With a young family and a Miami Dolphins salary
of $15,000 in 1968, his first year, and $17,500 the
following year after being named the Co-Defensive
Rookie of the Year, Anderson realized football would
not last forever. He also realized even as a young
player that name recognition was helpful in sales.
In those days, the season was over in late
December and the teams didn’t go back to training
camp until mid-July.
“Once a month during the off-season I’d take a
loop through Florida, stopping at current accounts
and calling on new ones,” Anderson said. “By the
third year I was making more selling insurance
than I was playing football. The first year we went
to the Super Bowl and lost (1971), I made an extra
$15,000 from the Super Bowl, $29,000 in salary and
more than $44,000 selling insurance.”
Anderson’s fame on the football field helped his
growing insurance business. In the course of a 10-
year career beginning in 1968 with the Dolphins, he
was named Co-Defensive Rookie of the Year, was a
three-time Pro Bowl choice and was named the NFL
Defensive Player of the Year in 1973.
The last two seasons of his career he was the
president of the NFL Players Association, and a
year after he retired, he was elected to the Florida
Senate. After that he took over the ownership of the
RCA distributorship for the state of Florida. He then
bought a chain of cellular telephone stores.
Today, at 66, Anderson runs the South Miami-based Anderson Insurance Group, specializing in
group health and indemnity products.
“THE FIRST YEAR WE WENT TO THE
SUPER BOWL AND LOST (1971), I
MADE AN EXTRA $15,000 FROM THE
SUPER BOWL, $29,000 IN SALARY
AND MORE THAN $44,000 SELLING
—Dick Anderson, ex-player, Miami Dolphins
that he needed bypass surgery. Fortunately the
surgery was a success, but that’s why he’s no longer
in an ownership position, he said.
“I was looking for somebody who would take
my business but let me continue to manage it, and
the Ocala Insurance Agency filled the bill,” said
Nottingham, now 62.
“I want to keep working. I want to continue to be
an agent concentrating on business clients.”
THE CHARGE OF THE FULLBACK
Don Nottingham’s preparation for life in the
insurance industry began when he was attracting
national attention as a running back at Kent State
University, leading the nation in rushing his senior
“My father-in-law was instrumental in getting me
involved in insurance,” said Nottingham. “When
I got interested in his daughter, I was a junior in
college. When it was obvious that his daughter and I
were going to stay together, he said, ‘I’ve got to teach
you how to do something besides chase oblong
steroid objects.’ ”
“He was connected with Northwestern Mutual
and he put me through their program, starting in
my junior year at Kent,” said Nottingham.
Then along came Nottingham’s well regarded
professional football career, first as a hard-blocking
fullback on a celebrated Baltimore Colts team, and
then with the Miami Dolphins, for which he played
in the backfield with Hall of Famer Larry Csonka.
But getting traded from Baltimore to Miami was a
red alert for Nottingham.
“When I got traded to Miami, I figured getting
traded could happen again,” said Nottingham. “So
I decided to find a life insurance general agent that
I could hook up with. I ran into a guy named Fred
Diamond who had his own agency in Miami. His
agency was primarily property and casualty. When
Fred said to me, ‘Wouldn’t you want to do it all, not
just life insurance?’ the lights went on.”
So Nottingham started out with Diamond’s Titan
Agency, and his life’s work was set.
“I thoroughly and absolutely enjoy working with
small businesses. They’re the backbone of America
as far as I’m concerned,” Nottingham said.
Nottingham’s affinity with entrepreneurial
MAN OF IRON
Louis D’Agostino, 38, partner and senior
vice president of Iron Cove Insurance, does a
nationwide book of business from offices in Garden
City, N. Y., and New York City. He said playing
football in high school in Long Island, college at the
University of Rhode Island and professionally with
the New York Jets and two other pro teams, has
been important to his steady rise in the insurance
This is often true of hard-driving, self-made
athletes, said Palm Beach, Fla.-based psychologist
John F. Murray, author of “The Mental Performance
Index: Ranking the Best Teams in Super Bowl
“We call it ‘athletic identity,’ ” said Murray.
“If you lose that identity, your whole life can be
over at 30. It’s really important to educate these
athletes and get them thinking about making the
transition to life after sports before they get out. The
problem is, that’s not what they want to do because
they’re trying to be great,” Murray said.
Gearing up for life after sports clearly wasn’t
a problem for Louis D’Agostino. He was a star
high school and college athlete—his
senior year in high school he won the
outstanding player in all sports in Nassau
County, N. Y., and in his junior and senior
years at the University of Rhode Island
he was a college All-American.
He then worked his way onto the
New York Jets as a running back for two
seasons. After that he played for the
Florida Bobcats in the Arena League and
the New York/New Jersey Hitmen in the
In between Arena and XFL league
play, D’Agostino had a friend who
sponsored him for securities industry
licenses. This led to work for insurance
broker Frank Crystal & Co., where he
learned the business.
After 10 years with Frank Crystal
D’Agostino believed it was time to return
to Long Island and go out on his own.
“I always had an itch and a craving to
build a business and I thought the time
was right,” he said. “I was married and I
had kids, but I was still young enough.”
A year and a half ago, D’Agostino
created a company called Iron Cove
Partners. The seven-member firm
is dedicated to handling the risk
management and insurance needs of
hedge funds, private equity groups, and
stand-alone investment advisers.
The firm is a division of the 23-year-
old Whitmore Group Ltd. a diversified
insurance services company.
businesses inspired him to open his own agency
in 1979. Nottingham ran it until 1988, before
merging with another firm. That’s when Hurricane
Andrew ripped through Florida and provided a big
opportunity for Nottingham.
The Miami Dolphins alumni chapter put him
in touch with the Associated Grocers of Florida,
which represents thousands of stores across
the state from Key West all the way up to the
Nottingham discovered that a lot of the
association’s member stores couldn’t find anybody
to talk to them about insurance in the wake of
Nottingham set up a captive insurance agency
for the group and managed that for almost 10 years,
until 2006, before the nonstop traveling caught up
He quit and figured he would just hang out his
shingle, he said. “It gave me a chance to serve the
kind of clients I liked best: businesses with one
helper to 50 to 100 employees.”
But then adversity struck. Nottingham learned
“I THOROUGHLY AND
ABSOLUTELY ENJOY WORKING
WITH SMALL BUSINESSES.
THEY’RE THE BACKBONE
OF AMERICA AS FAR AS I’M
—Don Nottingham, former fullback,
Baltimore Colts and Miami Dolphins
STEVE YAHN, the former editor of Advertising
Age, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.