Basketball star one year after graduation

Kyle Poerschke | Courtesy

After leaving the court Kyle Poerschke began his own golf apparel brand while growing a social media presence

Alumnus Kyle Poerschke has been making a name for himself after leaving collegiate sports through social media, podcasts, and his business Beaver Tail Gang, which has over 26 thousand followers on TikTok.

Poerschke graduated from UTD in December 2023 with his master’s in marketing, and while Poerschke may have left the basketball court after establishing a UTD record for most points scored in a single game, his presence in sports lives on digitally. Starting “thebrandretired” with his best friend of two years, Lauren Fulenwider, was a turning point for Poerschke, as both sought new activities after leaving collegiate sports. “thebrandretired” has gathered 206 followers on Instagram and dozens of views on YouTube under the name “retired,” a podcast for athletes to find meaning in their journey after retirement from sports.

Poerschke’s main goal with “thebrandretired” was to create a platform to help make the transition from sports to retirement seamless, to help retirees gain confidence that they could live a life of meaning and fulfillment while acknowledging the role sports has played in it. Additionally, while Poerschke’s main aim was to help retirees, he said he was also healing a part of himself.

“I’ve missed playing basketball, I’ve missed going to practice every day and missed going on trips,” Poerschke said. “And I’ve missed just playing with the guys.”

In addition to this, another goal of the brand was to highlight how athletes can make the most out of a DIII sports experience while emphasizing the importance of mental health.

“Who am I now that I don’t have this sport with me? It’s definitely a part of you that’s gone,” Fulenwider said.

This journey of growth has Poerschke’s endeavors during and after basketball. Starting a golf apparel company with his brother called “Beaver Tail Gang” helped Poerschke connect with his creative drive further and hone into his marketing and business skills. BTG gained a loyal following and sold out in its first cycle in the summer of 2023.

“[BTG’s goal was to] build an apparel brand or something that has to do with sports that sticks,”Poerschke said.

Poerschke’s drive for the sport also shone through interactions with his teammates and coach. According to Terry Butterfield, Poerschke’s coach at UTD, Poerschke’s determination on the court showed through his strong communication and leadership skills. Additionally, the pressure of being a good player never bogged Kyle down. His ability to forge connections on the team quickly became a hallmark of his character.

“He really bought into our culture and the dynamics of our team,” Butterfield said. And it wasn’t long before Kyle rose through the ranks and became a leader on our team.”

Even in his classes, professors said Poerschke’s ability to adapt to new environments and expand his horizons was evident. He consistently tried to find connections with articles read in class and tried to apply them in his learning process. Poerschke’s game theory professor Ram Rao encouraged him to expand his world view and build awareness of current events. And while Kyle may be assertive on the court, Rao saw humility and boldness in him.

“It’d be easy for him to impose his physical presence … he came across as approachable … he always wore a smile on his face,” Rao said.

Poerschke’s journey has not been linear, from basketball to business to videography. His recent internship at NextLevel Thinking, a marketing strategy company, is a testament to his ability to work in leadership roles and adapt to new environments. The imperfections of his past and the promise of have amalgamated to create a society where he not only grows himself but affects others around him positively.

“He’s always been a great friend to me, he’s a good listener. He’s also just goofy. He doesn’t take life too seriously,” Fulenwider said.

In terms of his work ethic, Poerschke’s determination in the classroom and on the court exudes self-assurance and a hard-working mindset. Throughout Kyle’s time as a basketball player, he has not only forged new connections but held onto old ones. Poerschke’s growth from the highest points scored in one game to taking up new ventures holds promise for all those around him — especially Butterfield.

“He can be a little understated,” Butterfield said. “But listen, he’s got the heart of a lion. And seeing that passion in him doesn’t surprise me at all.”

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