Another Initiative Serving Veterans and Military Families Operated by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University
Former NFL Lineman, ESPN Analyst – Marcus Spears – to Headline Veteran Business Bootcamp Closing Ceremonies | IVMF | EBV National

Former NFL Lineman, ESPN Analyst – Marcus Spears –  to Headline Veteran Business Bootcamp Closing Ceremonies

Marcus Spears will deliver keynote address to veteran entrepreneurs; Aug. 1 ceremony closes out Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) at Syracuse University

EBV-Logo-(no-small-text---transparent)SYRACUSE, N.Y. (July 31, 2015) – Marcus Spears, college analyst with ESPN and the SEC Network, former All-American defensive lineman for Louisiana State University (LSU), and NFL defensive lineman with the Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens, will deliver the keynote address at the graduation and closing ceremonies of the 10th Barnes Family Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) at Syracuse University.

The event will be held on Saturday, Aug. 1, from 6-9 p.m., in Flaum Grand Hall in the Martin J. Whitman School of Management.  Spears’ address will begin at approximately 8 p.m.

Spears will speak about his career transition from football player to media, focusing on the need to re-brand himself as a professional analyst. This experience will allow him to connect with our nation’s veterans, who are experiencing similar “re-branding” opportunities as they transition into new careers and ventures.

Twenty-one disabled veterans have undergone intensive business training and education on the Syracuse University campus the past eight days, expanding on the traits they developed in the military, and learning the basics of business ownership.  Learn more at

Hosted in partnership between the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF) and the Martin J. Whitman School of Management, the EBV helps post-9/11 veterans with service-connected disabilities develop skills and tools needed to launch and maintain successful businesses.

The EBV program was launched at Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management in 2007. Since the original class, the IVMF has expanded EBV to nine additional universities throughout the United States, including Louisiana State University (LSU) – Marcus Spears’ alma mater.  Assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), corporate partners and donors allows post-9/11 veterans and transitioning service members with service-connected disabilities to attend the program cost-free.

The results are in …. Over 1,190 aspiring veteran entrepreners have been trained through the EBV program.  68% of EBV graduates have started their own businesses; 92% of those are still in operation today!  More than $196 million in revenue has been generated by EBV graduate businesses.

Wayne Westervelt, Director of Communications
Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University
Office: 315.443.5690   Cell: 315.558.9483


College Analyst, SEC Network, ESPN; Former NFL Defensive End

Marcus Spears, also known as “The BIG SWAGU,” is a former NFL defensive end. He is best known for suiting up with the Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens. After being waived by the Ravens in 2013, Spears began his broadcasting career as a sports analyst for ESPN’s SECNation, where he covered all college football news related to the Southeastern Conference.

Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Spears was a standout football player at Southern University Laboratory School. He became the first player in Louisiana, since 1991, to make first team All-State honors on both sides of the ball in high school. Spears collegiate career started not far from home. The Louisiana State University Tigers recruited Spears to play on a football scholarship under Nick Saban’s reign from 2001 to 2004. Although initially recruited as a tight end, Spears permanently moved to defensive end in his second year. During his time at LSU, he received many accolades, some of which included: Team Captain, Team MVP, 2004 Consensus All-American, 2003 and 2004 First-Team All-SEC honors, and a member of the prestigious Walter Camp All-American team. He was fortunate enough to be part of the team that brought LSU two SEC Championship titles (2001, 2003) and one BCS National Championship (2004). Spears says that he believes that the best college team to suit up for was the purple & gold – the LSU tigers.

After his success at LSU, Spears became the 20th overall pick for the Dallas Cowboys in 2005. He spent eight seasons with the Dallas Cowboys and one season with the Baltimore Ravens. Spears was a huge asset to the Cowboys defensive line. On the field and in the locker room, he had a huge presence implementing team comradery, unity and brotherhood. When asked what he misses most about the NFL, he says it’s the locker room because that is where friendships are made and the bond between brothers is created.

Spears has hung up his football cleats and put away his college/NFL jerseys only to replace them with a suit and tie now working on the other side of the ball as a sports analyst and commentator for various networks and radio shows. He now has the honor of enjoying the game he loves so much from the sidelines. In addition to his love for the game of football, Marcus is also an avid fisherman and hunter. He has appeared and co-hosted on shows like DFW Outdoorsman.

Marcus Spears is an inspiration to others and he lives life through the motto: “You become exactly who you want to be.” That motto has inspired him to excel in all aspects of his life. He also hopes to make an impact throughout the community as an ambassador for DIFFA – a HIV and Aids research and awareness charity.

Marcus Spears married his college sweetheart, the love of his life Mrs. Aiysha Kenya Spears on October 6, 2006. They are proud parents of three precious children, Macaria, Marcus Jr., and Miko Spears. He recently relocated to Charlotte, N.C., and expects that the best is yet to come as he enters the newest phase of his life.


About the Barnes Family Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV)

The Barnes Family Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) offers cutting edge, experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business management to post 9/11 veterans with disabilities resulting from their service to our country. The EBV program is designed to open the door to business ownership for veterans by developing skills associated with launching and growing a small business. The program also introduces how to leverage programs and services designed for veterans and people with disabilities in a way to further entrepreneurial dreams. For more information about the EBV National Program, visit


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