Tyler Dean has a pretty deep connection to the Winged Foot Scholar-Athlete Award.
His dad, Terry, won the inaugural award in 1990 as a star quarterback at Barron Collier High School, then went on to play for the University of Florida.
So Tyler Dean is used to dealing with expectations. That’s just fine with him.
“I’m probably the most competitive kid I know,” said Dean, First Baptist Academy’s Winged Foot finalist. “I need to win. … I’ve worked really hard. I’m not as talented as maybe some of the other candidates, but I think I’ve worked extremely hard to put myself in a place to where I can be successful.”
Dean followed in his dad’s footsteps as a quarterback and owns the FBA’s record book when it comes to throwing the football. That part of it didn’t come easily either. As a sophomore, Dean and another player battled for the starting position. Dean ended up getting the job.
“The pressure was enormous,” he said. “It was stressful and I put a ton of pressure on myself. … I took everything so personally and it was just tough. Looking back on it, it was extremely stressful, but I’m glad I went through it.”
Colgate offered him a scholarship, and he had interest from Brown and Columbia. But Dean remembered something his grandfather told him — go to college in the state where you want to live and work. So Dean will follow his father again, but only to a point. He plans on going to the University of Florida, but will not play football.
“I just realized it wasn’t for me,” Dean said of Colgate. “I’m a Florida boy. It’s a great education and all, but if I could go to Florida — great connections there with a lot of people. … I want to live in Florida. I want to live in Naples and I want to do business here.”
Dean plans on majoring in business, with thoughts of going to law school.
“It’s another way to just compete,” he said. “I love competing.”
Dean looks to his faith to keep him grounded.
“Humility is key,” he said. “You don’t want to come off as arrogant. I don’t enjoy talking about myself. I’ve had success in life and I love that. I want to succeed, but humility for me is the biggest challenge and it’s the thing I try to work on the most.”
About Greg Hardwig
Greg Hardwig has been at the Daily News since 1997 and the sports editor since 2004. He also cover golf in Southwest Florida.