Darren Heitner was an underdog in the cutthroat world of sports agents and business. He always had a passion for law and negotiation and graduated with a degree in Political Science from the University of Florida. But politics wasn’t the path he wanted to take. Not yet. Heitner also loved sports. He said he has played baseball his entire life. Heitner thought a career as a sports agent would be a great fit.
“My interest in the law coupled with my knowledge of sports made this industry seem like a normal fit,” Heitner said.
Then, the uphill battle began. The sports industry is hard to break into. Players, coaches, and agents all have to prove themselves and work nonstop to get somewhere in the ultracompetitive profession. So, Heitner went to work. He started SportsAgentBlog, writing about news in the industry as he learned everything he could. Heitner decided to jump into the industry headfirst. With no experience, he founded his own agency. This is unheard of in the sports world.
Heitner said, “While most sports agents started their own companies after working at a larger agency and building up a solid client base using that agency’s name, I started Dynasty Athlete Representation from scratch, without having ever represented a player at another company.”
The only way to build up his new company was hard work. He had to prove himself and earn client’s trust. He said he promised each client the attention they deserve and that he would work harder than anyone else out there. Over time, his company has grown. Part of his success is the company’s focus on new, or social media. Every little tool is useful to market the players and the brand and to get an edge on the competition.
Social media provides a fresh outlook and reaches a wide audience. “We are the future,” Heitner said.
It looks like a bright future for Heitner and his clients. He will graduate from law school this spring, and then continue to improve his agency. His clients include former Florida basketball standout Adrian Moss and Cardinals prospect Pete Parise.
For the Redbird faithful, Parise’s name may become a familiar one soon. He was the closer for the Pacific Coast League champion Memphis Redbirds in 2009. During the playoff run, Heitner said Parise was “practically flawless.” The momentum carried over into the winter when he pitched for Puerto Rico in the Caribbean Series. The righty has a good sinker that is devastating out of the bullpen. That nasty sinker coupled with his work ethic and character makes him a candidate to make the big league club out of Spring Training.
“I guarantee you that Pete will give it a fight,” Heitner said. The underdog client knows a thing or two about fighting in this business, and Parise has had to fight too.
Coming out of the University of Pittsburgh, Parise was the program’s all-time leader in hits. He was an outfielder. During his senior year, he pitched out of the bullpen at times based on advice from scouts. If he was going to make it professionally, it was going to be on the mound.
Still, Parise went undrafted and had to prove himself. The St. Louis Cardinals offered him a contract, and he worked his way up the ladder. Now, he has a legitimate chance to make the Major League roster. Heitner said Parise is healthy and ready to contribute if the Cards give him the opportunity. If he does get one, chances are he will take advantage of it.
Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch describes Parise as, “An underrated righty who hasn’t been heralded in the multitude of prospect rankings, Parise earned a nonroster invitation the old-fashioned way — he earned it. The bulldog righty sports a quality sinker, and he seized the closer job with Pacific Coast League champ Memphis last season.”
With his fighting mentality, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Parise in St. Louis at some point this year. He will continue to develop and could be a candidate for the closer’s role when Ryan Franklin is gone. Whenever Parise makes the majors, few will be as proud as Heitner.
From a no-name company to representing Major League talent, it has been quite a journey thus far for Darren Heitner. And this is only the beginning. He will likely be in this industry for a very long time.
“I love every minute of my work,” Heitner said.