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Former College Basketball Player David Chadwick is Helping Student-Athletes through his RealResponse Reporting Platform

Rice at Texas A&M
Rice Sports Information
David Chadwick plays defense in a game between Rice at Texas A&M

David Chadwick, a former Division 1 basketball player at Valparaiso and Rice Universities, is the founder of RealResponse, the award-winning, safe and secure feedback, monitoring and anonymous reporting platform for athletic teams and organizations.

Just recently, RealResponse announced the addition of new college and universities to its fast growing list, reaching the 100 partner milestone. More than 50-thousand athletes now have the ability to use RealResponse.

David and Doug.jpg
Doug Doyle/Zoom
RealResponse founder and CEO David Chadwick joins SportsJam with Doug Doyle

Chadwick joined SportsJam with Doug Doyle to talk about the need for the reporting platform, his basketball career and his family's connection to a sports legend.

RealResponse started out in 2012 when Chadwick was attending Rice University in Houston, Texas.

"I was a student-athlete playing basketball at Rice University. I absolutely loved Rice and was taking a class where I had to come up with an idea and wanted to come up with something that would solve the direct challenges that I and many of my friends experienced as student-athletes, mainly the difficulty of having a safe place to bring forward questions, feedback, things are going well or potential concerns to our administration and really equipping them to be able to see what's going well and what are the things that need to be addressed."

Chadwick would then transfer to Valparaiso University where he finished his career.

Valpo Athletics
David Chadwick was a 6'9 forward at Valpo

"I had an amazing experience at Valpo. I played for Bryce Drew there. The ironic part though was Valpo was previously a school that I denied twice, citing all the reasons I didn't want to go, weather, facilities, conference, uniform colors, the things I naive 17-year old I tried to check off my list because I thought I knew what was going to make me happy. But what I learned there was the student-athlete experience has little to do with the externals and everything to do with the intangibles. It's the people, it's the culture it's the relationships. So, when I was getting my MBA at Valpo, with a focus on entrepreneurship, I had to come up with another idea. I don't have many ideas so I recycled the old one I had previously. During that class I began to take a deeper dive. I met with Mark LaBarbera who was the Athletic Director at the time and still at Valpo and presented it to him. He was really the first one to really encourage me, that AD's could really use a better way to get feedback from their student athletes."

Chadwick didn't waste any time and began to cold call athletic directors and asking for an interview. There's 320-plus Division 1 AD's and David interview more than 200 of them.

"What I asked them is how do you currently get feedback from your student athletes? What are the challenges you have in that process? I really began to learn how things are done and the continual themes and issues that people are having in that process. I took all that feedback and went and built at the time RealRecruit, RealRecruit 1.0 ,and went back to the people I had really positive conversations with and said hey remember me from when I interviewed you several months ago, I'd love to show you what this has become. I was really blessed with some AD's that took a chance on us and brought us in and ultimate became our first partners."

Chadwick says his platform, a web-enabled device that stores and tracks sensitive information, covers things that are going well but also allows student-athletes to safely and securely report issues that might otherwise go unnoticed. Some of those issues are mental health, social injustice concerns, COVID-19 policy infractions, misconduct, hazing, and sexual harassment.

Some of the local schools involved in RealResponse include Monmouth University, Fordham, Army and Manhattan. RealResponse, has started working actively outside the collegiate space with organizations like the NFLPA and USA Gymnastics.

"Michael Phelps is one of the leaders right now in the sports world talking about and his own mental health challenges and obviously it got a lot of attention with the Olympics. Personally, I always have an affinity towards swimming because my brother has been on the USA National team for swimming, so I have a huge appreciation for those swimmers and everything they go through. I think for the first time athletes are really talking about their own mental health challenges and bringing attention to it. And what RealResponse has allowed people to do is to anonymously begin the conversation because in many examples I might not be willing to pick up the phone and call someone, or walk into an office and immediately have my name associated with this issue that I'm dealing with and we're fighting this and Michael (Phelps), Simone (Biles) and so many others are creating change around this but there's still a perceived stigma of an athlete that I shouldn't have to deal with mental illness, but are system allows people to do is confidentially begin the conversation."

David has been around sports his whole life. His father, David, played basketball at the University of North Carolina under legendary coach Dean Smith. While there, David Chadwick, played with some stars as George Karl and Charlie Scott. He also played professional hoops in Europe.

He wrote about his college coach's winning qualities in the book "It's How You Play The Game: The Twelve Leadership Principles of Dean Smith" and eventually spoke at coaches funeral.

David Chadwick's father authored a book about legendary UNC coach Dean Smith

When teenager David Chadwick had a knee injury, his father arranged a call from Dean Smith for a little encouragement. When David hung up the phone, his father asked him what Coach Smith had to say? Chadwick told his father that the Hall of Fame coach asked how was his grades?

Father pic Sports Spectrum.jpg
Sports Spectrum
David's father, David, played for UNC under legendary coach Dean Smith

"My dad starting laughing and he goes that's such coach Smith. For families and players, he cares about you as a person, but he also cares about your grades and other parts of your life outside of basketball. The moment I remember just even years from then of Coach Smith's care for the person and the people and the family of those Carolina basketball players beyond just their performance on the court."

Coach Smith's most famous player was NBA great Michael Jordan.

It will be a long time before we know if there will be another basketball star in the Chadwick family. David and his wife Jessie have two young boys. David and Jessie met in high school in Charlotte, North Carolina.

You can see the entire SportsJam interview with David Chadwick at https://fb.watch/7uilLidbhs/.

Doug Doyle has been News Director at WBGO since 1998 and has taken his department to new heights in coverage and recognition. Doug and his staff have received more than 200 awards from organizations like PRNDI, AP, New York Association of Black Journalists, Garden State Association of Black Journalists and the New Jersey Society of Professional Journalists.