August 20, 2019 | 81° F

Former Rutgers football player renovates homes on HGTV

Photo by The Daily Targum |

From 2007 to 2011, San San Te was a kicker for the Rutgers University football team under the helm of former head coach Greg Schiano. Te says that the football program built him into the person he is today and prepared him for the hard work that awaited him in the professional world.

Former Rutgers football player San San Te is starring in a new HGTV program alongside his sister, focused on renovating homes and designing new furniture in North Carolina.  

Te was the kicker for Rutgers from 2007 to 2011, under former head coach Greg Schiano. He graduated from the University in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in communications and a minor in history. 

After graduating from school, Te moved to the Philippines where he worked in real estate and housing development, he said. 

He began working with HGTV through his sister, Roxy Te Owens, who started her own design company called "Society Social," based in New York City. While running her business, she managed to make connections with executives from HGTV. 

Te said he and his sister worked on developing the show for about a year and a half before the offer from HGTV came to them. Prior to that, the two posted videos regularly on social media in order to get an idea of how the show should work. 

He said that the offer from HGTV was unexpected, but that the transition felt very natural to them. 

“This came along, and I certainly did not see it coming,” Te said. “But I’m certainly blessed to have an opportunity to work with my sister and the people that we are working with and HGTV of course.”

The show, "Carolina Reno," is based in Hickory, North Carolina — Te and Owen's hometown. The show is focused on home renovations for people in the Hickory area. Owens furnishes the homes they rebuild with her own designer furniture. 

Te said that the ultimate goal of the show is to help people and give back to their community.

The pilot episode aired on Jan. 27, followed by a second the following week. Te said that so far the show has received positive feedback, but they do not know whether the show will get picked up for more episodes. 

“I know that we have a great time making the show, and we’re helping the people that we work with,” Te said. “Hopefully that reflects in the show and hopefully people like it, and that's all I really know about it.”

Te said his favorite thing about the show is getting an opportunity to work alongside his sister. He also enjoys working with the HGTV crew as well as home owners in North Carolina.

“Meeting new people and having a good time is always fun,” he said. “And it's always great when you're able to express your passion the way you want to especially with fun people.”

Te said that Rutgers football built him into the person that he is today. Schiano prepared him for the professional world through hard work and dedication. His major in communications helped him build people skills and jumpstart projects. 

It prepared him for the marketing side of his business and how to generate sales for it, he said. Rutgers helped put him in the position he is in today.

He said he is still fond of his football days at Rutgers, especially the time he spent with  Schiano, which Te said helped him to become a man. 

“Occasionally I'll throw the ball around, and now and then someone will challenge me to a field goal competition or something like that,” Te said. “But other than that, I don't really play any more, I’ve got a new hobby to pursue.”

Jacob Turchi

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