Joliet Catholic Academy football star, and current Indianapolis Colts tight end Coby Fleener ’07 has always been the epitome of student-athlete. The former Hilltopper parlayed his athletic and academic success into a full scholarship to Stanford out of high school. Now entering his fourth season in the NFL with the Colts, Fleener continues to prove he’s not your normal professional athlete.
He’s as unique off the field as he is on it. Most NFL tight ends don’t spend part of their summer vacation walking teenagers through the basics of computer coding. But most tight ends aren’t Fleener. He’s an NFL anomaly. He’s an intellectual. He calls his home life “boring.” He reads. He blogs. He tweets about global markets.
“There’s no HBO ‘Ballers’ life for me,” Fleener says, offering a statement that surprises no one.
Fleener recently introduced a six hour crash course in computer coding to 60 middle schoolers at the Colts’ training complex. The program was developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is known as “Coby’s Coding Camp”.
He earned a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University in Science, Technology and Society. Suffice to say he knows what he’s talking about. He’s a tech junkie who hopes to one day work in Silicon Valley. He wants to invent something, to create something.
“Easier said than done,” Fleener cautions. “Everybody in America imagines themselves one step away from creating the next big app.”
Even NFL tight ends? In Fleener’s case, yes. But all of that — Silicon Valley, the next big app, life after football — will have to wait. On this afternoon Fleener is busy answering questions from a room full of ambitious young computer programmers. He’s in his element.