College Friendship Grows into a Business Partnership
Two alumni found their own sports management company
April 13, 2012
It's edging towards eight on a Wednesday night and Christopher Detchessahar '04 is trying to recall why his old Knox soccer buddies call him the Dutchess, stopping now and then to confirm his memories with fellow player Matt Nagel '04.
"I got the nickname my very first day of practice," Detchessahar says. "Benjamin Weeda '01 was giving all of us rookies a hard time."
"It fits on so many levels," laughs Nagel. "Your attitude, your posture. It's one of those things that you pick up in college and that you can never escape."
Listening to them joke back and forth, it's easy to think that they're back in the Seymour dorms, where the two met on move-in day in 2000, boxes in hand. But the truth is that the two men are separated by more than 600 miles, and they're speaking over a telephone, as they do often now that they run their own professional management company. Founded in 2007 by Nagel, S&E Entertainment provides representation to athletes and publishing administration services to musicians.
"I talk to this kid every day," says Nagel. "We've always got something to talk about."
Their enduring closeness seems surprising, considering their lives before and after Knox. While Detchessahar was going to school at Lake Forest High School in the north suburbs of Chicago, Nagel was playing soccer with Clube America in Brazil as part of the Feyenoord feeder system. Both were interested in studying international relations, however, and one way or another, they found themselves in Galesburg.
"During the whole recruitment process, Harley Knosher from Knox just never left me alone," says Nagel. "He talked me into coming up to Knox in the middle of winter. It's just one of those things -- once you fall in love with a place."
While at Knox, both pursued their own distinct interests. Since Detchessahar already had some experience with the French language -- his father lives in Marseilles -- he decided to major in French literature. Nagel, on the other hand, fascinated with the novelty of technology, pursued a BS in computer science. Both, however, earned their second major in integrated international relations, pledged to Phi Delta Theta, and lived in the fraternity's house.
After college, their lives split ways again. Detchessahar moved to Texas with his family and began working in the restaurant business before being named the Assistant Vice President of Business Banking at JP Morgan Chase Bank in Colleyville, Texas.
"I've been with Chase now for about five years," said Detchessahar. "It's been great. It's taught me quite a bit about small business, about mortgage lending. I know it sounds silly to say that banking can be fascinating, but it's kind of fascinating."
Meanwhile, Nagel -- after a leg injury put an end to his soccer career -- made his way through law school, earning his JD and his LLM in Intellectual Property Rights. With these degrees, Nagel began working in insurance law, eventually becoming an attorney for a personal injury law firm, Schultz & Myers.
"It was a baptism by fire," he said of his early legal experiences.
Yet Nagel found it difficult to stay away from the soccer field, and he began to wonder if he couldn't help aspiring athletes achieve their dreams of professional careers with his legal expertise.
"It made sense to see if we could make somebody else's dreams come true and open some doors that they couldn't get open on their own," says Nagel.
Pretty soon, Nagel was forwarding contracts to be informally reviewed by Detchessahar. "All of a sudden," Detchessahar recalls, "he asked what it would be like if we just did this together officially."
Now the two run S&E Entertainment together, Nagel serving as president and Detchessahar as vice president. Their client-base has grown to include more than 30 players and coaches.
"Our experiences are so diverse," says Nagel. "No matter what the situation is that comes up, we've either seen it or heard about it or read about or have some experience with it at this point. And I think that's attributable to our going to Knox, our education."
But all this would be impossible were it not for their serendipitous introduction in the Seymour dorms.
"From day one," says Nagel, "people smile, they shake your hand, you introduce yourself. That's not something you get everywhere."