Quietly walking the halls of John Carroll University amidst its 3,000-plus students is one of the best shooters in the world. Competing in trap and skeet, sporting clays and compact, sophomore David Radulovich travels every weekend to tournaments across the U.S. and the world. All the while, the nine-time world champion shooter manages to find time to pursue a degree from the Boler School of Business and coach in his free time.
Many never discover their passion. Radulovich discovered his passion for shooting at age eight. Vacationing with his family at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Southwestern Pennsylvania, Radulovich’s father went out shooting. The young Radulovich asked his dad to give him a try. Even after his father said no, the youngster continued to beg and plead. The elder Radulovich finally relented two hours later, giving his son a shot.
The future world champion did not disappoint. “I ended up hitting eight out of the ten targets, though they were easy targets,” Radulovich recalled. “I absolutely loved it. I fell in love with it.”
As the two prepared to leave, the Radulovich’s guide pulled aside David’s father, encouraging him to allow the youngster to continue shooting. He did, and his son’s career soon took off.
At the age of 11, Radulovich became the youngest person ever to win a major Fédération Internationale de Tir Armes Sportives de Chasse (FITASC) title. His accolades continued to pile on from there. The list seems endless, as Radulovich racked up more championships and medals than one would think possible.
Many in the shooting world, including some of the young sport’s best competitors, took notice of the talented youngster. Sponsors approached Radulovich, and before he knew it, the talented shooter was competing in more matches than ever before. He even turned to shooting legend Wendell Cherry for his help. Cherry soon became a coach and mentor for Radulovich, as the two fostered a close relationship.
“He ended up becoming a role model to me. He’s someone I look to not only in shooting, but in every other aspect of life,” Radulovich said.
While most high school students partied or relaxed on the weekends, Radulovich spent his free time traveling to a new destination each weekend.
“It was hard to have a social life,” the Lake Ridge Academy grad lamented. Despite the tall task of juggling schoolwork with his shooting, Radulovich successfully kept his grades up and continued to win competition after competition.
Radulovich soon decided to attend John Carroll University. The Columbia Station, Ohio native was attracted to JCU’s well-known Boler School of Business, as Radulovich had known for quite a while what his life’s calling is: running a business.
Radulovich began coaching quite early on in his shooting career. By the time he was 13, he was regularly coaching beginning shooters younger than him. Soon enough, more clients came knocking on his door and his coaching evolved into a business.
“My coaching business really exploded my freshman year [at JCU] when I was in Dr. [Marc] Lynn’s class for Entrepreneurship. I took my own business and used it as my model to work on for Entrepreneurship 101 and 102,” Radulovich said. “I’ve been branded with Team USA, and put together with them to try to raise money, and that’s elevated my coaching status.”
Radulovich’s business and schoolwork have meshed, making his workload easier and experience at JCU more enjoyable. But the challenge of balancing his homework and shooting commitments is not an easy one.
“It’s tough. I try to schedule every single one of my classes on Tuesday and Thursday. I use Monday and Friday as travel days and the weekend are competition days or coaching days,” Radulovich explained. “Most of the time, my teachers are very understanding of what I want to do or what I need to do. A lot of times when I travel, it’s a contract that I have to go to certain competitions and a week of school.”
Now that Radulovich has become one of the best in the world at his craft, he has numerous sponsors and travels nearly every weekend. From September to February, he competes in nearby states. From March through May, he travels across the country. From June to August, Radulovich travels from state to state, competing in countless competitions over the course of the summer. So far, the talented pro has been to 45 different states in the U.S., England, Italy, France, Germany, Australia and the Czech Republic.
“I love it,” Radulovich said. “But it was really tough here. Starting off my freshman year of college, I was gone every weekend so it got difficult to find people to hang out with.”
“The hardest part, I think, is during the summer,” he continued. “You basically live out of a car or an airport and I’m never anywhere longer than five days and I’m living out of a suitcase. By the time school starts, I’m finally done with that, but I’m so worn down that it’s like, ‘Oh [great], here comes school again.’”
Despite the obstacles and adversity Radulovich has faced in pursuing his dream, the JCU sophomore has not only survived, but thrived. He has become one of the best shooters in the world, winning match after match all over the world while managing to keep his grades up at JCU. A truly motivated man, Radulovich has a remarkable story and is a testament to hard work and dedication.