All NACDA Members
Opening Remarks and Keynote Address
(Monday, June 10, 8:30 - 9:15 a.m.)
Good morning. I'm Jim Copeland, the athletic director at Southern Methodist University and the president of NACDA. It's my pleasure to begin the 31st annual Convention of NACDA. Each year, the role of NACDA seems to grow in the field of intercollegiate athletics. This is evidenced by the numbers of athletic administrators that attend our Convention, workshops, forums and Management Institute and by the number of affiliate groups that have chosen to meet with us in conjunction with the Conventions.
It's been another fine year for NACDA. We have more than 1,000 people register for the Convention. This year, we hosted the Fifth annual NACMA Workshop and the Third annual NAADD Workshop. As many of you know, the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators (NACMA) and the National Association of Athletic Development Directors (NAADD) are administered by NACDA for athletic marketing and athletic development representatives. If you're responsible for marketing or development on your campus and you're not a member of one of these organizations, we suggest and encourage you to join.
For the first time, the NACDA Foundation sponsored a Workshop for Athletic Business Management this year. We're very pleased with the program that we had with the turnout and if you look through your Convention program, the agenda is in there. You might want to take that information back to your business managers and encourage them to attend next year.
As in the past, many auxiliary groups will be holding meetings with us this week. A complete list of those groups is in your Convention program. We welcome those groups and encourage them to continue to meet with us on an annual basis. Our Convention program is filled with informative sessions for athletics administrators at every level. In addition to the general sessions, we have breakout sessions, round tables and a variety of topics that will accommodate just about any interest this week.
We're pleased to have an outstanding group of exhibitors again. Many of you have probably been through the hall to see them already. If you have not done so, please do. They're here to serve you. They offer services that will fit just about any budget. As an extra incentive, we'll have a grand prize drawing on Wednesday. To qualify for that, you must go through the hall, drop your business card into each exhibitor's ballot box. On Wednesday morning, we'll choose which exhibitor's box will be used for the drawing.
I want to thank our sponsors. They're the ones that make the social occasions, principally the receptions, possible for us. It would be good if you can encourage them even further by writing them when you get home and thanking them for what they have done for us. They are also listed in your program.
It's been an easy year for me as president. It's been easy because of an outstanding Executive Committee, because of the first vice president, Barbara Hedges; second vice president, Vince Dooley; and, of course, the Officers and staff at NACDA. What you see happening today is a result of a year's work, but a great deal of work that went on in Cleveland. It began in Marco last February and our staff has been just exceptional.
At this time, I want to introduce, Vince Dooley, from the University of Georgia, who will introduce our Keynote Speaker.
Thank you Jim. I'm proud to introduce to you our Keynote Speaker, Billy Payne, president and CEO of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games. Billy has been characterized as a man with a mission and his mission is the mission of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games which is, first, to conduct the Centennial Olympic Games with sensitivity, integrity, fiscal responsibility and commitment to the needs of the athletes. Secondly, to share with the world, the spirit of America, the experience of the American South. And, thirdly, to have a positive physical and spiritual legacy and an indelible mark upon Olympic history by staging the most memorable Games ever. This is a tall order, but Billy Payne is up to the task.
I first knew Billy when I became the head football coach at the University of Georgia. He was a high school quarterback prospect and the son of Quarter Payne, a former all-conference lineman at Georgia and a well respected football official and businessman. Billy followed his footsteps and came to Georgia and was part of a class that won two Southeastern Conference championships for us in 1966 and 1968. I always refer to him as a 60-minute football player and that's one that you wanted in the game all of the time. He started out as a tight end. He played split end. We moved him to defensive end or outside linebacker in his senior year and he made all-conference and some all-American teams. At the same time, he was a nationally recognized NCAA and Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete and was vice president of the student government his senior year. Incidentally, he met and married his wife, Martha, and they've been married for almost 30 years. His son and his daughter are both Georgia graduates.
He attended law school at the university. He became a graduate assistant for us and coached our freshman teams while he went to law school. He went on to Atlanta and became a very successful real estate attorney, but he felt unfulfilled. Finally, through his interest in sports and community, he devised this pipe dream of bringing the Olympics to Atlanta, Georgia. It was a little more than nine years ago that he shared with me this dream. It was hard to get it out of him, but he had something inside of him. I said, "Billy, what's on your mind." He said, "Coach, I have saved enough money that I want to volunteer my services to bring the Olympics to Atlanta, Georgia." Now, this was nine years ago. My first thought, the Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia? Nine years ago, who even knew where Atlanta was in the world. Secondly, the United States had just had the Olympics in Los Angeles. They never bring it back to the same country that soon. Thirdly, no city has ever won the bid on the first try. Fourthly, this is the Centennial of the Olympics and, certainly, Athens, Greece, where it all started, would certainly get it.
My first thought was, "Billy, those old licks you took on the football field have caught up with you." They literally have, because just 10 days ago, he was operated on for tackling the wrong way. I might add that, just 10 days ago, having your neck operated on, that he wasn't exactly enthused about coming here. I said, "Billy, you've got to go."
Incidentally, the money he thought he saved, he ran out in two years and had to borrow seven figures to keep him going, which he's slowly paying back. I was in Tokyo the night this impossible dream came true, Atlanta won the Games. The excitement and thrill at that moment has no way to describe it. Billy Payne was the driving force to bring the Olympic Games to Atlanta. He is the president and CEO with responsibility to execute the operating plan of putting the Olympics on and this has never happened in the history of modern Olympics, where the same person that was responsible for bringing the Olympics is also responsible for putting them on.
To stage the Olympic Games, Billy had to build a Fortune 500 company, literally, overnight. He now commands a staff of more than 70,000 full-time employees and volunteers and a staggering $l.6 billion dollars operating budget. There are 39 days until kickoff and we're proud to have Billy Payne as our Keynote Speaker.
Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen and to you, Mr. President, and to my great friend and mentor, Vince Dooley, a man whom I knew would show some graciousness when only six days ago, recovering from neck surgery, I called and asked if I really had to come here today. As he said, he anticipated the question that I would ask and before I could even make him feel sufficiently sorry for me, he said, and I quote, "Billy, I know you're feeling bad, but it doesn't make any difference." Just as he told me those many years ago, you gotta play hurt. I'm here ladies and gentlemen, for the first time out since my surgery. Nevertheless, I'm excited to be here and glad to address you and share with you the excitement that's happening in Atlanta, but importantly, before I do, to say a special word of thanks to the man, second only to my Dad, who has been the greatest influence on my life. A man who was my football coach when he was a mere 31 years old. I was petrified of him at that time. A man who, after the death of my father, became, literally, a father to me and a man who has become, in recent years, one of my dearest friends. Coach Dooley, I salute you as much as I love you.
I'm glad to be here with you today to say, first, and I think appropriately, on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of young men and women who have benefitted from your programs and from your leadership, thank you. I want to talk a little bit today about what you mean to them, perhaps how much more you mean to them than even you think and, therefore, as you continue to make decisions about the development of the total student-athlete, perhaps, just perhaps, you'll be able to set your goals a little higher as a consequence, I hope, of my remarks.
I'm a good person to be talking to you today. I'm one of those people in the world that has this enormous job, but it's really too late for me to do anything about it. With only 39 days yet to go, with 3,612 already gone by, the Atlanta Olympic Games are well on their way to, what I believe, will be a great success and a wonderful representation of all that is great about sport in this great country which we love. I'm a good example as well, because like so many, most, in fact, of the young student-athletes who come under your guidance and your leadership and I was good enough to participate. Not a star. Not a great athlete, good enough to participate. As a consequence of that entitlement, I was exposed to all the wonderful attributes and hard work and work ethics that all the collegiate athletes have to experience. Some are smarter than I. In my case, it's taken almost 30 years for me to put to good use and to define and to act upon the qualities and the attributes that you taught me during my intercollegiate career.
Having learned what I have, I'd like to talk to you today to what I like to refer to, as the incredible consuming power of an idea which is founded in goodness. In your case, perhaps, the development of student-athletes. In my case, my belief, that the Olympic movement and my home community, Atlanta, would be a perfect match for the celebration of the Olympic Games, the largest, by far, and I believe, the most important sporting event in history.
Like so many of you, I would guess I've had and have had prior to 1987, an abundance of what I thought were great ideas. In almost every case, those ideas were calculated and put together in order, somehow, to advance my own career or to achieve goals that I thought were important to me. I ask myself, then, as I continue to ask myself, what makes some ideas better than others. Is it the power and personality of the dreamer, or, is it the goodness of the ideas itself? Well, that ladies and gentlemen, is a question which the last nine and one-half years of my life have provided, I believe, conclusive answers.
I want to give you a case in point. On February 9, 1987, for reasons, honestly unknown to me even today, I came home from my job as a senior law partner in a large Atlanta firm, walked into my kitchen and announced to my wife, Martha, we're going to bring the Olympic Games to Atlanta. I had never been to an Olympic Games. I'd never heard of the International Olympic Committee and I had no idea whatsoever when the next Games would be available. Not surprisingly, I bet you can imagine, Martha interpreted this statement as perhaps the first manifestation of an impending mid-life crisis. Honestly and literally, as I picked her up off the floor, she was adamant that I do one very important thing and that was, "Billy, you must call your great friend Peter Candler?" She was certain that Peter would talk me out of this crazy idea and send me back to my office to my normal job the next day.
I reluctantly agreed. I remember going upstairs to my little office I had at home. I picked up the phone to call Peter. I heard Martha pick up the extension as she wanted to hear herself precisely what Peter had to say. I remember beginning my conversation by telling Peter about this idea that I had and about why I thought the Olympic movement and the American South would be a perfect combination. I even enumerated a strategy for Peter that I had quickly put together when I first had this idea. After my opening remarks to Peter, for what now seems like an eternity of waiting, it was time for my most conservative friend to react. I remember the phone was silent for several minutes. You've got to remember now, that I was talking to my most conservative friend. This is a gentleman who asked me a few years earlier to go shopping with him for a new battery for his bass boat. After we exited the sixth store, he calmly announced that we were returning to the first store because it was 67 cents cheaper.
It seemed like an eternity of silence before I heard my conservative friend react. I could visualize the smile on Martha's face downstairs as she anticipated Peter's dismissive comments about this crazy idea. Finally, my friend Peter spoke up. He said, ladies and gentlemen, the most incredible words I have ever heard in my life, when he said, "Billy, that's a great idea. How much money can I give you?" Well, as fate would have it, Peter Candler also happens to be my richest friend. I logically responded to his question by suggesting an outrageous sum of money that Peter could contribute to get this effort started. The phone was silent again. I heard the click as Peter hung up.
Early the next morning, at my lifelong customary time of 4:30 a.m., I was working at my law office which, at that time, happened to be on the bottom floor of a suburban office building, thinking out loud about the conversation of the night before, pondering what to do next and thinking that perhaps Martha was right. Perhaps the day before, it simply was an exercise in the protestations of an obviously, bored middle-class lawyer. As I was thinking and pondering what to do next, my thoughts were interrupted by a knocking on the outside window of my office. I looked up and there on this February morning in the freezing cold, stood my friend, Peter Candler, pressing a check to the window in the outrageous amount that I had suggested the night before. I remember in my amazement, not losing my sanity, thinking out loud, "Well, come on in, Peter, and bring your list of the rest of our friends."
More than three years later, after an arduous campaign which took me to 105 countries of the world espousing the merits of my community, telling them what I thought they already knew, about how America could and would succeed again at this important time in sports history. More than three years later and even four months before we were ultimately awarded the Games, in the fall of 1990, I had the honor and privilege of delivering the spring commencement address at my alma mater, the University of Georgia. And reflecting back on that wonderful journey of those previous three years, I said in my speech, that I had learned that an idea is nothing until shared and embraced by others who care. For when it is, I have discovered conclusively, that anything and everything is possible. I've been called in this process, now almost 10 years old, everything you can imagine. Most frequently, a foolish dreamer. Most frequently, an optimist without realism and to all of those accusations, I plead, proudly, guilty. Because I do believe and now know that the greatest book is yet to be written, the greatest medicines have not yet been developed, the greatest ability to use the Olympic movement to show symbolically the hope of world peace has not yet been attained.
I ask you, as I have asked myself often, why do you think that is the case. Why are so many of us afraid to dream dreams that are founded in goodness? Afraid to take risks when caution always seems the easiest course of action? Sometimes I think, we all need a little of the audacity often displayed by Thomas Edison, when he would call a press conference to announce a new invention before he began working on it. I have learned through these last 10 years that life lived to the fullest and for the greatest good is not cautious and is never easy. More often than not, I believe, an intellectual approach to examine all the possible restrictions on success is extremely prohibitive. We have all learned that intelligence alone is not enough because we all know the world is full of educated derelicts. As we explore what has become of my idea, bringing the Olympic Games to my community, I think it is important that we acknowledge, if nothing else, the history of this 10-year experience, which has proven to me, that no goal is unattainable, no star is too high to touch, if we share our dreams and commit fully and completely to making them happen.
In the case of the Olympics, my dream, it has literally become, because we are all Americans and, perhaps, whether we want it to become so or not, it has become our dream collectively as we are about to present to the world these Centennial Olympic Games. I'm convinced that in only these 39 short days, and in the manifestation and demonstration of the Olympic activity that will take place in Atlanta, the world will see all that is great about America, our efficiency, our organization, our financial strength, and they will see it made a little bit better because it will be coupled, for the first time, with the friendliness of the people of the American South. I can tell you in the case of the Centennial Olympic Games, we better be good at organization and the operational aspects of the Games, for what we are about to do in Atlanta is to host the largest peacetime event in the history of the world. These Centennial Olympic Games will include the participation of 197 countries, approximately 20 percent more than belong even to the United Nations. We will welcome to Atlanta, some two million visitors, more than 550,000 of whom will be international visitors. We will bring, into our midst, some of the finest athletes of the world, numbering athletes and officials, some 15,000. We will invite into Atlanta and experience the presence of some 10,000 journalists. I think, surely more than any city deserves. We will have created over this nine and one-half year period in our preparation some five and one-half billion dollars of direct economic activity in and around our community, generating in excess of 85,000 jobs. We will be organizing in almost every measurable aspect an Olympic Games twice as large as the 1984 Los Angeles Games in a city less than one-fourth the size. We will be organizing and putting on 276 separate medal events to be conducted at more than 578 separate athletic competitions throughout the 17-day period. I think, most demonstratively, and I think all of you can appreciate this, the equivalent of what we are attempting to do in only these few short days remaining, is the equilavent of organizing a Super Bowl every one and one-half hours for 17 consecutive days.
So, people logically ask, how will we do this? How, in many cases, did we do this? How did we build some 600 million dollars of housing, dormitory and athletic facilities, permanent capital sporting improvements, and then give them debt and cost free to the respective governments, or importantly and predominantly, universities on whose land they were built? How will we assemble in just these next several weeks enough temporary structures added to our permanent venues which, if put together, would stretch some 25 miles? How will we operate in the first-ever Olympic spectator transportation system some 2,700 transit buses, more transit buses than exist today in all of the states of the American South put together? How we sell some 11.2 million tickets to the Atlanta Games, more tickets than were available in Barcelona and Los Angeles combined? How will we handle the certain presence of more than 75 heads of state from around the world who have chosen to come at this very important time in sports history? And, very importantly, how will we do all of this raising money exclusively from the private sector? The more than one and one-half billion dollars to stage the Games, with very little direct government support financially, except in the important area of security.
Well these are and have been now, for the six years since we were awarded the Games, very difficult questions. The successful achievement of challenges is largely dependent on the talent and the work ethic of the some 70,000 people we have put together to form our team in Atlanta. Seventy thousand staff and volunteers poised and ready to meet the world, to greet the world and to undertake these extremely difficult challenges.
While I believe all of these logistical, operational and technological issues are literally staggering in proportion, I have no doubt that they will be successfully undertaken, principally, because we are Americans and the world expects and has a right to expect our exemplary level of performance. But, as we in Atlanta, on your behalf and on behalf of all of America, continue to apply all of the resources at our disposal to building and preparing for the games, I have come to realize that these Games are not truly about the buildings that we build, the economic impact they will produce, or how they will benefit the whole city that is proud to have the honor of hosting them. The Olympic Games are about taking an inordinately powerful idea, bringing people together, who, in spite of their obvious differences, find common ground through sport and peaceful competition. Nothing we will do in Atlanta, no matter how challenging, difficult or complex, can obscure that mission to use sport to encourage the establishment of a peaceful and more cooperative society and concerned with the preservation of human dignity.
With only a few days left, so many gone by and only a few left, our dreams for these Games in our own community remain clear and vivid. We need to demonstrate to our own community and, hopefully, even on a larger scale, to teach ourselves the true values of the Olympic movement. We need to form friendships that will demonstrate to us conclusively that there is so much more that brings us together than divides us. We need to use that understanding and that demonstration as important and much needed symbolism in a symbolic foundation for world peace. And, importantly for me, we need to powerfully introduce one of America's great and yet unknown international resources, the people of the American South.
In just these few minutes, you know what has taken me nine and one-half years to learn. It is the magnetic and all-consuming power of the idea that makes good and positive things happen. The dreamer is nothing more than a torch bearer, proudly reflecting the light from the flame and smiling eyes, but eager to pass it onto others until the final destination is reached.
As I've observed Coach Dooley in his profession over all of these years, as I know about your profession from having been close to it through all of these years, I think, importantly, that all of you are torch bearers, as well. Your charge in life is no less important, no less critical and no less challenging than mine, to share your experiences and to create and to mold increasingly so, the total student-athlete. So, I ask you, what will each of you do? How will you choose, from this point forward, to direct the athletic programs at your institutions knowing that in doing so, you will be shaping the future of countless young men and women? I wonder how many of you are even focused on, if at all aware of, this responsibility and this obligation which I believe will be in the end, the measure of your success. More important even, than your win/loss record or, how many conference or national championships that your institutions may win. How many young lives will be invested with a sense of integrity, honesty, fair play and work ethics as a consequence of your labors?
How will you accomplish this in a fashion and a manner necessary to illuminate the lives of these young men and women in an increasingly difficult environment? One that is often frustrated and sometimes, I know, must seem absolutely hopeless. I've been there and I don't need to know and you don't need to tell me about these obstacles. I've been there even recently. Over the last several months, many of my closest friends who have watched me, counseled me, loved me over these last 10 years have felt compelled, because they genuinely care about me, to come to me and advise me how they think I should deal with what they perceive to be a very dangerous situation caused as a consequence of my responsibilities. Because they love me and because they're sincere, these friends have been trying to get me to lower my expectations, trying to convince me that it'll be okay in case something doesn't turn out to the level of perfection that my personality mandates. They tell me over and over again, "Billy, nobody will ever notice a slightly diminished delivery of services or goods or performance. Billy, just get to the end. Just survive these last several days and everything will be okay." Well, I love my friends and I know they care about me. I know this expression of concern they have demonstrated and articulated is genuine. Very recently, I confess, they convinced me. I was about to take, just a couple of weeks ago, the very first step in my life to surrender, just a little bit, to the pressures of the job and to the pressures that I found myself under. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? I was about to surrender. I sat in my office a couple of weeks ago writing an agenda for a speech that I would give later that day to my 200 most critical associates, the venue managers, the sports competition managers and the venue staffing managers. I had decided, and even written down as a bullet point, that I was going to introduce to them to just weather the storm and it'll be all right. Just get to the end. I was actually preparing to tell my most important associates that same afternoon that I was willing to accept less than perfection from them. A few minutes later that same morning, I was reading my mail as I always do and I encountered a letter from one of our employees, a young lady that I did not know, who had heard me speak to a brown bag informal luncheon we have every month. She was thanking me because, accidentally or otherwise, I had inspired her through my remarks and she wanted to share with me in that letter a quotation. She included a quotation which I want to share with you, because in the environment that I was in at that moment, it brought me immediately to shameful tears considering the decision that I had made just moments earlier to tell my staff that less than the best was okay. It's a quotation, most often attributed to Nelson Mandella, one, however, not written by him, but improved by him. "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light and not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, to be gorgeous, to be talented, or to be fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that others around you won't feel insecure. We were born to manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us. It is in all of us. As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we liberate from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." As I read this quotation that very morning and cried shamelessly over the fact that I was about to tell the people who most rely on me that less than the best was good enough, I thank God for that letter and for its timing. I'm asking all of you once again, do you know truly, do you have any idea of the countless numbers of young men and women who are counting on you making your own light shine? Because, in doing so, you will illuminate their lives in a way that will cause them to exceed even their own expectations of themselves. You will have given them the greatest gift imaginable.
Thank you for letting me share my Olympic dream with you and good luck and God bless.
Billy, we are most appreciative of the sacrifice you made just to be here and even more so, after hearing you speak today. It was an inspirational message for us and we have a little token of our appreciation. Billy has to leave and be back in Atlanta. You can imagine what's going on up there. Our next session will begin in this room now.