Browns under Bill Belichick at age 26. Eventually this season of success came to a halt when Terry faced another valley of pain and tragedy after a relapse.

Terry’s relapse began because he had never actually forgiven himself or dealt with his childhood pain. He finally hit a point where his addiction was exposed and his job was on the line, and he considered suicide for the first time in his life. After hitting his knees in prayer, the owner of the Baltimore Ravens, Art Modell, gave him one chance to get it right! And right he did! Terry went to treatment, kept his job has been sober and employed as an Executive in the NFL for the last 21 years.

When discussing his roadmap moving forward Terry discusses the importance of legacy. His children were and are his inspiration. He wanted to be the father he never had, and he’s proud today because he has been! He has a Daughter with cerebral palsy and autism, a son that works for the Baltimore Ravens and another son that plays in the MLS. This year, Terry will be moving to Charlotte, NC to live with his daughter and wife and work from there to do scouting for the Cardinals.

Facing your fears on the mountain slope:

When your climbing tall mountain peaks you can barely breathe and it’s freezing. Your mind, body and soul will telling you to quit. This is the same type of suffocating feelings/thoughts that plagued Terry McDonough for most of his life. He battled neglect, fear, trauma, suicidal thoughts, depression, and shame. He faced death, jail and a life-controlling addiction. Him and his wife are parenting a child with autism and cerebral palsy. How has he done all this while raising his kids with love and leading an NFL franchise? Why didn’t he give up when he was climbing up the mountain and the odds were stacked against him?

Living Life on top of the mountain everyday:

At a young age, Terry’s dad told him he’d be an NFL scout…little did he know what struggles his son would have to go through to get there. The truth is, if you can climb a mountain peak, you can get through anything in life! Terry is someone that has stepped into his fear and faced it head on. This didn’t happen overnight, instead it took time and pain. Now, everyday he is on top of the mountain. His strength comes from his authenticity and transparency, and his authenticity is what has allowed him to heal! Today, countless others are impacted by Terry’s story, and people from all over the country message him to share how his story has inspired them to face their own fears and live a life of strength and authenticity.

Links to Additional Resources:

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