Realizing the Dream…with a Twist with Dr. Derichard McCoy

Dr. Derichard McCoy is a Charlotte, NC native. He attended Livingstone College in Salisbury NC where he received a BS in Sport Management. He then went on to receive his MS in Education specializing in Sports Management from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale FL.

Dr. McCoy earned his Doctorate of Education in Sports Management with an emphasis in Sport Leadership from the United States Sports Academy in Daphne, AL. He is currently the Athletic Director and Health/Physical Education Teacher at Mountain Island Lake Academy and the Varsity Defensive Line Coach at Providence Day School.

Dr. McCoy consults with the Group of 5 college football coaches, helping them to better compete with the Power 5 programs within the Football Bowl Subdivision.



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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Don’t wait until the last minute to ask for help
  • Thinking smart rather than being heroic
  • Every little help makes a big difference
  • Building the instant roadmap for your dissertation
  • Once you understand your data, your graduation is guaranteed
  • The real obstacles to finishing your dissertation
  • The three outcomes of your dissertation defense
  • Opportunities show up when you’re present and prepared

In this episode…

As a child, you were probably asked multiple times about your dreams. And, as a child your answer was probably something fantastical: firefighter, ballerina, football player, and, maybe, doctor.

In this episode of An Unconventional Life, Dr. Derichard McCoy shares with Dr. Russell Strickland how his childhood dreams were always about football and how these dreams motivated him to ultimately earn his doctorate in sports management. A first-generation college student, Derichard took football as far as he could on the field before he made an unlikely transition… effectively getting his doctorate in football. Dr. McCoy talks about how he found Dissertation Done and got the help he needed to push through to graduation. Now that he’s finally done, he gives his heartfelt advice to students on finishing what they started.

Many life circumstances compel us to take a different route. Dr. McCoy may not have ended up as the football player he had dreamed to be, but he certainly created his own destiny and took his football dreams to the next level. Are you ready to create yours? Helmets on as Dr. McCoy shares how to run your own route to success!

Resources Mentioned in this episode

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by Dissertation Done, America’s #1 authority in dissertation completion for working professionals.

Founded by Dr. Russell Strickland, Dissertation Done serves people in two ways:

  1. If you’re struggling with your dissertation, getting ready to start your dissertation, or just plain wanting to get your dissertation done as soon as possible, go to and Let’s Get Your Dissertation Done
  2. If you’re busy living your Unconventional Life and have a message that you want to share, maybe you should join our Expand Your Authority Program to become a published author. Go to and let me know that you’d like to talk about Expanding Your Authority.

Visit to learn more about our other services and leave a message or call them at 888-80-DR-NOW (888-803-7669) to schedule your free 30 to 45-minute phone consultation.

Episode Transcript

Disclaimer: This transcript is here for your reading convenience. It was created by machines and may (a-hem) contain some errors. If you email us about these errors, the machines will undoubtedly find out. I hope they won’t get angry.


Intro  [00:03]

Welcome to An Unconventional Life, a podcast where we share stories about the crazy one percent out there, who earned their doctoral degrees, and then went on to use them in crazy, cool, unique and unconventional ways. Here’s your host astrophysicist turned teacher, author, dissertation coach, and more. Dr. Russell Strickland.


Dr. Russell Strickland  [00:28]

Hello, and welcome to An Unconventional Life podcast. I’m your host, Dr. Russell Strickland, the founder and CEO of Dissertation Done, and I have with me today, Dr. Derichard McCoy. He is a recent graduate, a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, who attended Livingston College in Salisbury, North Carolina, where he received a BS in Sports Management. He then went on to earn his master’s degree in education specializing in sports management from Nova Southeastern in Fort Lauderdale, and recently just completed his doctorate of education in sports management with an emphasis in sports leadership from the United States Sports Academy in Alabama. Dr. McCoy is planning on working with a group of the group of five football coaches that they can better compete with a power five programs in the Football Bowl Subdivision. And he also works with football coaches and players who are wanting to take their services to the next level. So if you want to play at the next level, if you want to coach at the next level, reach out to Dr. Richard McCoy. Dr. McCoy. Welcome.


Dr. Derichard McCoy  [01:35]

Hey, how’s it going, Dr. Strickland?


Dr. Russell Strickland  [01:37]

It is awesome. I’m glad to have you here today. I’d like to tell people real quickly that today’s episode is being brought to you by Dissertation Done and here at Dissertation Done, we help adult doctoral students through the dissertation process. Derichard can tell you a little bit about that. And so if you’re stuck, if you’re, you’re you’re you’re stalled out, or you’re just approaching the dissertation process, and know that the quickest way to get help through something like this is to get a coach, then reach out to us at And we’ll have a conversation and see if that might be a good fit for us to work together. If you happen to be on the other side of graduation, and you want to go out and and coach or counselor consult or do anything that experts space, the best way to establish your expertise is not only to have the first name “Doctor,” but you’ve literally written the book in your area. And we hope people do that to get you from the blank page to being a published author in less time than you can imagine. If that’s something you’re interested in talking about, reach out to us at So that’s the commercial. Derichard, welcome, once again, Dr. McCoy, I have to make sure I say that. All new doctors need to hear their name is Dr. Dr. Whatever, over and over again. So Dr. McCoy, welcome. And how you doing today?


Dr. Derichard McCoy  [02:53]

I’m doing awesome, awesome, awesome. Still kind of in this surreal type of situation, just man is this?


Dr. Russell Strickland  [03:01]

And we talk about still. I mean, it’s been not very long. I mean, you defended your dissertation, like a month ago and just got everything done, done and published a couple of weeks ago, is that right?


Dr. Derichard McCoy  [03:13]

That’s correct. That’s correct.


Dr. Russell Strickland  [03:15]

So for those people who are out there, stuck in dissertation, imagine yourself three months ago, six months ago, what would you tell them about how this feels to finally be done?


Dr. Derichard McCoy  [03:26]

Well, it’s, it’s a different feeling. When you’re used to working, working, working for so many years trying to complete this, this task that you really feel like you may not ever finished, and then finish. It’s like, Oh, my gosh, I really did it. And at the same time, you’re like, okay, what’s next? What do I do next? And it’s like, you’re trying to get used to just a new way of doing things and the way people addressed you address you currently. And so you have to kind of get used to it. And it’s kind of like surreal, it’s like, Wow, I can’t yeah, you know.


Dr. Russell Strickland  [04:09]

Well, you know, if you ever feel like it feels too surreal being called Dr. McCoy, just go back, talk to your wife, talk to your kids. And be like, right, exactly. about that. But I know we’re still kind of what I hope is on the back end of this COVID thing right now as we’re recording and so this is probably not something that people are doing as much but I know years ago, folks used to like to go out to the airport and have themself paged over there. So just go ask for Dr. McCoy. And and they’ll tell everybody in the airport, “Page and Dr. McCoy.” It’s a I guess it’s also not as prevalent now everybody has cell phones but because you can just reach out that way but but they’ll still do it if you if you go there and ask them.


Dr. Derichard McCoy  [04:58]

Oh, wow, that’s that’s good to know. That’s good.


Dr. Russell Strickland  [05:00]

Nice to hear that right?


Dr. Derichard McCoy  [05:02]



Dr. Russell Strickland  [05:02]

And then of course, you gotta you gotta be sitting down somewhere and you got to get them out. Oh, that’s me. Where’s the white courtesy?


Dr. Derichard McCoy  [05:08]

Right? Exactly. Absolutely.


Dr. Russell Strickland  [05:12]

All right. Let’s go back to you know, when, when this all got started and tell everybody what inspired you prompted you or, or caused you to decide to pursue a doctoral degree? Not a lot of people do it, and not a lot of people are successful at it. So what why did you come to that decision?


Dr. Derichard McCoy  [05:34]

Well, um, growing up, it was kind of a unique situation where I was the first generation in my immediate family to graduate from all phases of higher education. So, yes, and growing up, you know, my parents, they graduated from high school. So I didn’t have a really expectation after that point, you know, so my mom was like, my mom and dad was basically like, you know, you’re going to graduate high school. And, um, but it wasn’t a pressure to perform at a higher level academically. All they basically told me ensured me and basically said was, you need to do your very best, you know, so whatever that looks like to them, you know, you know, what they were not. They didn’t tolerate any Fs, any failures, anything, but because they knew I was, you know, better than making the F. So, at that point, you know,


Dr. Russell Strickland  [06:42]

My kids now that level set at a B like, at a C, might get an A great, you get to be fine. See, right. You better.


Dr. Derichard McCoy  [06:52]

Exactly, right. Right. So it was it was kind of the tone was kind of set. But they were, you know, the it was interpreted in the way that they understood it, because, you know, they, you know, they wasn’t, you know, they didn’t have a higher education experience. Yeah. So, I was


Dr. Russell Strickland  [07:08]

But this goes back to what we talked with our students about all the time. They don’t, they didn’t know they didn’t, they didn’t know what they were doing, in terms of, you know, what is it like to go to college? What’s it like to get a master’s degree? Some people might know about the the bachelor’s degree or the master’s degree, but very, very few know about that doctoral degree. And a lot of our students, they have a spouse who wants to support them, but literally, they don’t know what they’re talking about when a doctoral degree program, and that’s no slide on anybody. It’s just that only about a couple percent of people go through this process. And, and then 1% of them are ultimately successful. So it’s, it’s tough when when you’re kind of going it alone, without any kind of role model, so to speak, in that specific regard, not to say that your parents weren’t role models, but in that specific regard. Exactly.


Dr. Derichard McCoy  [07:56]

I totally agree. And, you know, I was I was always a sports kid, you know, growing up, you know, just just like every other kid, you know, you wanted to come up professional athlete or whatever sport that you know, that you wanted to, you know, to participate in, and mine was football. Yeah. So, I grew up playing, you know, youth football and went up from there. And I went to high school. And again, I knew that, you know, I love playing football, and I wanted to play at the collegiate level. But again, the guidance, the guidance wasn’t there for me to even know what it took for me to get to that next level? Yeah.


Dr. Russell Strickland  [08:35]

That you like, in a sense, ended up not playing at the higher levels, but got a doctoral degree in football is what it amounts to just come out. Because I know we worked on your your dissertation together what you did, and it’s it’s not that misleading to say you got football, right.


Dr. Derichard McCoy  [08:53]

Absolutely. Position to fail people like yeah, I made it to the NFL, you know, in the academic aspect.


Dr. Russell Strickland  [09:03]

But it is it’s a big business. It’s a lot. There’s a lot going on there. And there’s a lot of study, which you did. I’m not belittling what you did at all it was it was a great study. But to tell somebody I wanted to grow up to be a football player when I was when I was a kid. And so I ended up going to get my doctorate.


Dr. Derichard McCoy  [09:19]

Right, right. Absolutely. Story. Yeah. And that’s one of the things that kind of fueled me throughout school, you know, um, you know, I stayed eligible, just so I can play football and, like, again, I didn’t know what it took for me to go to college and play. So, you know, I was a C, B student. In high school, I mean, just the average kid, but of course, then when I look on it, I could have done a whole lot better. I could have pushed myself, you know, a lot harder. But, um, with that being said, I graduated from high school with a 1.4 GPA. All right. Yes. and due to that, that was the first year when we started. To graduate in December, so I was like, okay, football season’s over. Okay, I’m done. So I stopped kind of going to class. You know, I had no idea. I had no idea. But at the same time, I knew that I wanted to play college football, but didn’t just didn’t know, how would that look like? Um, so, you know, when is the first time for for graduation? Of course, I graduated, of course. But same time when I was looking to go to the next level to participate at the college level, I couldn’t I couldn’t get any anywhere because of my GPA. No, so I had basically had to go the long route. The only school that accepted me was a Livingstone college. And then, at that time, it was like a one semester provisional type situation. Yes, so I had one semester to prove that I belong here.


Dr. Russell Strickland  [10:57]

And that’s got to be tough man. Because I know, I was a good student in high school, and I went to, you know, state university, I got a good scholarship there and everything. And I tell you, I had a crisis of conscience. And then that first semester, ultimately, I figured it out. But there was some time I was thinking, do I belong here, man is this right wheel, because, you know, you go from this small pond, to the big pond. And it’s a whole different story. So that’s got to be tough to be able to have that level of pressure and pull through.


Dr. Derichard McCoy  [11:30]

Yes, it was, it was very, very difficult. Um, but but but I had that initial drive, you know, that that my parents instilled in me, that I could do anything that I put my mind to, I just had to have some won’t to about myself in order to get it done.


Dr. Russell Strickland  [11:47]

So in addition to the persistence and the drive, what else would you say was the number one thing that helped you through that first semester? What was it actually through, beyond wanting to get through?


Dr. Derichard McCoy  [11:58]

Well, it was more or less of me wanting to be a better person, you know, I kind of looked at, where I’ve kind of just just gotten by just, you know, just because I knew I could, you know, so I, I said I need to start doing something to prove to myself that I’m better than what I’ve been doing. You know, so, with that being said, I had to, you know, take the long route, basically, I had to start over and earn a scholarship for football. The next year on scholarship when we began to play on the team and and the rest was kind of kind of history.


Dr. Russell Strickland  [12:41]

Did you did you walk on that first year do anything like I had?


Dr. Derichard McCoy  [12:43]

Yes. Because my grades, my grades were so terrible. I had to basically had to basically start over on my coach said, see my, my high school fam. And, of course, I was good enough. But I had to, you know, get my academics in order in order to even though for the spring, practice, and begin, you know, the, the trout situation there.


Dr. Russell Strickland  [13:08]

So, a lot of the folks that I talked to have that story of I’m kind of the first person in my family to get to this level. I know, my, my dad, his sister was a couple years behind him. And she caught up to him in school and he is his senior year. And he’s like, I gotta graduate this year, or I’m quitting because she’s not graduating for me. That was his his take on school. And my mom got like a two year degree after after she graduated. So I was the first one to go to college to get it now we get called re all that stuff. What was it that took you from Okay, here I am, I’m playing football at college level to now I’ll make a decision later on to pursue my doctoral degree. What? What led you to take that step finally?


Dr. Derichard McCoy  [13:55]

Well, basically, it was sports, you know, in particular, football meant so much to me, and it helped me throughout my childhood as it as it relates to being able to have to work together. Teamwork, and how to have that discipline, that toughness, to kind of see things through and so in my, my thought was, you know, I may not play professional football or get to that, you know, that professional level. But I want it to give back to sport the way sports gave to me, you know, so, and that was the first shift. It’s funny, that was the first year that basically the sport management field kind of started. And you know, when I started looking into it, I was like, this is this is something I think, I would love to do, you know, so I kind of started looking into it and you know, I enjoyed it. Something that you know, I love you know, I have passion for sports. So, you know, and I majored in it. And, you know, typically people, when they move on to the masters and doctorate, they kind of change their specialization. And you know, I mean, I’m so passionate about it, you know, I continue to grow, grow, grow, and more and more in that particular field. So that’s why I continue to I’m majoring specialize in sports management through my masters and my doctoral programs.


Dr. Russell Strickland  [15:28]

Yeah, it’s really awesome. When you really figure out what it is that you that you love doing and what it is that you enjoy in life. There’s a way to make something very productive out of it, you just have to maybe be a little creative and, and keep at it. So if playing in the NFL wasn’t, you know, ultimately going to be your your route? You picked another one, you found another one, you created another one in a sense, and I think that’s really awesome. Yes, yes. Yes. Very cool. All right. So what was it like, let’s let’s jump into we’re in the doctoral degree program, you’ve taken your classes, did you find the doctoral degree classes were a whole lot different or more difficult than what you’ve done before? Or did it seem like it was more of the same from college and master’s degree and that sort of thing.


Dr. Derichard McCoy  [16:12]

Um, it was, as some aspects, they were the same and others, they were different. Like for us like that, especially like picking the actual test. At my particular institution, we had to, like, take physical tests on a computer, and we had to have everything off of, you know, around us, we had this show that also was a third party that was basically monitor monitoring monitoring us, as we take to our tests. I was like, wow, this is, this is different, you know, so. Yeah. So I mean, other than that, the good thing about it, you know, I, I went through my, my, my subjects so well, because I was so much familiar with them. Because, you know, that’s what I’ve been doing, you know, and do my masters. And so I was holed up familiar with, you know, the terminology and everything that, that I had to study in my doctoral classes. But for the most part, it was, it was it was, I wouldn’t say a breeze, but it was much, much easier than I expected it to be. And I chalked that up just to because it was, I was more familiar with that content.


Dr. Russell Strickland  [17:31]

And I’ll tell you that, in my experience, with dealing with lots and lots of students that what we hear time and time, again, is that there is a whole lot more you have that the classes in your doctoral degree program are much more similar to what you were doing in like, sixth, seventh eighth grade than your dissertation.


Dr. Derichard McCoy  [17:51]



Dr. Russell Strickland  [17:52]

Like they tell you to read something, they tell you their answers and questions to write something to do some work, you do it, you turn it in, and you do it over again. Now the level keeps going up, what they’re asking you to read gets more complicated. And what they’re expecting of you to be able to understand gets more complicated, but that’s just like steady growth. And then for a lot of people that kind of hit a wall with just the dissertation because it’s a different thing.


Dr. Derichard McCoy  [18:16]

Oh my gosh.


Dr. Russell Strickland  [18:17]

What was your experience with finishing up those classes, and then going into the dissertation?


Dr. Derichard McCoy  [18:22]

Like I say, the classes were not that bad at all, I really enjoyed the classes. Because it was, you know, I kind of learned a lot like you said, each, each class will take you to another level. Um, but other than that, I really enjoyed them. But


Dr. Russell Strickland  [18:39]

You know, what, almost all of them, right? I mean, there are very few classes that you’re taking at the doctoral level that you’re like, when am I ever going to use this?


Dr. Derichard McCoy  [18:46]

Right, right, exactly.


Dr. Russell Strickland  [18:48]

It might be the occasional one, but very few. So that’s another benefit is that these are all things that you’re you’re interested in, you’re passionate about.


Dr. Derichard McCoy  [18:54]

Right? Exactly. And my most difficult, difficult. class was statistics. Oh my gosh, I actually had to get a tutor for that one, but I made it through.


Dr. Russell Strickland  [19:05]

I’ve never heard that before. Richard. Everybody loves statistics, man.


Dr. Derichard McCoy  [19:10]

Oh my gosh. But yeah, I made it through that one. But that yeah, I will never forget. My stats class. That was yeah, that was a crucial one.


Dr. Russell Strickland  [19:20]

So anyway, so you get through that. And then now you’re facing the dissertation. Tell me how that experience.


Dr. Derichard McCoy  [19:25]

Yes. Um, was went very well. Wow. Okay, this is not that bad. You know. I got on my own. I got all the way up to three. Yeah. And I was like, oh, my gosh, what do I do? You know, this point, like, this is different. Yeah. So you know, the literature review was out, okay. It’s not bad. You know, intro literature review. Okay, cool.


Dr. Russell Strickland  [19:54]

It’s got that’s got the most similarity with what you’ve been doing in the past, right, that’s picking your topic and writing a paper on it. If you look exactly right, like your dissertation, when your your literature review is like writing, depending on what size you want to say they are, you know, five to 10 papers.


Dr. Derichard McCoy  [20:09]

Right? Exactly. Like, so at that point we’re not Yeah, chocolates wanting to apply. I don’t understand why people say this is hard, you know?

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Dr. Russell W. Strickland

RUSSELL STRICKLAND, Ph.D., has been referred to as a “rocket scientist turned management consultant.” In truth, he applies an eclectic body of work from astronomy and nuclear physics to dynamic inventory management to market research to each of his student engagements.