Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam, translated from Latin as “For the greater glory of God,” is a Jesuit motto that guides every aspect of education at Saint Ignatius High School.
A.M.D.G. is a motto of sorts for countless alumni who have incorporated it in their business names, passion projects and some have even tattooed the phrase on their bodies as a permanent reminder that all things are not done for our own glory, but for God's.
For Le'Charles Bentley '98, A.M.D.G. is a way of life.
So when the successful Saint Ignatius alumnus decided to branch out into sports representation, he named his new sports agency AMDG Sports.
"A.M.D.G. is how you do anything and everything that you do," Bentley says. "It means striving to be the best husband, father, entrepreneur, and person you can be. God has granted us all a level of ability. Each of us is tasked with taking our talents and abilities and maximizing them. A.M.D.G. means maximizing what God has given us."
AMDG Sports will look to help offensive line athletes maximize their talents. The agency is the first to cater to offensive linemen.
"Everything Le'Charles does, he's successful at," says Head Football Coach Chuck Kyle '69. "Not only does he have a good idea, but he works doggedly to be successful at it. His work ethic pays off. He deserves credit not only for the concepts and ideas he comes up with, but for the quality hours he spends to make it a reality."
Bentley enjoyed an illustrious career as an offensive lineman in college and the NFL after excelling at Saint Ignatius. A four-year letterman at The Ohio State University, Bentley won the Rimington Trophy as college football's best center in 2001. Bentley acquired a bachelor's degree from Ohio State, majoring in human development and family science.
Drafted in the second round of the 2002 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints, Bentley immediately made an impact. Sports Illustrated named him its Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2002, and one year later, Bentley made the NFL Pro Bowl. In 2004 and 2005, Bentley was voted to the Pro Bowl again. In 2006, Bentley joined the Cleveland Browns.
With the Browns, Bentley suffered an unfortunate injury that ended his career and nearly his life.
But Bentley's story is not one of heartbreak, but of triumph. Not long after his NFL career ended, his career as a coach, mentor, and offensive line expert began.
He soon founded LeCharles Bentley O-line Performance, the first training center in the country designed solely around the needs of offensive linemen. The state-of-the-art facility in Scottsdale, Arizona, is a mecca for linemen looking to improve at their craft.
Ten years later, after plenty of planning, Bentley decided to expand his business to sports representation.
"The business was unique in developing offensive linemen, so it expanded and grew. I always wanted to build into repping players," Bentley says. "This is 10 years in the making. I want to give athletes a vision of what could be possible in their lives."
To be sure, Bentley's business will focus on ensuring players earn as much as possible. But that's not the end goal for Bentley. This business is so much more than that.
AMDG Sports is all about providing other opportunities to athletes.
"Every athlete hopes to be the best they can be. Every athlete wants to be the starting quarterback, running back, or left tackle. Oftentimes the focus is just on the sport, to be singular in how we think and live," Bentley says. "But it's all about life after football. That's the key. My goal is this: When it's all said and done, the player will be exposed to what we do for the training, nutrition, and more. They can maximize their opportunity in sports, but also to grow as a person and a man. I want them to see what's possible in their lives, to live empowering lives. I want them to know that you have more to offer the world in your career."
First and foremost, Bentley hopes to help athletes know that they have so much to offer the world beyond sports.
At the start of every business venture, an entrepreneur lays out goals and ambitions. As he looks into the future, Bentley hopes he'll be able to shift attitudes in the industry to create change for athletes.
"My biggest ambition is to help players shift their mindsets away from the current climate in regards to sports representation. Right now, it's rooted in fantasy and that's not empowering to the athlete," Bentley says. "That world is full of misleading truths, which take away from the athlete's ability to see beyond the football field. Here's what I'm trying to accomplish: I want players to maximize their value not as a football player, but their value as a human being. Many label former football players as stupid. That's not true. I want to help athletes believe in what tomorrow could look like if you commit and take skills to transform them into life."
Wildcats' Offensive Coordinator Nick Restifo Hon. '19 is confident that Bentley will be successful.
"He knows that linemen don't always get the big bucks, unlike quarterbacks and running backs. And sometimes those guys get ripped off by agents. He's going to be good to his players," Restifo says. "He'll treat them right. He has a good group of people around him to help him out. And of course, he has so much knowledge from when he played, he can help these guys wade through the harmful stuff. I'm so happy for Le'Charles. God Bless him."
Chuck Kyle once taught Bentley the lesson that athletics is only one piece of the puzzle. Bentley remembers two stories from Saint Ignatius that ingrained the importance of viewing athletics through a wider lens.
The first occurred during a Wildcats' weekday practice on Wasmer Field and illustrated that principles come before wins.
"We were practicing against the scout team. One of the scout guys was going extra hard and extra competitive. I didn't appreciate it," Bentley begins. "So, I took my effort to the next level to teach him a lesson. Coach Kyle pulled me to the side after that play. He said, 'That's not who we are and what we do.' And he sent me to the sideline. He wasn't willing to sacrifice what he believed for an end result. Few coaches are willing to sacrifice success in order to get players to see what the bigger picture is about. You don't often get that in athletics. So many coaches in athletics are willing to trade principles for wins. Not Coach Kyle."
The second story occurred during his junior year at Saint Ignatius. It demonstrated the importance of academics.
"During my junior year, I let my grades slide and I became ineligible before we played Euclid in the playoffs. My mother said I was done with football. She didn't send me to Ignatius to play football. After all, I didn't start playing football until ninth grade," Bentley explains. "Ignatius won the game, but my mom was adamant, 'You're not playing football.' Coach Kyle and Coach Marty Eynon drove to my house, in inner-city Cleveland on the East Side. They had a sit-down conversation with my mother, along the lines of, 'We will do a better job of holding him accountable academically. It's not about football. We feel that if we can keep him involved in athletics, we'll be able to keep an eye on him.' My mom made Coach Kyle and Coach Eynon promise that I would never be academically behind again. My grades were never again an issue at Ignatius or in college."
So, how do you show athletes a life after football?
Bentley has a plan for that.
"Developing a football player is not rocket science. It's not hard. What is more challenging with the modern-day athlete is to get players to see what's possible within athletics. You have to show the athletes within the broader ecosystem of athletics," Bentley says. "You're not capable of convincing someone before you see it. You need to show examples. I want a kid to see himself as the guy designing the field or the turf, or doing surgeries, or doing rehab, or representing athletes, or developing better equipment, or making the game safer. I want to help athletes see themselves outside of the white lines or the basketball court."
If you're an NFL offensive linemen, you want the Saint Ignatius Athletic Hall of Famer on your side.
"When I think about Le'Charles, I think about someone who is fiercely loyal and very very smart. He loves offensive linemen and is unbelievably hard-working," says Athletic Director Rory Fitzpatrick '88. "If you're in pro sports and an offensive lineman, I don't know how you wouldn't want Le'Charles on your side. He's going to take care of you; he understands the game better than anybody. If you're an offensive lineman and you're going to the league, I'd be hard-pressed to imagine there's a better guy to represent you than Le'Charles. Everything he's touched has been successful. He's so smart and works so hard with his businesses."
And beyond his work with NFL athletes, Bentley is an influential member of the community.
At Saint Ignatius, his work has been most evident with the Le'Charles Bentley '98 5th Grade Leadership Academy. The academy supports 35 future leaders from the Greater Cleveland area who attend various Catholic, private and public grade schools, focusing on language arts, mathematics, handwriting, typing and leadership development. The goal of the program is to provide each young scholar with 18 intensive academic Saturdays from October through February with an emphasis on core values, eventually helping students to transition to Saint Ignatius High School or another high school of their choice.
That work would not be possible without Bentley.
Bentley also established the Verneda Bentley Endowed Scholarship Program, providing substantial scholarships for select REACHing MAGIS graduates at Saint Ignatius.
It all comes back to A.M.D.G.
"I try to keep everything in my life rooted in my foundation: family and my formative experiences," Bentley says. "One of my most formative experiences was my time at Saint Ignatius. It's a blessing to have been around men like Coach Kyle and Marty Eynon who valued me more than as a football player."
Coach Kyle could not be more pleased with his successful student.
"I'm so proud of him. He is a great example for young people. He is the model of an Ignatius man."