July 22, 2015

Profile: Tom Hutton, Jr.

By Jane Aldinger
– Memphis Business Journal –

Tom Hutton Jr. traded his football pads for a position at Boyle Investment Co. in January 2001, but he didn’t leave everything he learned in the National Football League on the field.

The transition from professional football to real estate was a tough one, but he says he has been working on his “graduate degree in real estate” at Boyle and hopes to find the same success in the business that he found in football.

The two careers are similar when it comes to competition and pressure, but those pressures – finding tenants in this depressed real estate market or having 11 professional football players eye you as a tackling target – are starkly different, at least in the uniform.

“Playing football was an everyday, normal job,” he says. “I just didn’t wear a coat and tie.”

Playing for the Philadelphia Eagles in an NFC playoff game versus the Dallas Cowboys, Hutton says he was looking across the field at Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin and Deion Sanders.

“That’s when it really hit me that I was playing in the big leagues,” Hutton says. “I didn’t really have time to reflect, but that time is when I really felt like it was amazing.”

But playing with the likes of Dan Marino, Randall Cunningham and other football stars taught him that everybody, no matter how much hype or accolades they receive, is a normal person underneath.

“I’m not scared to talk to anybody,” he says.

Hutton was the starting punter at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville for the 1991-1994 seasons and went on to a five year career in the National Football League, playing for the Eagles and Miami Dolphins.

After graduating from Memphis University School, Hutton decided he wanted to stay in the Southeastern Conference and started with UT’s squad as a freshman walk-on with the intention of possibly making the traveling team as a sophomore or junior. To his surprise, he started his first game as a freshman. That first game was a nationally televised match up with the University of Louisville.

“Coach (Johnny) Majors came up to me and said, “Tom, you’re going to be punting tonight. Just hang ‘em high and long,’” he says. “My first punt at UT went 47 yards and landed on the one yard line. I was so excited, and my teammates tackled me and slammed me on the turf. I didn’t even feel it.”

Hutton says he didn’t have NFL aspirations and had planned on attending law school, following in the footsteps of his father. He wasn’t drafted out of college, but got a chance as a free agent to join the Philadelphia Eagles.

Hutton led the NFL in gross punting average for the first 12 weeks of his rookie season and was named to the NFL All Rookie Team. After that season, the Eagles signed him to a three-year deal.

A knee injury sidelined Hutton after his contract at Philadelphia was up, and he began working at Trammell Crow Co. in Memphis. But then Miami came calling, and Hutton found himself leaving TCC two weeks into the NFL’s season to return to the field.

“One week I’m working at Trammell Crow, and the next week I’m playing against the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football,” he says.

Hutton is working as a leasing agent and property manager under Mark Halperin and Kathy Pampuro. He says he decided to work of Boyle at the end of his NFL career because of the company’s reputation for consistent quality development.

“I knew Mark and Kathy were two of the best, and I wanted to learn under them,” he says.

Hutton also appreciates the opportunity to learn both the leasing and management sides under Boyle’s property operations managers Shellie Moses and Pete Gross.

Kyle Rote Jr., CEO of Athletic Resource Management, was Hutton’s agent throughout his professional football career and attributes much of Hutton’s success on the field to his strong set of core values.

“He’s totally trustworthy – I’d trust him with my wife, my kids and my money, and that’s about as high a compliment as I could give,” Rote says. “He’s the kind of person that you want your daughter to marry.”

In 1998, Hutton married his wife, Garnett; the two were set up by their grandmothers, who were bridge partners. The couple has two daughters, Garnett, 3 and Callie, 6 months.

Hutton is an avid outdoorsman and says he likes to hunt and play golf more than he likes to watch football. He is also a board member for the Children’s Museum of Memphis and Carnival Memphis as well as actively involved in Street Ministries and Independent Presbyterian Church.

Asked what he misses most about playing in the NFL, Hutton says with a laugh, “the only thing I miss about the pros is the paychecks.”