Still Growing

Still Growing

Former NFL offensive lineman enrolls in Creighton’s financial psychology program

By Molly Garriott, BA’89

When Levi Brown was researching financial psychology programs, he discovered a video of Paul (Ted) Klontz, PhD, associate professor of practice at the Heider College of Business. Klontz, who is also a psychologist and financial planner, used the lullaby Hush Little Baby to illustrate how children are indoctrinated, at a very young age, into believing that buying things brings happiness.

“I thought, ‘This guy is either looney tunes or on to something,’” Brown recalls.

Brown, a former All-American offensive lineman at Penn State University who played seven seasons in the NFL, decided Klontz was “on to something” and is now enrolled in Creighton’s online certificate program in financial psychology and behavioral finance. He hopes to eventually earn a degree from Creighton’s nationally acclaimed MBA program.

It would be Brown’s fourth collegiate degree. He holds two bachelor’s degrees — in labor and industrial relations (2005) and psychology (2006) — and a master’s degree in human resources and employment relations (2016) from Penn State. The latter he earned while playing for the Arizona Cardinals, taking courses during his off seasons.

“I’ve always liked learning,” Brown says. “My wife says I am a lifetime student because I’m always looking for something new to learn. We aren’t meant to stay stagnant. We are meant to learn and develop over time.”

Klontz concurs and sees a natural curiosity in Brown, calling him “incredibly bright and extraordinarily motivated.”

Klontz has more than 30 years of experience counseling high-profile individuals, such as professional athletes, entertainers, politicians and leaders of major corporations, “with the universal goal of trying to close the gap between what they want to have happen and what is currently happening in their finances.”

And Creighton is uniquely positioned to assist adult learners such as Brown in reaching their goals through its badge, credential and certification program, which allows busy professionals the opportunity to dip their toe in the academic waters while considering an advanced degree.

“It’s a pipeline into our programs of excellence,” says Tricia Brundo Sharrar, BA’93, JD’96, vice provost for academic administration and partnerships and head of Creighton’s Center for Professional and Corporate Excellence.

Brown’s interest in investments was sparked when he began setting aside money for his family and for retirement. Hesitant to relinquish control of his finances to the sole care of someone else, he learned as much as he could, seeking advice from professionals in the field. In 2019, he joined Surevest Wealth Management, headquartered in Phoenix, as a financial coach and behavioral finance specialist, working remotely from his home in Austin, Texas. He specializes in clients who encounter sudden wealth, helping them separate their finances from emotions.

“I was excited to put my money to work for me,” Brown says, “and now I can help others do the same.”

A first-round pick, and the No. 5 pick overall, in the 2007 NFL draft by the Arizona Cardinals, Brown dreamed of a long and storied career in the NFL. But, the 35-year-old Jacksonville, North Carolina, native, quoting Proverbs 16, says God had a different plan for him — one that channeled his adversity (he was sidelined with torn triceps in 2012, and ended his NFL playing days in 2014) and education into helping people navigate their financial paths.

Brown says he’s found in Creighton “a community of likeminded people, both educationally and spiritually, who help me as I continue to search for purpose and meaning in life.”

“As you grow as a person, you find out what is important,” Brown adds.

He might just be on to something.


Visit gradschool.creighton.edu/grad-cert for more information about Creighton’s certificate programs.