Getting things done the AU way

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The similarities between football and renovations may not be obvious, but Sebastian Clovis gets it.

Clovis has gone from playing professional football in the CFL while studying with Athabasca University — to hosting a home renovation show on HGTV Canada called Tackle My Reno. He knows that the common thread for football and renovations are teamwork and focus.

“The main similarities are that you have to be able to work with a team and understand what everyone is doing in order to achieve a certain objective,” he says. “On a renovation site, you have to coordinate a lot of different people, a lot of different tasks, to accomplish a common goal. I learned to work with a team on the football field, and that skill has translated to my renovation career.”

Combining CFL football with university studies

After playing football with the SMU Huskies at St. Mary’s University in Halifax, N.S., and winning two Vanier Cups, Clovis was drafted by the B.C. Lions in 2005. At the time, he was one course short of completing his BA in psychology. He needed to be able to take that last course while training and playing both at home and on the road. AU was able to provide the academic flexibility that he needed.

“Athabasca was the perfect solution for me. AU showed me that there’s more than one way to get things done,” he says. “It was a fantastic experience.”

After a knee injury in 2005, Clovis returned to the field the following year and brought home the Grey Cup with the Lions. After another knee injury in 2007, he moved on to the Saskatchewan Roughriders, played one more season, then retired from football.

All the while, he was working on that final course with AU that he needed to complete his BA. He finished and graduated with his degree in 2008 and went on to start his own renovation company in Toronto.

. . . then came Tackle My Reno

Since he was a teenager, Clovis has been doing home renovations. While running his company, a friend working for HGTV told his producers about Clovis. He was interviewed on-site where he was working, and they liked what they saw.

In Tackle My Reno, which premiered on Aug. 26, 2014, Clovis coaches homeowners who have tried to do their own renovations and need some help to complete the project.

“I don’t do the work,” he says. “I take them under my wing and coach them up and we see it through together.”

If you’d like to learn more about Clovis and Tackle My Reno, visit Clovis’s official website, Or if you have questions about Athabasca University, visit us at

AU partnership with the CFL Players Association

In 2014, AU became the official education provider for CFL players. If you’re a CFL player looking to further your education, find out how this partnership could benefit you by visiting

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