All NACDA Members
James J. Corbett Awards Luncheon
(Monday, June 16, 1997 - 1:00 - 2:30 p.m.)
It's time to begin the luncheon. Please take your seats. If you would direct your attention to the back of the room, I would like to welcome our head table, the Officers, Executive Committee members and today's award winners. Ladies and gentlemen, our head table. Let's give them a nice hand.
Welcome to the 1997 James J. Corbett Awards Luncheon. I'm Barbara Hedges, director of athletics at the University of Washington. For our invocation today, I would like to introduce Art Eason, director of athletics at William Paterson College and NACDA's secretary. After the invocation, please enjoy your lunch and we will start the program shortly.
Let us pray that the words in my mouth and meditation in my heart be acceptable. Dear God, we thank thee for thy many blessings. We ask that you bless this food which we are about partake. Bless those that are being honored here today. Let their honor and esteem touch the lives of those who they come in contact with. We ask that the actions of this Convention have a positive affect on our institutions and our profession. Let us always remember that when we can't, you will, when we won't, you can. This we ask thee in thy name. Amen.
I know some of you are still eating your dessert. Please continue, but we will begin the program. To begin today's program, I would like to introduce our Officers and Executive Committee members. Please hold your applause until the end. On the upper dais is Mike Cleary, your executive director; Art Eason, director of athletics at William Paterson College and NACDA's secretary; Jim Livengood, AD at the University of Arizona and NACDA third vice president; Fred Gruninger, AD at Rutgers and NACDA's second vice president; Vince Dooley, AD at the University of Georgia, and Vince will be the new NACDA president next year.
Additionally, the current leadership of NACDA, the Executive Committee is seated at the lower dais. Starting on my right and your left is Chuck Bell, AD at Utah State University; Tricia Bork, group executive director of championships at the NCAA; Bob Bowlsby, men's AD at the University of Iowa; Charlie Cavagnaro, AD at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas; Dana Craft, associate AD Southwest Texas State University; DeLoss Dodds, AD at the University of Texas; Greg Feris, AD at Wayland Baptist University; Eric Forseth, AD at Northwest Nazarene College; James Frank, commissioner of the Southwestern Athletic Conference; Jerry Hughes, AD at Central Missouri State University; Mike Jacobsen, AD at Utah Valley State College; Betty Jaynes, chief executive officer of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association.
On the upper dais to your left is Roy Kramer, commissioner of the Southeastern Conference. Back to the lower dais, Lori Mallory, AD at Johnson County Community College; Bob Marcum, AD at the University of Massachusetts; Porter Miller, AD at Earlham College; Vince Mumford, AD at Baltimore City Community College; Louise O'Neal, AD at Wellesley College; Ron Prettyman, AD at Cal State-Dominguez Hills; Phil Roach, AD at Rollins College; Joe Roberson, AD at the University of Michigan; John Stauff, AD at Ocean County College; Pat Thomas, associate AD at Georgetown University; Barbara Walker, associate AD at the University of Oregon; Wright Waters, commissioner of the Southern Conference; and Miechelle Willis, associate AD at The Ohio State University. Let's give them a nice hand.
I would like to acknowledge the sponsor of today's luncheon, the Las Vegas Events.
We will begin our program with the NACDA Hall of Fame. As you know, NACDA honors those administrators who have excelled in their athletics administrative careers by inducting them into the Hall of Fame. Our last induction ceremony occurred two years ago. We are pleased to have 12 exceptional administrators to welcome into the Hall of Fame this year. To present our inductees, I would like to bring up our master of ceremonies, Dave McCann, the week night sports anchor/reporter for the Las Vegas CBS affiliate, KLAS. He has served as the Eye Witness News Saturday and Monday morning anchor for Channel 8. Dave is also the play-by-play voice for the University of Nevada-Las Vegas football team. Additionally, Dave's father, Dale, is the Cougar Club director at Brigham Young University which is Glen Tuckett's school. You will see Glen later in this program.
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Dave McCann.
Thank you very much Barbara. On behalf of KLAS-TV, UNLV and our great city of Las Vegas, it's nice to have you here. Traditionally, this time of year, we're in the triple digits weatherwise, so please accept our high of 78 yesterday as our personal gift for you coming here at this particular time and enjoy it. By Wednesday, we should be back to 100 degrees plus. Our city changes every year, as you have probably seen if you've been outside the hotel and see some of the things going on. It's a phenomenal city, but it's not one without controversy. I'm just so glad we avoided that fiasco with the menu here today. Originally, the entrees were only going to go to members of the Bowl Alliance and hot dogs were going to come into the back for everybody else. We got a senate panel together and negotiated and it was entrees for everybody.
I hope you're enjoying your summer. I want to remind you there are now just 68 days until Northwestern and Oklahoma kick off at Soldier Field in the Pigskin Classic and the day after that, on August 24, Wisconsin and Syracuse play at the Meadowlands. My advice to you is to enjoy the remaining few golf days you have left. The NFL preseason begins next month. It's hard to believe, but football is just around the corner and with that, comes the rest of the fall activities in college.
It's my pleasure to introduce your Hall of Fame recipients. Our first inductee is Phyllis Bailey who was the associate AD and primary women's administrator at Ohio State University where she served for more than 37 years. She helped establish the first women's athletics program in the Big Ten Conference and was part of the first class of women inducted into the Ohio State Sports Hall of Fame. Ladies and gentlemen, Phyllis Bailey.
Edward Creutzinger was the AD at Gloucester County College from 1968 to 1991. He led Gloucester to more than 40 NJCAA Region 19 championships. He served as the president of the Garden State Athletic Conference and as the assistant region director of the NJCAA Region 19. He was inducted into the Gloucester County and Gloucester County Sports Halls of Fame in 1987. Ed could not be with us today, but here to accept for him is the current AD at Gloucester, Ron Case.
Our next inductee is C.W. "Bump" Elliott, AD at the University of Iowa from 1970 to 1991. His career spanned three decades. The Hawkeyes won 27 Big Ten championships and 11 NCAA crowns under his leadership. They played before sellout crowds in football and basketball throughout the 1980s. Bump was inducted into the Rose Bowl and College Football Halls of Fame. Please, ladies and gentlemen, Bump Elliott.
Receiving our next award is Howard "Bud" Elwell a member of the athletics department at Gannon University for 35 years. He became the AD in 1967 and guided Gannon from NAIA to NCAA Division II status. He increased the number of sports there from five to 17. Bud was also on NACDA's Executive Committee. Bud Elwell.
Our next inductee is Roy Kramer, the former AD at Vanderbilt University from 1978 until 1990. He is currently the sixth commissioner of the Southeastern Conference and a member of NACDA's Executive Committee. At Vanderbilt, Roy helped establish conference policies, served as the chair of the league's athletics directors and helped bring the SEC basketball tournament to Nashville, Tennessee in 1984, which was the first sellout in tournament history. Roy Kramer.
Lou McCollough of Iowa State University is our next inductee. Lou oversaw 19 men's and women's varsity sports during his 12-year tenure, from 1971 to 1988. The Cyclones won three national championships in wrestling and gymnastics and five women's cross country national titles. The football team made four postseason bowl appearances. He oversaw improvements to many of the departments facilities which allowed the university to host several NCAA championships. Ladies and gentlemen, Lou McCollough.
Bill McHenry is our next inductee from the College of Wooster where he was AD for five years, capping a career in athletics which spanned 42 years. He had been the AD at his alma mater, Washington & Lee University for 20 years. Bill was on NACDA's Executive Committee, was the 1988 U.S. Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association's Man of the Year and was inducted into the Central Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. Bill McHenry.
Our next inductee is David Olson, who was the athletics director at Pacific Lutheran University for 28 years. The 1989 NAIA Hall of Fame inductee increased the number of sports from 12 to 19. He led PLU to nine NAIA national titles and guided the university to the inaugural NAIA Sears Directors' Cup last year. Dave Olson.
Our next award recipient is Doug Porter who was the director of athletics at Fort Valley State College from 1981 to 1997. He led the university's move from Division III to Division II. He was the most victorious coach in the university's history with a record of 112 wins, 66 losses and three ties. He won six Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles and was named SIAC Coach of the Year, Mr. Doug Porter.
Our next inductee is Nicholas Rodis, AD at Brandeis University from 1967 to 1984. He was on many ECAC committees and was the tournament director for several NCAA events. He was also on the USOC Board of Directors and was president of the United States Collegiate Sports Council. Nick Rodis.
We move on to Jim Tarman, who was the AD at Penn State University from 1982 to 1993. Jim led the expansion of Beaver Stadium and was behind the creation of the Bryce Jordan Center. His most prestigious accomplishment at Penn State was the Nittany Lions acceptance into the Big Ten. In his first year, he led the university to a national football championship. He also led the women's lacrosse and men's and women's fencing to national titles. He was recently named an honorary alumnus of the university. Ladies and gentlemen, Jim Tarman.
Our final inductee is Bob Vanatta of Central Methodist College. Bob earned his reputation from 29 years of successful basketball coaching, along with his service as the AD. He had close to 500 victories and was the recipient of the NABC Outstanding Service to Basketball plaque. He's been inducted into the NAIA, Central Methodist, Southwest Missouri State, Memphis State and Missouri Sports Halls of Fame. Bob and his wife, Lois, will celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary on Friday here in Las Vegas. Ladies and gentlemen, Bob Vanatta.
Here to speak on behalf of the 1997 class of the NACDA Hall of Fame is Doug Porter.
It's an honor and a privilege for me to respond on behalf of the 1997 NACDA Hall of Fame class. This class of 1997 is truly representative of the precepts of which NACDA is built. If one could search for a word to describe this class, I think it would be a class of diversity. It is a class that truly represents a cross section of athletics administrators and we represent a class of Americans that NACDA always develops, from my illustrious president to our inductee from Ohio State, from individuals who have worked at schools whose enrollment is larger than many small cities in this country, all the way down to schools whose enrollment numbers are a few hundred. This class starts in the northeast and comes into the Midwest, touches down in the mid south and finally comes to rest in the Pacific northwest, so it is indeed a class of diversity.
Among those individuals who have been inducted today is a lady that I have some personal interest in because her successor at Ohio State University was a former student of mine and she's a member of our Executive Committee, Miechelle Willis. I hope that Miechelle will pardon me for singling her out. As we reach these points in our lives, we like to look back and reflect on some individuals who have done outstanding things and who are going to be outstanding in the future.
I would like to offer to NACDA, it's Executive Committee, our heartfelt thanks for you have done something for us and for our friends that will always stand out in our lives. I would like to thank our luncheon sponsor, Las Vegas Events, for you have made this possible for us. Finally, I'd like to thank all of the coaches, administrators, athletes and those individuals who have helped to enable us to be enshrined in this Hall of Fame. We would certainly like to give thanks to the Almighty for having blessed each and every one of us and brought us to this day. Thank you very much.
Thank you very much Doug. Now, to present the NACDA/NIT Athletic Directors Award, please welcome Jack Powers of the NIT.
It's a pleasure to me to present the 1997 NACDA/NIT Award to a friend of everybody here today for many years. When I asked who was receiving the award this year and found out about Glen Tuckett, everybody said he is one of the most fantastic athletics directors that have ever served on NACDA's Board. He's been an inspiration for so many of the young athletics directors.
I know in the booklet there are a lot of accolades about Coach, but I would like to take a moment to go over and read, if I may, some of the accomplishments of Glen Tuckett. He was an outstanding athlete at Murray High school in Utah. He graduated from the University of Utah in 1953. He played pro baseball for nine years in the Western Intercollegiate League. He started his coaching at West High School in Salt Lake City. He was the head football and head baseball coach and assistant basketball coach.
He managed the Calgary Dodgers in the Western Canada League in 1957. In 1959, he became the head baseball and assistant football coach at BYU. It's where he earned his master's and his doctorate degrees. He was an outstanding classroom teacher and was named Professor of the Year. He's a very popular public speaker. He worked as a commentator for KSL radio. As head coach and baseball coach for 17 years, his team won 13 divisional titles, three WAC championships and two NCAA District VII crowns, and two of his teams played in the College World Series. He was coach of the U.S. team which won the World Amateur Baseball Tournament.
In 1976, he was appointed AD at BYU. He's a former president of the Baseball Coaches Association. He was inducted into the Collegiate Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979, served on the NCAA Television Committee, the College Football Association Television Committee and the College Executive Committee. In 1983, he received the Dale Rex Award, symbolic for the person who has contributed most to the amateur athletes in the state of Utah.
He has been inducted into the Utah Sports Halls of Fame as well as the BYU Hall of Fame. After 34 years at BYU and retired, he was called out of retirement to go back to the University of Alabama for one year.
Yesterday, my wife and I attended mass at the cathedral here, along with Ben Carnevale, the former president of NACDA, and Dan Quilty, the former AD at NYU. The topic of the priest's sermon was appropriate and it was Father's Day. He had a card that he was very proud of. It was a Father's Day card. We know that Glen was a caring father, a devoted father and he met all of these qualifications on this card. He also would meet the qualifications if this was for an athletics director. I'd like to read this card. It says, "Dad wanted. Long hours, limited time off. Must be willing to work weekends, holidays and vacations. Energy, imagination, intelligence, understanding, endurance and flexibility required. Must have leadership qualities and the ability to instruct and guide, coupled with a warm personality." It also added, "On the job training offered." Flip the card over and it said, "Thanks for taking the job." Signed, the BYU staff, NACDA, the NIT Committee and by his lovely wife, Josephine and his four daughters, Allison, Sharon, Kendall and Erin.
Coach, I would like you to come up here to receive the 1997 NACDA/NIT Award. It says, "The 15th Annual NACDA/NIT Athletics Administrator Award in appreciation for the many years of encouragement, endorsement and support of the NIT and NACDA. A great friend to our organizations, Coach Glen Tuckett."
Thank you Jack. My cup runneth over. On occasions such as this, we are grateful for many things. I have been blessed in my life with my faith in God, born of goodly parents, married far above my station and have been the father of four outstanding young ladies. I've, likewise, been privileged to be affiliated with a great university, one that has espoused those things for which our organization stands. I have been blessed with great associates, some of whom are here today and outstanding athletes who, likewise, honor me today by being present. I appreciate the fact that my wife is here to share with me this honor.
I am grateful to Jack Powers and to Mike Cleary and to the organizations for whom they work and for whom they represent. I know of no group of people for whom I have greater admiration than I do you, who sit here this day. I was in the lobby this morning and an old friend said, "Glen, what are you doing now that you are retired?" I said, "I'm finishing my book." He said, "I didn't know you were writing a book." I said, "I'm not. I'm reading one." I'm having a great time doing those things.
The organizations to whom I've alluded, NACDA and the NIT, all of us in athletics can take a page from their book. They have survived because they have been flexible, because they have been teachable and because they have had farsightedness. The NIT continues to survive and be a real force in college basketball. They've adapted. They've made changes. They've changed their tournament. They have a Final
Four at Madison Square Garden. They have a preseason NIT. We should take a page from that book. NACDA has given you and me a forum, whether we are from a community college or a large state university, we have a forum and we appreciate that.
I hope that in our jobs, we will keep in mind that we are in perilous times. We have assignments that are awesome in their magnitude. We are having people serve on commissions and committees and as presidents and CEO's of universities, some of whom are empowered but not enlightened, and it's incumbent upon us to enlighten them, to tell them about our game. We have people creeping into our halls who have no reverence for our game, who do not appreciate those things for which you and I have worked for a lifetime. We have some who have never been in the arena, never gladiated, never bumped their nose, never skinned their knee and really don't know the difference between winning and losing. They haven't lined the field, haven't raked the infield, the long jump pit and they haven't taped the ankles, but they're there. We've got to help educate them because, as I say, we're in perilous times. There are rules and regulations and laws and it's incumbent upon us to adhere to them, to continue to make our game grow. It's important that we do.
You and I have invested a lifetime in athletics. It's important we maintain all of those things for which we have struggled. For you young people out there, I'm not really in the advice dispensing business, I don't speak from an ivory tower, but I do have one little piece of advice for you. I read a few years ago where Walt Kelly said, "Too soon we break the tape and too late we find that the joy was in the running." Enjoy the run and thank you for this great honor.
Thank you Glen. It should be noted that Glen did not arrive in Utah with the pioneers though he's been there a long time. He was the AD, I believe when my dad was there, when I was there, and he's worked with my dad for years. He's been a pioneer, though, in BYU's evolution and he is loved throughout the state of Utah. He's a worthy candidate for this award.
Now, to present the James J. Corbett Memorial Award is John Swofford, the director of athletics at the University of North Carolina and NACDA's president in 1993-94.
Dave, thank you very much. The James J. Corbett Memorial Award, named for the former LSU athletics director who was NACDA's first president, was initiated in 1967 and is considered the highest honor that one can achieve in athletics administration. It is awarded annually to and I quote, "the athletics administrator who, through the years, most typified Corbett's devotion to intercollegiate athletics and who worked unceasingly for its betterment." If ever there has been one who has been devoted to intercollegiate athletics and who has worked unceasingly for its betterment, with great success I might add, it's this year's recipient.
Gene Corrigan's chronology in our field is remarkable. As he has said, "Coaching is what got me into college athletics, but administration is what allowed me to make it a career." And, what a career it has been. Out of Baltimore's Loyola High School and after a stint in the Army, Gene entered Duke University as a lacrosse player in 1949. Graduating in 1952, he became a teacher and coach at St. Paul's High School in Baltimore. A year later, he made the best decision of his entire life when he somehow persuaded Lena, now his wife for 44 years and the mother of his seven children, to marry him. After that, as they say, the rest is history.
A coaching stint at Washington and Lee University as head coach of lacrosse and soccer and an assistant coach in basketball, and then he went on to the University of Virginia to coach the same sports. In 1965, he took his first administrative job as sports information director at UVA. Later, he spent two years as the assistant commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
It was then back to Washington and Lee for his first athletics director's job. In 1971, he left there to return to Charlottesville and the University of Virginia as its athletics director. He was there for 10 years and left in 1980 to become the athletics director at the University of Notre Dame, where he stayed until 1987, when he became commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Of course, two years ago, president of the NCAA.
During those years, he has done just about everything possible that any athletics administrator could do. He served on NACDA's Executive Committee, the NCAA Executive Committee. He chaired the NCAA Special Committee on Cost Reduction and I'm sure that was the most fun Gene has ever had. He chaired the Division I Championships Committee and chaired the NCAA Lacrosse committee. He served on the Division I Steering Committee, the Men's Basketball Committee and the NCAA Council. He is chair of the Honors Court and a member of the Board of Directors of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame. He was president of the Collegiate Commissioners Association as well as the United States Lacrosse Coaches Association. It goes on and on.
Gene's career in college athletics leaves a legacy of a bigger and better Atlantic Coast Conference and a restructured and more effective NCAA. His is a legacy of integrity and commitment, of true devotion to the student-athlete, as much or more so, than any administrator I've ever been around. It is a legacy of positive change, of dynamic leadership, of vision and decency and trust. A legacy of appropriate values and respect and fairness. A legacy of keeping what we do in perspective and, yes, a legacy of a wonderful and sometimes wicked sense of humor. He leaves a legacy of numerous able administrators that he has hatched, such as the Jim Copelands, the Todd Turners, the Dave Braines, the Terry Hollands. In short, our enterprise is much better off today because of his 40 years of service to it.
Gene Corrigan is pure class. He's not a hothead, but you don't want to cross him. He's quick with a smile and eye contact, but he's not a glad-hander. He's well connected, but he's not a name dropper. He has a lot of answers, but still asks good questions. He's terrific with the media, but he doesn't seek out the attention. He's open, friendly and accommodating, but he's a tough negotiator. He's a terrific role model for any of us and he has certainly been mine. He gave me my first job in athletics almost 25 years ago and he has been my mentor and put up with me, one way or another, ever since.
I guess, when my age, you shouldn't have a hero, but I do, and it is this year's recipient of the James J. Corbett Award. Ladies and gentlemen, Gene Corrigan. What now goes along with the Corbett Award is an honorary degree from the Sports Management Institute which is from the Universities of Southern California, Notre Dame, North Carolina and South Carolina. Gene, I hope that this being given to you, you will take this and go and do something productive with your life, now that you have this degree.
Thank you John. Hell, if I knew he was going to be doing stuff like this, I would have paid him more money when I hired him. The luck of the Irish! Nobody ever had more luck than I did. Imagine those schools that I worked at over the years. But, the real luck of the Irish was a decision made in 1953 to have a partner in this. Lena, Birdie, we call her. People ask why we call her Birdie. It's because she has bird legs and she has accepted that for 40 some years. It's unbelievable to have such a partner and a best friend. So, Swoff, here we are in Las Vegas. It's a little different place. We drove in looking for a church yesterday, passed one and the sign said, "If you're against sin, come on in. If you're not, call Agnes at 543-2869."
I don't know how lucky anybody can be to have had the jobs I've had at the schools I've had, to be involved with young people like John. Then, to feel as comfortable as I feel leaving and turning over the reigns of the commissioner's job in the ACC to John. He's the best that I know of and he will be great. I'm honored particularly because of the list of past recipients. I did not know Jim Corbett, but I know an awful lot of those recipients and I feel humble having my name appear there with them. I know this, and that is, after I passed 65, there have been a lot of nice things happen to me, but certainly, this is the most significant. Because this is a group, as Glen said, that we probably have put more into and care more about.
I realize that a lot of these things have come to me because of my involvement with the NCAA over the years and, particularly, the past two years. Another one of your former ADs, Ced Dempsey, is doing an absolutely fabulous job as the executive director. But, just the same, in dealing with people I've dealt with on the administrative committee, the executive committee and athletics directors. We're in great shape with people. It's been a pleasure for me to be involved with the Collegiate Commissioners group. All 30 conferences in Division I getting together trying to work through problems have some very bright people.
As I look back, it seems to me I've been propped up my whole life by people. Everywhere I've worked have been great people. I grew up in a family where love and discipline were the two most important things and I would maintain that those two things probably are the best things you can have to raise a family, coach a team or run an organization. I do have to tell you about my mother. She was a tough German woman. She was a little woman, but at the time, I thought she was about 6' 4", and she used to spank us. One time, she spanked us real hard with her hand and broke some of her blood vessels in her hand. She went to the doctor. Imagine this happening today. The doctor said, "When you get mad at those boys, grab something and hit them. Don't hit them with your hand." So, she got a little belt and whenever we were bad, she would say to us, "Go upstairs, get on the bed, take your pants down and I'll be up when I get good and ready." She'd come up and give us a few whacks.
She was very proud of anything we did. When I first went to Loyola High School, my first term, I made the Honor Roll. I want to tell you that every neighbor and every relative we had knew that her son, the genius, made the Honor Roll. She could really lay it on. Well, it was clear to me in the second term that I was not going to make the Honor Roll. I thought it would be wise to begin to prepare her for that. At dinner one night, I mentioned to her that my Latin teacher did not like me. She said, "Go upstairs and take your pants down." I asked, "For what?" She said, "I'm on his side."
I don't have any great words of advice for you. You are all so good at what you do. I'm constantly amazed at the energy and enthusiasm that people involved in intercollegiate athletics have. It startles me. I talk to people in industry and business and they worry about the people that are working for them. Hell, we can't get our people to go home. It's always been that way. You're the best. You're the cream. That's why we're good. Most of all, I'd say this to you. Be proud of what it is we're doing. We're providing great opportunities to young people across the board. We're providing education to people who probably would never have had the opportunity. We're trying to make the playing field level so that the competition could be good. We've probably overdone that a little bit because their book is a little too big. I hope the restructuring will be what we want it to be and that it will simplify matters a little and make it easier for you.
Remember this. Next to the president, you have the most high profile job in your institution. With that, comes a responsibility to protect your institution and also to protect the rights of your student-athletes. I have full faith in all of you. I'm am so honored to be here. Thank you.
Thank you Gene. It's my privilege to introduce our featured speaker for this afternoon, Todd Blackledge of ABC Sports. Todd is a former NFL quarterback, as you know. He's entering his fifth year as ABC Sports college football expert analyst. He joined studio host John Saunders on a weekly basis during college football telecasts last fall and he's been with the network since 1993. Already, he's forecasting UNLV to the Fiesta Bowl. Since the Rebels have won three games in two years, we're very grateful.
In l982, Todd led Penn State to an 11-0 record and a national title. He was named MVP of Penn State's title clinching Sugar Bowl victory over Georgia. For further analysis on that, Coach Vince Dooley will offer a few words. Todd finished sixth in balloting for the Heisman Trophy that season. That was the same year that Hall of Fame inductee, Jim Tarman, began his tenure at Penn State's athletics director.
Todd was recently inducted into the GTE Academic All-America Hall of Fame as part of the 10th anniversary class, joining 40 previous inductees and three honorary members. Todd and his wife are celebrating the recent arrival of their second baby boy. Todd Blackledge.
I'd like to thank NACDA for having me here today. I bring you greetings from UCLA. I did go to Penn State, but my home is UCLA. That's upper Canton, lower Akron, Ohio, is where I'm from. The weather is pretty nice there too. I'm not much of a joke teller, but I feel like I have to tell this one because we're here in Las Vegas. There was an elementary school teacher that was having a little trouble with spelling lessons with her class. She wanted to be a little creative and do something a little different. She came up with a new way to teach spelling.
"I want each child to stand up and tell me what your dad does for a living, spell it and say a little bit about it." A little girl, named Jenna, in the back raised her hand. She said, "My dad is a banker, B A N K E R, he gives people money." "Very good Jenna." Jimmy raised his hand. "My dad's a doctor, D O C T O R, he fixes broken arms and legs." "Very good Jimmy." Tommy stood up. "My dad is an electrician, E L X U R." He was really struggling and the teacher told him to sit down and think about it. Back in the back corner was Johnny, raising his hand. "My dad's a bookie, B O O K I E. He'd give you 10 to one odds that when you go back to Tommy, he still won't be able to spell electrician."
I'd like to congratulate all of the award winners and inductees today, starting with Glen Tuckett and Gene Corrigan. I just met Glen today, but Gene, I've known a little bit. I've actually worked with his son, Tim, on a couple of broadcasts on ESPN. They are a great family and certainly deserving of this award. Jim Tarman, as was mentioned, his first year at Penn State was in 1982, my senior year. I'd like to think that I helped Jim with that national championship season that year. It was a great ride for all of us, and obviously, a great way for him to start his tenure at Penn State. Congratulations to you, Jim.
Bump Elliott I know though his brother. Pete Elliott is the former director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in my hometown of Canton, Ohio, so that Elliott name and their family tradition in athletics are very well known in my home area.
I've been involved in athletics my entire life, as well. Maybe not to the same degree or to the same extent as many of you here, but I grew up the son of a coach. My dad is still in football coaching. He is the offensive line coach for the Indianapolis Colts right now. When I was born, he was a high school coach. He coached in high school for several years and then got into college football coaching. We moved all over the place. I was a gym rat. I was always on the practice field, in the locker room picking up towels and
helmets, always on the sidelines as a ball boy, growing up. I started competing in athletics in football, baseball and basketball from a very early age. I was fortunate enough to get a scholarship to Penn State and was drafted into the National Football League. As soon as I retired, I got right into broadcasting and into a new career where I'm still very much involved in the environment and in the arena of athletics.
I so appreciated the words of Glen Tuckett in his acceptance speech today because I, also, am a very firm believer in the tremendous value of athletics and the value of athletic participation. I speak to a lot of young people, athletes and students in the classroom, and I encourage parents and young people to get involved with athletics. Get involved in some form of a team sport at some point in their life. Not because I think everybody should aspire to be a great athlete or should have, as their number one goal, to be a professional athlete. Not simply because I think it will help them be a more well rounded human being, although it does that. But, I think the reason I encourage it, is in the world of athletics and in our participating in athletics, there is unique training and preparation for life that can only come through our participation in athletics. The lessons we learn and the things that are put into our character through participating in athletics, we can take with us wherever we go and apply to any situation, any job or any relationship that we get involved with down the road.
I want to share a couple of things that I have found now that I'm away from playing and moved into a new career and have carried over. The first thing is that you learn the value and meaning of teamwork. Unless you're in a very unusual set of circumstances in your life, the rest of your life, you're going to somehow have to work with other people. It might be a small team like a husband and wife or small family, to being involved in a multimillion dollar corporation, but whatever the case might be, in one way or another, you're going to have to be involved in a team with other people. You'll have to know what it takes to be a great team and a successful team.
In athletics, we use the term chemistry a lot. This team has great chemistry. That team didn't have good chemistry. They had great talent, but no chemistry. Sometimes that word is a little hard to define. People in athletics know what it means, but you can't pinpoint its definition. There's another word you can define and that word is synergy. Synergy is defined as the simultaneous action of separate agencies which together have a greater total affect than the sum of individual affects. That really is the definition of any great team in athletics, in business, in relationships. That's the definition of a great team. When you're involved in athletics, you learn what it takes to be a great team. You learn how important it is to be willing to sacrifice your own individual efforts, your own individual goals, for the sake of the team.
When I played on that championship team at Penn State, I didn't have to look any further than my room mate, Kurt Warner. Kurt was probably as good a running back as I've ever seen and I'm sure Coach Dooley will attest to this. Kurt Warner, coming into our senior year, was being highly touted as a front-runner for the Heisman Trophy. He gained more than 1,000 yards his junior year. He had great expectations coming into our senior season together, but the only problem was, our offensive line was young and we were inexperienced up front. We felt, as a team, that the best chance we had to win early, was going to be to throw the football, and Penn State, as you know, was never really known for throwing the football. We came out of the box throwing it a lot and early. Kurt Warner, through the first four or five games, never gained more than 100 yards. His Heisman Trophy chances went down the drain. It was difficult for him. The media was right there asking him, every week, every game, trying to create something. But, Kurt Warner, first and foremost, wanted us to have a great team. I was having great success because I had thrown 12 touchdowns in the first three football games and we weren't running the football, but Kurt Warner was willing to place the team first and his individual efforts second.
We changed during the course of the year. We got back to running the football. He ended up gaining 1,000 yards. When we finally got to the Georgia game, we were about as well balanced as an offensive football team as you would ever see. In fact, when we won the national championship in 1982, Penn State became the first team to ever win a national championship gaining more yards throwing the football than running the football. It since has been done several times, but Penn State was the first team to do that. It might be a trivia question someday.
You also learn about how important impartiality is and how to get along with other people. You have people coming from the inner city of Philadelphia. You get kids that grew up on a farm, all sorts of different backgrounds, beliefs and bring them together. You try to sell a team concept. It takes impartiality and a willingness to accept others and work with others to be a great team. You learn that in being involved in athletics.
You learn about being accountable. I think football, maybe more so than any other team sport, is the great teacher of this. You know the old adage that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Football is a great teacher of that. You've got 11 guys and everybody has to execute on a certain play or the play won't work, particularly on offense. If you've got nine guys that do their job and two guys that take the play off, the play is not going to be successful. More specifically, as a quarterback, I had to know that I could count on those offensive lines to do their job, particularly that left tackle. If I'm a right-handed quarterback, I had to know that guy was an accountable guy, he got his sleep the night before, he studied his game plan and he watched films on the guy he's going up against. When I turn my back to that defensive end, I know I can count on that guy.
The same thing is true in what I do right now working for ABC. My left tackle now is John Saunders. He's the guy I've got to count on. When we go on live television and there's no retakes, I've got to count on the fact that John is going to ask me the right questions and lead me in the direction I'm comfortable with. He's not going to let that guy come around and hit me from the blind side. John Saunders has a left tackle too and that guy is Brian Hyland. You never see him, but he's our research guy who is on the floor with us. He's the guy responsible for getting John the information. When we do all of those scores and highlights, there's a lot of times it's 15 seconds before we're getting ready to go on the air and John still doesn't have any information in front of him because Brian is trying to accumulate it all and get it all organized. Sometimes, it's right before the light goes on that we get the information in front of us. You learn from being involved with athletics how important it is to be accountable. If you want to be a part of a great team, you've got to be accountable as an individual, accountable to your teammates. That applies to whatever you do in life.
You learn about discipline and the importance of discipline. I mentioned that my dad was a coach. They all have little sayings and they like to spout them off all of the time. I soaked all of them up like a big sponge. I had little plaques in my room while I was growing up. My favorite one was what I called the six "w's." Work Will Win When Wishing Won't. You have to have a great work ethic. You learn the importance of a work ethic in your involvement in athletics. Sometimes you can just get buy on talent, but as you climb up the ladder in competition, if you're not willing to work hard, you're going to get left behind and you'll be replaced. They're going to find somebody that maybe doesn't have the same talent, but they're going to go out there and bust their hump, that person is going to take your place.
I'm about half way through reading Rick Pitino's book, Success is a Choice. One particular thing he brings up is, he talks about how you have to do certain things to put yourself in a position to where you deserve success to happen in your life, as an athlete, a business person, in relationships, etc. I believe that a big part of that is having that work ethic. There are no short cuts to success. You've got to be willing to put the time in with the fundamentals, the basic, the mundane, the boring things. You learn that in athletics. You have to pay attention to the details.
I run into people all of the time who say I have a great job. It is fun. It was fun playing professional football. It's great fun working for ABC. It's not just what you see on Saturday afternoons or on Sunday. The real essence of that job is what you do behind the scenes when no one is watching. It's your preparation, your work during the week leading up to that Saturday or Sunday. You learn the importance of that being involved in athletics. There are no short cuts.
It's important for athletics to provide that example and teaching the importance of discipline. We live in a society that is giving a counter message of that. You can have short cuts to success. We have people spending millions of dollars of lottery tickets. We have people spending millions of dollars on fad diets and phony exercise equipment trying to find an easy, quick, short way to be successful or to achieving something. Life is not like that. Athletics is not like that. If you want something, you need to be willing to work harder than the guy next to you to get it. Athletics teaches us the importance of discipline.
Athletics teaches us the importance of poise. I can't even imagine how many times Joe Paterno said that during the four years I was at Penn State. "Keep your poise, keep your poise." He's still saying it to this day. The more you think about it, it's true. When you're involved in athletics, not just as a quarterback, sooner or later you're going to be put in some position where you have to make things happen, make some decisions, make a reaction, have a response in the heat of a battle. That's great for you. If I'm out there looking for somebody to work for me and be on my staff and be involved with me, I want people that have been in those situations. I want people who have been under the gun and have had to respond. I want guys and gals who have had to step up and toe that foul line with no time left and your team down by one and you've got to make two shots to win the game. I want somebody that's been up to bat with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and a chance to win a game. I want a guy whose been in that situation as a quarterback whose got a fourth and goal situation and has to get the play in order to win the game. I want people like that. People who have learned to keep their composure, keep their poise under pressure.
You learn about humility in athletics. Another one of my dad's famous sayings was, "It's a short walk from the penthouse to the outhouse." That is so true. You find that out very early. Not every day is a good day. Not every pass is complete. Not every decision is a good one. Not every game is won. You learn that. The greatest ad I've seen on television is one that I've heard during the NBA playoffs and it's the newest ad with Michael Jordon, the black and white one, where he gets out of the car and he's just talking and walking to the locker room. He's talking about how many times he's failed in his life. He talks about the 26 times he's been asked to take the game-winning shot for his team and missed it. Just as he walks in the door, he says, "I've failed over and over and over in my life and that is why I succeed." Humility is an important quality that you learn and that you can apply in any situation in your life. Some days are just going to be better than others. You need humility to be able to look honestly at yourself.
The greatest problem with a lot of athletes and what keeps them from ever getting to be where they want to be or achieve the best they can be is that they cannot look honestly at themselves or at their strengths and weaknesses. All they can see is their strength and they can't really look and evaluate and say this is a weakness. This is something I can improve. The guys and gals who can't do that come up with a thousand excuses. A lot of that is simply that there's not enough humility to look at yourself honestly and make the adjustments. If you have humility, you'll also be teachable. You learn how important it is to be teachable as an athlete.
The greatest example of teachability I ever saw was in my last year with the Pittsburgh Steelers. I went there a couple of years removed from the tail end of when the Steelers were great. There were only two players left from the glory days, Mike Webster, who's going into the Hall of Fame this summer, and Donny Shell. Those two guys were the greatest two practice players I've ever seen. Those two guys had won four Super Bowls, been to numerous Pro Bowls, they were in their 14th and 15th year and were the first guys on the practice field. They went full speed every day in practice. They were the last guys to leave the practice field and they were always asking questions. As a young player, I'm watching these guys and I saw that they never thought they were too good or too smart to learn something new to get better. They were teachable guys, and in athletics, you learn how important it is to be teachable. You better be teachable in life. You better be teachable from wherever you go from the athletic field or your playing days because you will always be in situations where you can learn something else.
The last area I believe you can learn in athletics is perseverance. I've always liked this poem, "How do you act when the pressure is on, when the chance for victory is almost gone? When fortune's star has refused to shine and the ball is on your own five-yard line. Cowards can run when they're way ahead. It's the uphill grind that marks a thoroughbred. How do you act when things are rough? Do you want to quit when the breaks get tough, or is there in you a flame that grows brighter and fiercer as the battle goes? How long and how hard will you fight the foe? That is what the world wants to know. You hope for success, then tell me son, how do you act when the pressure is on?"
In athletics and in life, the issue is not whether you're going to have to deal with set backs and with things that don't go your way. That's a given. The issue is, how are you going to handle them? Are you going to learn to fight through them, to endure, to see what's on the other side? Athletes have a great advantage in life because they've experienced that firsthand. They've walked through that experience of learning how to persevere. When I was a young lad, my dad was coaching at the University of Kentucky and they were playing the University of Alabama in football in Lexington. Kentucky hadn't beater Alabama forever. It was a new coaching staff at Kentucky. They had just built Commonwealth Stadium. It was a new atmosphere and a new energy and they had a pretty good team. Here comes Bear Bryant and the mighty Alabama team into play. Kentucky comes out and they are on fire. They score first and it's 7-0, Kentucky. They score again and it's 14-0, Kentucky at the end of the first quarter. People were going crazy. I'm on the sidelines as a ball boy going nuts. Back and forth through the second quarter, Kentucky is playing great on both sides of the ball. Halftime comes and it's 14-0. They had shut out Alabama in the first half.
The players were running off the field giving high fives and the fans were giving them a standing ovation. The band was playing and the cheerleaders are jumping. Everybody is just besides themselves. Could this be the year that Kentucky finally beats Alabama? We came out to start the second half. It's opening kickoff and Willy Shelby takes it on the five-yard line and runs 95 yards back for a touchdown for Alabama. It's 14-7, Kentucky. Alabama scores again right at the end of the third quarter to make it 14-14. Kentucky is starting to get tired, but they're still playing great.
What burned in my memory is that I was standing on the sideline and when the clock ended and the gun ended the third quarter and start the fourth quarter, everybody on the Alabama sideline, every coach, player, equipment manager, trainer, everybody, just stood there and held four fingers up in the air. Nobody said anything. I'll never forget seeing that. You see it more and more now, but that was my first time seeing it. It was as if Alabama was saying this is money time for us. This is when we win football games, in the fourth quarter. This is where we run people down. We hang in there, keep it close and then we persevere through that and make our mark in the fourth quarter. Sure enough, Alabama won that football game 28-14, but the lesson I learned from that and I've applied to everything in my life is, you've got to have a fourth quarter mentality to be successful in life. A lot of people in life don't succeed for the very simple reason that they quit when things get too hard. They don't have a fourth quarter mentality about their life.
That's why I think athletes have a great advantage going into any business or any kind of field because they know what it's like to play the fourth quarter. That's ingrained in their system that the game's not over at halftime. The game is not over at the end of the third quarter. The game is not over until the time is all out in the fourth quarter. Perseverance is a major quality you get from athletics.
I urge you guys in the fields that you're at to continue doing what you're doing. To echo the words of Gene and Glen, how important your jobs are and how important your responsibilities are to your universities and schools and to your student-athletes. Continue to work hard to preserve and to protect the integrity and the opportunities involved with intercollegiate athletics. I know there are difficult issues that are facing you now. You're navigating through waters now that are very difficult with all of the different issues, such as gender equity, financial issues and agents, etc., that weren't the same years ago. Don't give up the cause, keep working hard because the benefits you provide for young student-athletes, the training for life, the character qualities that come from kids being able to participate in athletics, you can't get anywhere else. You can't learn those lessons in any better experiential way. Those lessons and benefits can be taken with these student-athletes wherever they go and apply them to any situation they go into in life once their playing days are done. Thank you very much and have a good day.
Thank you Todd for a terrific presentation. We have a little present for you on behalf of NACDA. Dave, if you would come forward, we have a present for you to thank you on behalf of NACDA for being here today.
Jim Copeland, would you please come forward to receive the presidential clock. We want to thank Jim for serving as president of NACDA last year. Thank you for your service to NACDA.
I have two quick announcements. The NACDA tennis tournament will be held at 3:00 p.m. at the Bally's tennis courts and Bob Thompson is in charge of that. The Division I-A Athletics Directors who are playing golf today, note that the bus will be parked at the Flamingo Road exit and will depart 30 minutes after the luncheon. The dress today is casual both for golf and the reception afterwards.
Let's have one final round of applause for all of our honorees today. If today cannot inspire you, you cannot be inspired. I want to remind you about the exhibitors. Please get to our exhibits and talk to the exhibitors. They do a tremendous service for us, so please take time to do that. Put your business cards in for the drawing that will be done tomorrow night. This is a round trip to England presented to us from International Sports, Inc., located at booth 223 and represented by Deborah Dunston. Thank you for being here today.