Dec. 13, 2014
By Matt Winkeljohn
The Good Word
You might remember him as a mop-topped, kinda little guy who seemed to always be running around without pattern, and Matt Causey made his mark again Saturday at Georgia Tech by having never stopped moving.
He just didn’t do it while on The Flats.
Causey earned his Executive MBA from Tech, but he’s stayed home in Austin, Texas, rather than walk through graduation ceremonies.
He hasn’t stopped running around in life, and the former Yellow Jacket guard has earned the right to skip formality.
Having traveled to Atlanta many, many times from Boca Raton, Fla., or Tallahassee, or Texas or some other flung locale where work might have taken him to crash Causey his way to his MBA, the guy deserves a break.
He and his wife, former Tech student Lindsay Weisbrodt, and their eight-month-old son have earned more weekend time together.
“For the past 18 months I’ve been flying and driving from Florida and Texas three out of four weekends for classes from 5 to 9:30 on Fridays and then on Saturdays from 8 to 5:30,” Causey explained. “I’m throwing a big program in Austin for my company.”
That company, Biotronik, is based in Berlin, Germany, and specializes chiefly in producing medical equipment that helps diagnose and treat heart rhythm. Much of their inventory is pacemakers and defibrillators.
Causey manages a large sales territory that includes Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas and Omaha, Neb.
He’s been quite a moving target since graduating from Tech in 2008 with a degree in biology/pre-med, and that’s no different than when he played for Tech.
After one year at Georgetown, and two at North Georgia College & State University near his hometown of Gainesville, Causey transferred to Tech in 2006 and sat out a season per NCAA transfer rules.
Just 6-feet tall, that might’ve seemed like an odd move, but for Causey – who comes from a family of athletic, high achievers – it was natural.
He grew up attending a slew of Tech athletic events with his grandfather, Jack Causey (EE, ’49). The folks in Tallahassee, in fact, learned about that.
“I never let them forget that I was there the last time Georgia Tech won a national championship [in football], with my grandfather,” he said. “Probably the most memorable moment of my Tech career, and probably one of my worst games, was when I got to start against Charlotte [Nov. 16, 2007].
“I was able to look up in the stands and see little kids with their dads and grandparents and it struck me because I grew up with my grandfather going to watch Stephon Marbury, Matt Harpring, and here I was on the same court in Alexander Memorial Coliseum. It was a special moment.”
Causey scored four points with seven assists that day.
On the heels of the rampage at North Georgia, where he’d put up big numbers in averaging more than 23 points and nearly seven assists for the Saints, his was a rather low-key launch on the Flats.
Then, after carrying a scoring average of 5.1 points over the Jackets’ first 16 games, Causey took off like a rocket – sometimes without fins.
Virginia Tech was first in the flight path.
On Jan. 19, 2008, three days after Tech fell 83-82 in AMC to No. 1 North Carolina, Causey came off the bench to score 30 in an 81-70 win over the Hokies. Folks in the Coliseum were going nuts as he drilled 7-of-12 3-point shots in 22 minutes.
Sure, he had five turnovers, but that mattered less than the points.
The barrage continued as he scored 18 points in each of the Jackets’ next two games, wins at N.C. State and Virginia – where he scored 12 in overtime.
There was a helter-skelter style to the way Causey went about basketball, and his body paid a price.
He missed two games as a precaution after suffering a concussion Feb. 27 against Duke, and otherwise in his senior season he played through a partially dislocated kneecap, a separated shoulder, and a dislocated jaw.
Causey not only stays in touch with Smith, he went into business with him for a while after graduation.
First, though, he veered wildly from his major when soon after college he went to work for Merrill Lynch, and became a financial advisor for a year or so.
The long-held goal of going to medical school began slipping away during Causey’s last year-plus as an undergraduate, when he regularly would opine about financial matters. He did not change majors, yet changed his focus.
“I fell in love with the stocks and the stock market,” he recalled. “I read 30 or 40 books my senior year. I was lucky enough to get an opportunity with no econ or finance classes.”
A number of medical device companies continued recruiting Causey, but before he went down that path he and Smith started a sports marketing company. “We focused on getting endorsements,” he explained.
That lasted about a year before the two former teammates let the company dissolve after Smith decided to resume his playing career in Europe.
Finally, St. Judes – which never stopped trying to hire Causey – broke through.
After Causey worked there for a while, he transitioned to Biotronik.
Upon returning to school at Tech, Causey made much of his time. He was on the team that won the venture capital competition in designing a medical device that is meant to help doctors open airways, to intubate.
Causey made lasting connections at Tech in both tours as a student. He stays in touch with multiple former teammates.
“I keep in touch with Thaddeus [Young] a good bit. He’s still the most humble person I’ve ever met in my life; I couldn’t speak higher of any person,” he said. “Jeremis and I went to his wedding. “Ty Anderson, my best friend, is back from Cambodia, where he was for two years with the Peace Corps.”
Basketball remains in Causey’s blood, even if it may not be medically advisable.
He returned to the game last week, playing for the first time in a year or so, and said, “It went pretty well. The shot was still there, but my body didn’t do what I wanted it to do all the time. I actually went to Dick’s Sporting Goods the other day to buy an indoor/outdoor ball so my son won’t think all the stories are fake.”