After excelling in sports years ago as a student at Shawnee Mission South, Kevin Rabbitt has made a career in the business.
Rabbitt is currently CEO of NEP, which provides production services for TV and works with ESPN, NBC, CBS, Fox and Sky News. The company has worked the Olympics, the Masters, Wimbledon, the French Open and U.S. Open, Sunday and Monday Night Football, national games for CBS and Fox, plus the last five Super Bowls.
NEP also handled the Home Run Derby at the 2012 All-Star Game in Kansas City.
Rabbitt, 42, made a lasting impression while attending Shawnee Mission South. During his sophomore year, he was on the state championship soccer team. That same year he was the point guard on the Raiders’ basketball team that placed third. The team was undefeated his junior year until the last regular-season game, when he broke his ankle.
The 1989-90 season was a special year with SM South going undefeated at 25-0 and capturing the Class 6A state title.
“We expected to win regardless of the situation,” Rabbitt said. “Our team had worked hard in the summer, preparing well for every game, knowing our roles and simply expected to win.
“That was a great feeling, both going into the season and finishing undefeated.”
Junior Greg Gurley hit a 25-foot three-pointer very late the game to turn a one-point deficit into a two-point win over Wichita South in the state championship game in Emporia. But it was Rabbitt who was the driving force in beating Wichita Heights in overtime in the semifinals.
At the end of regulation, a Falcons player missed a free throw.
“I grabbed the rebound and drove to the basket,” he said.
He was fouled making one of two free throws at the buzzer to tie the game.
After high school, he spent a year at Marshalltown (Iowa) Community College and then played three years at Rice. Rabbitt later stayed in the Houston area. He was an assistant coach at Texas State, worked in the front office of the Houston Rockets and was president of the Texas Ice Stadium for a year.
Then he went to Harvard Business School for his MBA.
Since receiving his MBA, he has worked in executive positions in several companies in Las Vegas and Southern California.
“I was recruited by NEP to be their CEO 18 months ago,” he said. “We have offices in New York, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, London and in Brazil. We do remote productions, video display and studio production.”
And his past experience in sports has helped him throughout his career.
“Sports is one of the best learning grounds,” he said. “Leadership and building teams are what makes a great company.”