Mackenzie Cooley May 9, 2024

Nick Kray (Eastern Illinois University, ’08) wasn’t familiar with fraternities other than what was portrayed in the movies, but one chance meeting with a Lambda Chi Alpha Brother not only changed his perspective but opened him to a world of lifelong Brotherhood and strong connections.  

Kray’s journey started during his freshman year, when he crossed paths with Brett Piet in one of his early classes. Because of their similar majors, the two had many classes together, but for most of the time, their friendship never left the classroom. Eventually, Piet invited Kray to the Lambda Chi Alpha house many times. Though Kray enjoyed spending time with the Lambda Chi Alpha Brothers, his commitment to the Eastern Illinois football team kept him from fully joining the Fraternity.  

As his relationship with the Lambda Chi Alpha Brothers continued to deepen, so did his love for football. After Kray finished his bachelor’s degree, he stayed at Eastern Illinois to coach. He enjoyed getting to coach in a sport he loved, but he noticed how often he was still spending time with the Lambda Chi Brothers. Because of his time commitment with the football program, Kray became an honorary Member of the Chapter.  

“I’m very appreciative of the opportunity. This was something I wanted to do, and I hold it in such a high respect,” Kray said. 

Following his time at Eastern Illinois, Kray embarked on a journey through the ranks of collegiate football operations, gaining invaluable experience at institutions like Villanova University and North Carolina State University. His passion for the game and knack for operations management eventually led him to the biggest stage of all: the NFL.  

Kray thrived in his role as Chief of Staff at the San Francisco 49ers, navigating the intricate web of off-field logistics. Yet, it was during this time that Kray’s perspective began to shift, prompted by the birth of his son in July 2022. Faced with the choice between career ambitions and family commitments, Kray made the courageous decision to prioritize his role as a father and husband. This pivotal moment marked the beginning of a new chapter in his life, one characterized by entrepreneurship and a renewed focus on personal fulfillment.