HomeGrown: Will Bartholomew & D1 Sports

From Peyton Manning to Tim Tebow, there's a good chance you'll find a professional athlete training at D1 Sports. Will Bartholomew, a former Tennessee Vol, started the company in Nashville a decade ago. Now, with more than a dozen locations including Knoxville, the company, like it's creator, is a HomeGrown success.

D1 Sports, are house hold names among athletes. "Eric Berry, Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, Tim Tebow, all train here," said Will Bartholomew. "I started the company ten years ago, training kids in a field and called it D1 because I wanted to train them like a division one athlete." Through D1, Will gives players of all sizes the same opportunities for athletic prowess he found as a Tennessee Vol. "I put on 30 pounds in college. I got faster, stronger. I ran my fastest times weighing my heaviest just because I was a lot stronger." Still, you could say sports were always second nature to the Nashville native. "I played baseball. I was a gymnast." At Montgomery Bell Academy, Will earned All-State in football, wrestling and track. It's no surprise, he had several college scholarship offers which made for a tough decision. "I took a visit to Princeton. I took a visit to West Point, where my dad played." In the end, Will choice Rocky Top just like his grandfather. "My grandfather was team captain back in 1939 at the University of Tennessee. I just really felt the tradition of being a part of that." It proved to be a wise decision. Some of Will's career highlights include- winning a national championship, serving as team captain and his personal favorite, beating the Gators at the Swamp after 9-11. "From the first snap, we ran the ball down their throat." As a vol, he also met his wife, Shelly. "We got married my red-shirt freshman year, so we've been married now 12 years." After college, Will dreamed of playing in the NFL. "I blew my knee out my first year with the Denver Broncos in training camp." The injury was career ending. However, D1 Sports, allows him to be on a playing field once again with former teammates. He's especially grateful to one of his co-owners. "I blocked for him once, a guy by the name of Peyton Manning. He believed in me and got behind this company." To date, there are 13 D1 Sports locations. And yes, with a daughter and 2 sons, Will says another generation of Vols is in the making. "Obviously, they're training at D1, so we got em working out... pushups, situps, the whole drill," laughed Will. Will Bartholomew and D1 sports, born in Nashville, HomeGrown in Tennessee. "There's no better place than Tennessee for a company, for raising a family, for that tradition. And, I want my kids to be a part of that. I want my kids to love this state."/>

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