“Sean was an American success story: he had come from nothing and made himself rich,” wrote Michael Lewis in THE BLIND SIDE, the bestselling book that inspired the major motion picture starring Sandra Bullock (who won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role) and Tim McGraw. THE BLIND SIDE tells the story of Michael Oher, a homeless teenager turned first round draft pick NFL football player with the support and love of an unlikely adoptive family: the Tuohys. Sean Tuohy, Michael’s adoptive father, was a record-breaking basketball player before becoming a successful entrepreneur and NBA broadcaster.
Sean Tuohy knew from personal experience what it meant to be the poor kid in a private school. Raised in New Orleans, Tuohy’s father coached basketball at the prestigious Isidore Newman School. After his father suffered a massive stroke, Sean continued to attend the private school, where he found himself on his own more than he ever anticipated.
With sports as his “meal ticket” through high school and college, Sean left New Orleans for the University of Mississippi on a basketball scholarship. When Sean walked off the court after his final game, he had shattered every major SEC assists-related record and become a legend in the SEC Hall of Fame for leading the Ole Miss Rebels to their first and only Championship.
Drafted by the NBA’s New Jersey Nets in 1982, he opted to continue his career overseas before returning to the United States to be with his father in his final days. He became a successful entrepreneur, building a company that now owns and operates 70 fast food restaurants, including Taco Bell and Long John Silver’s franchises.
Sean has been married to his college cheerleader sweetheart, the former Leigh Anne Roberts, for 27 years, and they are the proud parents of daughter Collins (23) and sons Michael Oher (23) and Sean Jr. (16).
Sean is also in his ninth season as an NBA broadcaster for the Memphis Grizzlies, after several years as an analyst for radio broadcasts at Ole Miss as well as national broadcasts for Westwood One and CBS radio.
In addition to his demanding business, broadcasting, school and church schedules (he also helped to create one of the fastest growing evangelical churches in Memphis, the Grace Evangelical Church), Sean is heavily involved in supporting several minority students at Briarcrest Christian School. “It’s easy to beat a kid up. The hard thing is to build him up,” Sean says. With that philosophy in mind, Sean and Leigh Anne brought Michael into their home, supported him through school, and eventually adopted him as their son.
Sean and Leigh Anne share their firsthand account of the process that brought Michael into their family in their new book, IN A HEARTBEAT: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving. Sean is also a highly- requested speaker. At the podium, he invites audiences to go behind the scenes of the Tuohy household with a heartwarming message: “In our house, we believe in miracles.” Sharing personal anecdotes with his signature southern charm, Sean brings THE BLIND SIDE to life. From the perspective of a dedicated father and inspirational coach, Sean asks all of us to consider a simple question: how many other kids just like Michael Oher are falling through the cracks every day? And how can we make an impact big enough to change a broken system?
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