|MILTON, MA - Be prepared.|
The phrase is most often attributed to the Boy Scouts of America, which claims it as its motto. But for former Williams College football and track & field standout Todd Ducharme '94, it was a lesson learned most often on the playing fields in Williamstown.
"The biggest thing I learned (at Williams), is that if you are prepared to succeed, you will do okay no matter what endeavor you're involved in," Ducharme said. "That, and to take care of the little things. If you're prepared and you focus on the little things - whether you're trying to be a good employer, a good father or a good husband - then everything else will take care of itself."
Todd Ducharme '94
Ducharme has been taken care of the little things since graduation - and Williams has never been far from his thoughts throughout the journey.
He left Williams and headed to California with former Eph offensive line coach Roger Caron where he served as an assistant football and track and field coach at Pomona-Pitzer College. He married Chrissy Cadigan '92, one of the top scorers all-time in the history of the Ephs' women's basketball program.
Ducharme sold multi-million dollar software systems to Fortune 500 companies and was involved with sales and business development of several other successful businesses.
Today, he is the executive vice-president and general manager of CATZ (Competitive Athlete Training Zone), and it was his Williams contacts (Lars Hem '92, Hem's wife Missy Crouchley '89, Cadigan and soccer standout Dan Calichman '90) that helped him get there.
CATZ is a professional sports performance training organization founded by Jim Liston and Kevin Wentz, former strength and conditioning trainers with Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy, for whom Calichman played in the late 90s.
It was Hem who first began pulling Ducharme toward CATZ, and Calichman who put the pair in touch with Liston and Wentz. But even before that, Hem and Ducharme became friends in part because of their wives, who had played basketball together at Williams (the pair - Cadigan and Crouchley - is separated by five points on the Ephs' career scoring list).
"Overall the memories are the greatest of the people we met there," Ducharme said. "The school and the environment meant so much to us. We got married on campus and had our reception there. I still stay in touch with Coach Farley and several of the assistant coaches from that time; Dave Caputi, Renzie Lamb, Dave Barnard. It's not until you leave that you realize how special the people (coaches and faculty) at Williams really are."
Ducharme is part of the operations management of CATZ, and has helped sell 15 franchises all ready this year, allowing the organization to reach its goal earlier than expected.
But what he enjoys most about working for the company is its involvement with kids. CATZ doesn't focus on training just world-class athletes - although they have several among their stable of clients - but rather is looking to help develop children between ages 6 to 18.
The goal is to help a young athlete prevent injury by introducing training that enhances, among other characteristics, flexibility and coordination.
With so much emphasis and specialization involved in youth sports in today's world, Ducharme noted how a high percentage of injuries to young athletes are overuse injuries. CATZ is designed to help athletes develop custom training regiments so they can avoid overuse injuries.
It's the perfect world of business and passion for a guy who is a self-admitted sports nut.
"Sports has always been such a big part of my life," he said. "It's so important to try and find a balance with a career and profession and I'm lucky that this job has enabled me to do that.
"I have more of an operations role, and I have been able to draw on my other professional experiences to expand that role. It's been a lot of fun - you wake up and you have a passion for this and you know you're having a positive impact on youth sports."
While at Williams, Ducharme played for legendary coach Dick Farley. He was a first-year on the undefeated 1990 team, the second such team in Williams history, and a key part of a then record 23-game winning streak. He started at wide receiver and still holds the record - along with former teammate Nick Gemelli - for receiving touchdowns in one game with three. His senior year he was a captain and an All-NESCAC selection at wide receiver.
In four years, the Ephs lost only four games on the gridiron.
Ducharme was also a standout in track and field, where he specialized in the decathlon. Through both athletic endeavors at the school, he became close with Farley, with whom he remains in contact today.
"I look back and so many stories and so many games - you can start with all four Trinity games," he said. "Being a decathlete, I spent a lot of time with Coach Farley driving around New England to different meets. I got to see two very different sides of him, but I will say he tended to treat me like a football player all 12 months of the year."
Like most who played for the man, Ducharme said Farley's preparation was second to none.
"No other coach in any other sport I've been involved with prepared us like he did," Ducharme said. "It got to a point where, when we stepped on the field, we knew we were more prepared than our opponent. Even when we were down late in the game - and there were plenty of those games - we knew we could win because we had prepared for those situations. There was a confidence among us, but it wasn't cockiness."
It would be safe to say that there is still a lot of little boy left in Ducharme. On rainy days, when time allows, he and his wife and kids (they have three; Ashley, 6, Caroline, 4, and Reid, 1 1/2) will join the Hems at CATZ headquarters and allow the children to play all around the building.
But whatever he's doing, whether it's being the businessman, the husband or the fun-loving father, Ducharme hasn't forgotten from whence he came.
"A lot of our background and how we feel about sports comes from what we experienced at Williams," he noted.