The Coaching Staff

Eric Smith is the founder of The EKS Group, LLC, and creator of The Financial Literacy Coach and The Money Game Literacy Program. With over 28 years of success in the financial industry, Eric has the expertise needed to teach students how to succeed financially, no matter which career they choose to enter after college.

For nearly thirty years, Eric Smith was a successful lender and banking executive in the Atlanta, Georgia area. During the nineties, Eric was one of the highest producing mortgage originators in the metro area originating over one half billion dollars of residential mortgages.

As a commercial lender and manager, he originated and managed nearly one billion dollars of loans, making him one of the highest producing commercial lenders in the metro Atlanta market. As the youngest executive officer of a regional banking company, Eric was involved in the credit review of thousands, many of whom have been professional athletes.

Eric graduated with honors from Georgia State University and from the Graduate Banking School at LSU. He understands the importance of community service and has served previously as a Director of the Midwest Georgia Homebuilders Association, a county representative for a State of Georgia Water Planning Board, and as Finance Chair for the Boy Scouts. He currently serves as a board member and Vice Chairman of his local County Water Authority. He resides in Coweta County, Georgia with his wife, two children, two dogs, one cat and thirty seven chickens. He is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys hunting, fishing, and amateur farming. He has a work ethic that he describes as crazy compulsive and makes it a point to never take himself too seriously.

Eric is the founder of The EKS Group, LLC and was the first ever financial literacy speaker to be included on the NCAA’s Speaker Registry. As a financial literacy presenter and speaker, Eric has shared his financial education programs to tens of thousands of collegiate student athletes all across the country. He has also presented at many NFL rookie camps including the Miami Dolphins, Seattle Seahawks, Denver Broncos, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts and Carolina Panthers. Eric was an invited presenter at the NCAA-NFL Life Skills Summit, the NCAA Leadership Forum, and the 2013 NBA Draft Program. Eric has also taught financial success programs to many of the NBA D-League teams. Eric's passion is helping to encourage, educate and equip student athletes to make better financial decisions. He is very passionate about using his skills and abilities as a cash flow expert to help student athletes increase their chances of winning their own "Money Game."

Xavier Peoples combines over ten years experience in the banking industry with the success as an entrepreneur and a passion for servant leadership. He holds a bachelors degree in Finance from the University of West Georgia. He started his career at the Federal Reserve Bank where he was a Financial Analyst in the Financial Statistic and Structural Analysis division. Eventually, he moved to Wachovia where he worked as a banker selling securities, amongst many other products, to high net-worth clients in the greater Atlanta area. He also worked for Union Bank where he was responsible for assessing risk for over 12 billion dollars in the Commercial Real Estate Portfolio and Global Treasury Management Portfolio. Xavier currently serves as the South Regional Finance Manager for Zurich North America.

In his community, Xavier has founded programs at local schools, community centers, and churches to teach young people about the importance of entrepreneurship, saving and investing. He believes that financial literacy is the 21st century’s Civil Rights Movement. He has spoken to over 5,000 young people in communities throughout California and Georgia. And for successful graduates of his program, he has donated seed money to allow these ambitious young men and women to open up their first savings accounts. Xavier will keep seeking ways to make a difference and to share all that he has learned - and continues to learn.

A proud member of
the National Association of Academic Advisors
for Athletes (N4A)