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 Advisory Council | Varsity Connects



Mark Hayes is the father of two Division One athletes and has a unique understanding of what it takes to be successful as a student athlete in college and professional sports.  But, Mark also understands the need for parents to understand how to communicate effectively with the student athlete to provide the much-needed support system every student athlete needs. Whether they are the top recruit or a preferred walk-on, they’ll need parental guidance as brand new challenges arise and parents need the tools to assist.

This past year, Mark was elated to launch “Varsity Connects”.  The goal is to help parents go from stuck and frustrated with their communication with their student-athletes to confident, well-connected parents so they can enjoy their childs' athletic pursuits as a family--and watch them grow and develop into mature young adults.

Mark Hayes | Varsity Connects
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Mark is an award-winning communications expert and a former Division One athlete himself.   Prior to launching his own communications firm, our CEO spent nearly three decades bringing news viewers in major cities across the country their news and information of the day.  Some of his stops include Dallas, Denver, Detroit and Baltimore. 

However, his proudest accomplishments came during his tenure in the great city of Atlanta, GA.  For more than a decade, Mark was a staple of early morning television on Good Day Atlanta.  He believes his most noteworthy achievement was the nearly 20 hours he spent on air during the murderous rampage at the Fulton County Courthouse, the shootings and the subsequent capture of Brian Nichols.  


Mark is a Tedx Speaker, a Silver Telly Award winner and after 2 Emmy nominations and highly coveted National recognition for spot news coverage from the National Press Photographers Association, Mark is now the President and CEO of his own media training and strategy company.  


Bridge the gap.

Varsity Connects helps parents bridge the gap that can seem cavernous as parents try to help steer their student-athletes toward success both on the field and in the game of life.


Malcolm is the co-founder of Varsity Connects and is responsible for social media production.  He will also engage in an advisory capacity for Parents looking for insight into the mindset of a professional athlete.  He is a graduate of the University of Maine & a certified personal fitness trainer.  He can assist with sport specific workout plans, nutrition and mindset for high performance. Malcolm is currently playing professional hockey pursuing his dream of playing in the NHL.

Malcolm Hayes |  | Varsity Connects
"Communication is your ticket to success, if you pay attention and learn to do it effectively.”


Bruce  Price is a former college basketball player at Gardner Webb University.  Coach Bruce has also been a youth basketball coach in Metro Atlanta for more than two decades.  He is also the founder of the Peak Performance  Girls Basketball  and Leadership Development Program, one of the premier programs with more than 145 young ladies that have gone on to play at the collegiate level.  Bruce spent nearly 30 years as a corporate sales executive and now works as a Luxury Home Design and Build Consultant.  || 

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Bruce Price |  | Varsity Connects
Dr. Richard Shelton | Varsity Connects


Dr. Richard Shelton is a graduate of Washington University undergraduate and medical schools.  He was also a varsity basketball player for four seasons in college.  Currently, Dr. Shelton is a Pediatrician in Buford,GA.  He is also the father of a former collegiate soccer player and he also has another son who is a rising basketball prospect.  

Angela Buttimer | Varsity Connects


Angela Buttimer, MS, CHC, LPC is a licensed psychotherapist and executive coach who specializes in behavioral mind-body psychology and helping others feel, perform and live at their best. She is regularly featured on television and other media platforms. Angela is a keynote speaker, corporate facilitator and author of two books. She is a TEDx speaker and a TEDx speaker coach. When she’s not working, she loves to be active indoors and outdoors, including spinning, hiking and dancing in the kitchen with her family while cooking up some delicious and nutritious meals. ||

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Dave Lopresti is a former standout defenseman for Boston University, one of the premier college hockey programs in the NCAA.  Dave's professional hockey career also took him overseas to continue his pursuits in the German Regional League.  He is currently a Prep & Collegiate Hockey Advisor helping young hockey players find opportunities to further their hockey careers.  Dave is based in Boca Raton FL.  ||

Derek Simms  | Varsity Connects


Derek Simms has 20 years of experience in coalition building, resource development, and strategic fundraising.  He is a recognized leader in non-profit fundraising where he identifies, solicits, and stewards philanthropic support from a diverse group of individual and corporate donors.  Prior to joining the world of impactful fundraising, Mr. Simms worked for Octagon Sports and Entertainment, one of the world’s largest sports management and integrated marketing firms. After leaving Octagon, he co-founded Simms & Shaw Sports Management Group, to provide world class representation to elite professional athletes. Mr. Simms received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and African Studies from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and a Juris Doctorate from the Howard University School of Law.  


Antoine Shaw is a graduate of Tennessee State University and Howard University School of Law. He has been in the professional athlete management and representation business for over a decade where he has managed the careers of athletes in North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia, where he currently represents one of the highest-paid basketball stars in Japan. Shaw is also the founder and CEO of several e-commerce businesses and athletic apparel lines. When he’s not negotiating deals, there’s nothing he enjoys more than spending time with family, friends, community volunteer work, traveling and helping to coach up his son’s little league baseball team. 



Antoine Shaw | Varsity Connects
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