Former Buckeye Mike Doss sets foot in Columbus real estate market
Just days after exiting the Cincinnati Bengals and exiting the NFL in 2009, Ohio State University’s former All-American Mike Doss was at a crossroads. At 28, Doss had no clear direction on what life outside of the soccer game would be.
While some may remember him as Buckeye’s standout defensive player and a key member of the 2002 National Championship, Doss has been burdened with the pressures many retired athletes face: how to redefine their identities.
“I basically raised my hands and said, ‘Man, I’m burned out,'” Doss said in a recent interview. “This thing is stressful just not knowing about your next paycheck or your next move and being able to take care of my family. The economy was bad and everything was bad.”
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For almost nine months, Doss tried to figure out what the next phase of his life would be. Rather than training all summer to prepare for a grueling 16-game regular pro season, Doss looked for opportunities that matched his passions and eventually settled on marketing and sales.
The native canton returned to Columbus and took up jobs in medical sales, selling medical implants and assisting surgeons with surgical equipment for Zimmer Biomet and working as a product manager for Johnson & Johnson.
While he enjoyed working in sales, Doss said he always had an affinity with real estate. The 39-year-old had rented subsidized and Section 8 apartments, but was often excluded from larger deals due to his scattered work schedule.
In the fall of 2019, Doss made the move to real estate full-time after meeting Bob Weiler and his son Skip, who runs commercial real estate giant The Robert Weiler Company.
“I got to a place where I wanted to make a bigger investment and once I crossed a certain threshold it became my lifestyle,” he said.
Doss was scheduled to do a Masters degree from OSU’s Business of Operational Excellence program in December 2019 and shadowed Skip Weiler for months to gain more insight into the corporate real estate market.
Doss received his real estate license and started working for the Robert Weiler Company in March, where he quickly became a bright spot in the office.
“The most important thing is that he wants to learn and has sales experience,” said Bob Weiler. “I said if you can sell to doctors, you can certainly sell to entrepreneurs.”
Weiler said Doss added a “calm and gentle approach” to the office and is already closing deals and generating high-profile leads.
“He’s a great match for the rest of us,” he said.
Following the example of a quarterback
Former OSU and NFL quarterback Bob Hoying made a similar transition to commercial real estate. After six seasons in the league, he co-founded Crawford Hoying in Dublin with Brent Crawford, where he leads the company’s new $ 750 million development business.
Like Doss, his previous third-round election, after his last season in the NFL in 2000, reflected on life after football.
During his playing days, he began investing in real estate to pave the way for a second career that spanned more than 20 years. Even so, Hoying said he was saddened to have to leave the game he loved and start a new career.
“Even though I had a street, at some point you realize that your football career is over,” he said. “You go through a bit of depression and then it’s all over. You’re still trying to figure out what’s next in life.”
After the same experience, Hoying said he was proud of the progress Doss had made and was confident that he would succeed in his new role.
Since joining the Weiler family, Doss has recognized the importance of growing in real business and expanding his brand to establish a legacy outside of the soccer game that he bequeathed to his wife Jasmine and three daughters Cadence (3) can pass on. Jordan, 6, and Mariah, 8 and younger brother, Anthony Kirk Jr., 18.
“It gave me a good lifestyle, but I wanted more family time … I went all-in, so it was,” said Doss.
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Doss said he was looking forward to the challenges associated with commercial real estate, particularly being one of the few minorities in the business. But since we know there is a family atmosphere at the Weiler Company, there was no overwhelming pressure to learn by yourself.
“Having this team around made a huge difference instead of being a single agent trying to find my way,” he said.
But Doss said the initial move into real estate was not without its problems. He and others have faced the same challenges related to COVID-19, which has severely impacted the economy and led local businesses to close their offices and switch to virtual workspaces.
Still, Weiler said the three-time All-American had early success as a local fixture among local residents and die-hard Buckeye fans because of his experience in sales and connections.
Like former OSU soccer player and two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin, Weiler said Doss’ name attracts the same amount of attention from potential buyers.
“I hope and pray that the added value is that I’m a local,” said Doss. “One of my good friends calls me the small town celebrity. ‘
Doss credits his wife for supporting him through the various obstacles and changes in his life and career.
“She held it down and gave me the support to look for something I liked,” he said of Jasmine. “The opportunity to look hard and soulfully seek and pray spiritually so that God can point me in the right direction.
“She was the stone, even if she didn’t want to be.”
Jasmine, 39, who has known Doss since she was 12, said she stayed by his side despite adverse circumstances. In times of uncertainty, she gives him positive reinforcement and encourages him to pursue his passions. And while real estate is a huge endeavor, she is confident that her husband will continue to thrive in the new role.
“Where we’re from, you’re always behind the eight ball,” said Jasmine Doss. “The first expectation is that you will not make it, that you will not succeed and if you do something else it will be a surprise. I think that will always be a driving factor in everything he does.”
As he moves into another phase of his personal life, Doss said his focus is on building a legacy so that his daughters and brother don’t have to fight like him.
“I’m just going to keep climbing that ladder of hard work, education, and perseverance to really build something for myself and my family, so hopefully my daughters won’t have a need.”