About the Author

Russ Hafferkamp is Co-Founder of Career Athletes. He is regarded as the leading advocate and counselor for collegiate and elite athletes as they transition from post-competition into their non-sports careers.


Since pioneering the Athlete Career Counseling movement over 20 years ago, Russ is now recognized as the leading voice and coach in the career development and transition of collegiate and elite athletes. He is the author of “CareerBall: The Sport Athletes Play When They’re Through Playing Sports” and “CareerBall: The Student-Athlete Career Guide and Handbook”. Russ has been featured in mainstream and sports industry media for his success in this area and has been a speaker at major corporations and leading universities. He is a former NCAA All-American athlete, coach and successful CEO and currently has a private career counseling and coaching practice, providing advice and counsel to over 800 former collegiate and elite athletes.


Career Athletes and its predecessor companies (Athletes4Hire, Competitive Resources Group) is the leading provider of a wide range of career development training, education, job placement and alumni athlete social networking services within collegiate athletics. Since 1998, over 600,000 athletes in every sport, from over 1,200 individual colleges and universities nationwide, have utilized Career Athletes as a valuable tool in their transition from athletics to the workplace.

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With over 25 years of heading a variety of market-leading technology and consumer-product companies, Russ has directed and managed the human resource development of thousands of sales, service, finance, operations, science and technical employees for large publicly-held and start-up companies such as Tiffany & Company (TIF), On-Assignment (ASGN) and Centex Telemanagement (CNTX).


Russ has been a member of the NBC Olympic broadcasting team for the sport of Water Polo, serving in the capacity of technical and statistician/analyst at the Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and the London 2012 Olympiads. Throughout his business career, Russ has held a variety of leadership and governance positions in the not-for-profit sector. He was Executive Director, President and Chair of the San Francisco Sports Council, interim Chief Operating Officer and Board Director of e-Outdoors, Vice President and Board Director of The Olympic Club Foundation and member of the Board of Directors and Executive Council for USA Water Polo. Russ currently serves as an advisor and consultant to a number of early stage entrepreneurial organizations and is an Independent Director of MyFreight World Technologies, (MYFT), a publically held transportation freight logistics firm.


As a competitive athlete, Russ has been an NCAA and multiple USA Water Polo All American, has won numerous US National and FINA World Championships and still competes for The Olympic Club of San Francisco. He has been a member of the US National Team in Water Polo and is a 3-time MVP at the US National Championships. Russ has been a successful NCAA Men’s and Women’s Head and Assistant Coach at leading universities including UC Santa Barbara, UC San Diego, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and California- Berkeley, and holds elite coaching certification from USA Water Polo. He is currently the men’s assistant coach at Cal Berkeley and women’s head coach for The Olympic Club, a top-ranked Open Division and national championship Master’s Division club team. Russ is a member of the Hall of Fame of The Olympic Club of San Francisco, the oldest athletic club in the United States, and a member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, representing the sport of Master’s Water Polo.


Russ earned his Bachelors of Science degree from San Diego State University and undergraduate certification in Science, Exercise and Sport Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He was a member of the All-Academic team and was selected first team All-American to both the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference (PCAA) and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Russ lives in northern California and watches his two daughters compete in Water Polo with an ever-present eye on their career planning.