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All NACDA Members
The Challenge of Leadership in College Athletics
(Monday, June 16, 9:15 - 10:00 a.m.)

Barbara Hedges:

Our next session is on the "Challenge of Leadership in College Athletics." Here to introduce our featured speaker is Dave Hart, Jr, the director of athletics at Florida State University and a member of NACDA's Executive Committee.

Dave Hart, Jr.:

First of all, Merlin, thank you. It's always a pleasure to have someone of your fame and, more importantly, your understanding of the industry to kick off this Convention. I know all of my colleagues out there share that thought. You said it all and you said it very well.

It's my pleasure to introduce to you our next speaker, Zig Ziglar. As Barbara has mentioned, the theme, the common thread of this year's Convention is to discuss leadership and to intertwine within that theme how important communication is. Merlin Olsen alluded to that a number of times during his presentation. Zig Ziglar has made a reputation, earned a reputation, as a person who understands the importance of leadership, the importance of communication and it's link to ultimate success.

Zig is the president and founder of the Zig Ziglar Corporation. His philosophy, for those of you who have already picked up the brochures, is that you can have everything in life that you want if you just help enough other people to achieve what they want. He has tried to implement that philosophy all over the world in the last 25 years, sending profound life improvement messages and helping people maximize their full potential. Many of his works and books are in several different languages.

In 1970, he started his full-time speaking career by forming his own company. Today, the corporation is a multi-million dollar operation that teaches the principles that Ziglar preaches -- hard work, common sense, fairness, integrity, commitment and honor. He's produced multiple audio and video tapes, books and training manuals for organizations ranging from Fortune 500 companies to churches. He told me before we began the program that his proudest association has been with the Boy Scouts. I'll let him speak to that.

He has written 10 books, eight of which have been on the best seller's list, on growth, leadership and success. He's been recognized three times in the Congressional Record of the United States for work with youth on the drug war in his dedication to America and the free enterprise system.

It is my pleasure to introduce to you now, Mr. Zig Ziglar.

Zig Ziglar:

Thank you Dave. Thank you. Wasn't Merlin outstanding? That's the first time I've heard him. I live in Dallas. I wasn't born there, but I got there as quickly as I could. We had a lady in Dallas, talking about communication, that went down to see a lawyer about a divorce. The lawyer asked, "What's the problem?" She started generalizing. He said, "No. Be specific." She said, "Like how?" He said, "Well, do you have any grounds?" She said, "Oh, yes. As a matter of fact, we've got about 40 acres out here on the north end of town." He said, "No, that's not what I'm talking about. Do you have a grudge?" She said, "No, but we have this really neat little carport on the side of the house." He said, "Woman, we've got to be more specific in this. Does that man ever beat you up?" She said, "Oh no, I'm up every morning at least an hour or an hour and a half before he even turns over." "Well, woman, do you accept any responsibility?" She said, "Like how?" He said, "Do you ever wake up grouchy?" She said, "No, I just let him get up on his own whenever he wills." He asked, "Well, why do you want to divorce the man?" She said, "The guy just can't communicate."

I believe that communication is the key. Merlin touched on a note that is significant. I love the story about the little guy confronted by the three bullies. Any one of them could have obliterated him. He was a bright little guy, so he took a little stick, drew a line in the ground and backed up about six paces. He looked at the biggest of the bullies and said, "Now, you just step across that line." The big bully confidently stepped across the line. The little guy just smiled and said, "Now, we're both on the same side." The reality is to say that we need to understand that parent and child are on the same side. Teach a student on the same side, athletic director and coach on the same side. When we understand that, it's easier to handle any difficulties that arise.

A few years ago, the red head and I, and some of you know that when I talk about my wife, I always refer to her as a red head. She's a decided red head. Any one day, she just decided to be a red head. She's a very excited red head. She's been inducted into the MasterCard Hall of Fame. She really believes her spiritual gift is shopping. Matter of fact, she bought a little car that gives her 19 malls to the gallon.

Anyhow, the red head and I were in Australia and we had a chance to go into the Sydney Opera House to hear the world famous Sydney Symphony Orchestra. We got there a few minutes early and they were doing their warmup. It was noise from this instrument and noise from that instrument and noise from that instrument. Then, the orchestra conductor walked out and, instantly, everybody got quiet and sat at attention. When he stepped on the platform and raised his baton so did the instruments. When he brought the baton down, beautiful music erupted. In that orchestra, they had a gentlemen over 70 years old and a young man who was 21. They had a little lady that couldn't have weighed more than 75 pounds and they had a guy there that weighed about 400 pounds. There was somebody playing the flute and somebody playing the bass fiddle. Yet, with the leader bringing them together, it was wonderful.

That's what I would like to talk about, leadership and some things that I think are incredibly important along those lines. I want to talk about hope. Alfred Adler, the great psychiatrist, said that if you recognize the fact that the foundational quality of all change is hope, to that I would like to add, and I'll deal with this a lot more in the private breakout session, but if you think about it for just a moment, hope is the great activator.

The astute athlete who does not think he can really learn the more difficult subjects will make no effort. As a matter of fact, if they don't think they can pass, they won't study. The unemployed who have no hope of getting a job will make no effort to get the job. The married couple in trouble who have no hope in solving the problem will make no effort to solve that problem. The football team which has no hope of winning won't make the effort to win.

One of my favorite stories told by one of my associates, Coach Parker, tells when he went over to Marshall, Texas as the head coach, they had not won a championship. As a matter of fact, they had not been in a playoff game since 1949, when Y.A. Tittle was the quarterback. After a very frustrating couple of years, one of the athletes told Coach Parker, "Well, Coach, you ought to quit. You ought to go get yourself a job somewhere else." Coach Parker asked, "Why?" He said, "Well, you're never going to be a winner here. When we show up on the field, we have accomplished our objective. Our objective is to play. You want to win. We just want to play. Coach, the whole philosophy here is to play the game, not to win the game." He realized instantly they had a mental problem and had no hope of winning. When he started working on that, three years later, they were in the playoff. Four years later, they were state champions in football because hope had been generated and attitude had been changed. Now, obviously, the coaching skills are part of the package. As everybody knows, the mental aspect of the game is so incredible.

I believe a coach's job and an athletic director's job is to get an individual filled with that hope and then build a base under it with the instructions to go along with it. I want to start the process by asking five questions of you and here is the first question. How many of you, just as a matter of curiosity have heard me before or else, is it the first time? The second question is tricky. How many of you honestly and sincerely believe that there is something you, as individuals, can specifically do in the next two weeks that would make your personal life, your family life and your business life worse? How many of you believe that there is something you can do to make your personal, family and business lives better? Third question, how many of you believe that the choice is yours? How many of you believe that every choice has an end result? Some of you are not responding. You might still be in shock, but the reality is, you just agreed to something if you were, in fact, following me and agreeing with me.

Here's what you just said. I don't care how bad or good my circumstances have been. I don't care how bad or good my circumstances are at this moment. There's something I can do right now, that will make my future either better or worse and the choice is mine. What's the message? Folks, we are given choices. We are in control. To see so many of these young athletes that come under our jurisdiction, so many times they have eliminated or have never been told or convinced that they really hope. There is something more that they can do. We need to look at what goes on beyond life in football, basketball or baseball.

You see, in football, we know that when they get down on the goal line, their objective and what they really see is six points and then another point. But, the big question is when they get down to the goal line in the game of life and they look at the end zone, what do they see there? We've got to give them a vision. We've got to give them a dream. One of the reasons legal immigrants are four times as likely to become millionaires in America, as are those who are born here, whether they're from the Orient, Central or South America, Africa, the Middle East or Europe, four times as likely those legal immigrants are. Despite the fact that they leave family and friends and support group, climate and culture and language, they come with a vision.

America is the land of opportunity. America is where anybody can make it. America is a land where a young lad had a dream to be big and be an athlete. Person after person after person tried to discourage him, one specifically. He still hung in there because he, too, had a dream and we all know I'm talking about Merlin Olsen.

There is that hope, but we've got to give some basis for it. We have to understand and teach them there is, but there are problems involved. It is going to take a great deal of effort on your part. We're so proud to have Coach D.W. Rutledge and Coach Dennis Parker with us because they have constructed a program which they've used with great success, coaching to change lives, not just win the game. Yes, that's important and they do that. Rutledge has been, since 1988, in the state championship six times and won four of them in 5-A football. We know that this works, but at the same time, it is giving them that hope for the future.

Now, we believe in teaching, coaching and education. We believe that we need to deal with all aspects of life. Years ago, I bought the John Wooden philosophy. He said, "He's interested in what the athlete does on the playing field and during practice, but I'm more interested in what they do between the practice sessions." In the business world, what you do off the job is going to play a major role in how far you go on the job. We need to look at the whole person because the reality is, you've got to be before you can do. You got to do before you can have.

Every coach I've ever talked to talks about the game plan for the game. If the game plan is a good one and if they sold the team that this is a good plan, yes, we do have a chance to win. Then, they go into that game with a great deal more confidence of how the outcome of the game is going to be.

I believe there is a game plan for life. That's what I really want to address here. I want to address the fact that, yes, we literally need to keep on learning and keep on going. We should not just talk about just a college degree. We should talk about what they're going to do beyond that from an educational point of view. I had the privilege of having some incredible mentors in my life. Several years apart, two of the most brilliant men I've ever known, told me the same thing.

Less than one-half of one percent of our accumulated knowledge comes as a direct result of formal education. The rest comes from outside reading, seminars, clinics, influenced by people other than just the formal educators. Now, please don't misunderstand. I strongly advocate that an individual get all of the formal education they can. But, I also believe we need to encourage them to keep going in that education. Let me give you an example, my secretary who, Thursday, celebrates her 20th year with us, only finished the 10th grade. She understood that you can finish school. You can even make it easy, but that's not true of education. You never finish it. Three years ago, we did an evaluation of our key personnel in our company. Laurie graded at slightly above the master's degree level because she continued the education.

We need to keep it going. I think Cynthia Ann Beard said it better than anybody I've ever heard, when she said, "In times of change, it is the learner's who will inherit the earth. While the learned will find themselves beautifully equipped for a world that no longer exists."

So, what is the game plan? There's a formula for it. We have worked for years on this formula. First of all, we start with the right mental attitude. Every coach and athletic director I've ever talk with said that your athletic success is determined more by your commitment, your attitude, than anything else. Oh, you've got to have the ability to go with it, but you see, that is something that can be developed. The attitude is a skill which also can be acquired. We need to keep on learning.

Because I'm really well known for dealing with attitude so much, I get perturbed when I hear some highly motivated enthusiastic young man or woman stand up and say, "Man alive, with the right attitude, with positive thinking, you can just do anything." Folks, that simply is not true. That is not even positive thinking. That's what we call new age thinking. The new agers say, "all is one and one is all. I am God." Well, there are three things I know. Number one, there is a God. Number two, it ain't me, and number three, it ain't you either.

On the surface, when you think about it that long, we know that with positive thinking, you can't do anything. Everybody here would recognize the name of Shaquille O'Neal, 7'3" tall and 314 pounds, just signed a contract for three and one-half trillion dollars to play basketball. Actually, it was for $120 million. He's optimistic, upbeat, positive, highly motivated, tremendous basketball player, but I don't care how many of those wonderful qualities he has, he would still be a total and complete failure as a jockey. As a matter of fact, he'd have to carry the horse across the line.

Even those of you who have never me or heard of me, how many of you have already decided that, actually, I'm a pretty optimistic, upbeat, positive thinking person? I'm the kind of guy who would take my last two dollars and buy a money belt with it. That's the way I am. I'd go out to Moby Dick in a row boat and take the tartar sauce with me. I'm built that way. It's my nature. I always believe that tomorrow's going to be better than today. When I greet people, whether it's nine o'clock in the morning or nine o'clock at night, I always greet them the same way. I say, "Good morning." Whether I'm in Augusta, Maine or New Zealand, 85 percent of them respond, "Good morning." They immediately say, "It's not morning." I say, "Well, why did you say morning?" "Because you said morning." That makes a major point.

When you go out in life looking for friends, they're going to be scarce. When you go out in life to be a friend, you're going to find them everywhere. It's a fact of life. We need to understand that you really can have everything in life that you want if you will just help other people get what they want.

When we look at attitude, yes, I am an optimist and a positive thinker. But, if you needed major surgery, I would not recommend me. I'd be optimistic and enthusiastic and positive, but you'd still die. If I need major surgery, I'd rather have a negative surgeon who's well educated in surgery, but a positive thinker who can't tell my side from the side of a beef is not what I want. I want a positive thinking, educated surgeon to work on me. That's the kind of person I want representing my team. Optimistic, yes, but trained in the skills that go along with it. Attitude is the beginning point. But, until you add the skill to it, you're going to end up with a lot of motivated people who walk off the field as losers in that particular game. It takes the two of them. Put those two things together and some wonderful things happen. Positive thinking won't let you do anything, but it will let you do everything better than negative thinking will. Positive thinking will let you use the ability which you have and that, my friends, is awesome. Then, we add the skill to it and more incredible things are going to happen.

How does positive thinking work? Well, we walked into this room this morning and it was pitch black. One of the most amazing things I've ever seen is how they lighted this room. It was astonishing. You know how they did it? They just flip switches and it was lighted. Why? Because the electricity had already been generated that released it.

A youngster walks into a classroom with a positive attitude and hadn't studied for the test. He's going to flunk that sucker. You can count on it. I don't care how positive he is. If he or she has studied, when they walk in with a positive attitude, the positive attitude releases what they know. Put the two of them together and, particularly, in difficult times, that's when you're going to get such dramatic results.

The first part of our formula is attitude, second, is skill. The third part is philosophy that we've already talked about. You can have everything in life that you want, if you'll just help enough other people get what they want. A lot of people don't realize this. Coach Lou Holtz at Notre Dame was there 11 years. In those 11 years, he promoted or had 10 of his coaches go on to the head coaching jobs at other schools. Incidently, Lou has been teaching this concept since he was at Arkansas. We go back that far.

On the surface, when a coach will say that he lost his very best assistant coach and he was great or she was great. Let me tell you something rather fascinating that happened. Bob Davie is now the head coach at Notre Dame. When he was at A&M in the same position, he decided to go to Notre Dame because he said, "Lou Holtz develops head coaches. I'll have a better chance of being that." Now, each time they lost a head coach, guess what happened. Many assistant coaches around the country said, "If I want to be a head coach, man, if I can just get there, I'll have a better chance of doing it." Well, what do you do when you lose your best coach? Every time the new assistants came in, guess what they brought with them? Their high school contacts. Saturday, the redhead and I went to lunch. The manager introduced us to his assistant manager and told us that, unfortunately, his assistant manager will not be there very long. He has too much ability and will be running his own store, just like the former assistant manager did, who had just left him a month earlier. He said, "I'm losing my best guys." I said, "Yes, you know the rest of the story, don't you?"

Some leaders develop followers. The real leaders develop leaders. The home office is looking at you because they want people who can develop leaders. When they find somebody who can develop leaders, that's the person who they're going to eyeball very carefully because they are a rare breed. They're the ones who really get the most out of life. I don't know if it impressed you as much as it did me, but when Merlin was talking about Michael Landon, about how they became one and not working for, but working with. He was developing talent and skill and he was just as thrilled about Merlin's success in that profession as Merlin himself was getting from it. As a matter of fact, maybe more. You see, the reality is that other people can give you pleasure, but you'll never be happy until you do things for other people. Coaches, you know that better than anybody else. What thrills you experience when your guys and gals really get out there, not only on the athletic field and perform, but you do something in the game of life.

How does this philosophy work in the business world - you can have what you want. Well, first of all, it's just the Golden Rule stated another way. The December 9, 1989 issue of the Wall Street Journal did a study on Golden Rule companies. Here's what they found. They make more money; they grow faster and they have a greater return on equity. I was fascinated reading Fortune Magazine and they listed the 10 wealthiest people in the world. One of the 10 was a Chinese gentleman from Hong Kong named Likashing. He earned his fortune financing small businesses. Now, his sons are running the business and they're following the same principle. They find small companies or, small companies find them, who have good products, good leadership, but they're undercapitalized. He's always believed that if 10 percent ownership is the going rate for financing them, but you could get 11 percent or even 12 percent, you always take nine. Nine percent of a going business and thriving business is more than 12 percent of a struggling business. Of infinitely more importance is the fact that when the business community watches you take nine percent when you could have gotten more, they're going to figure he's really interested in us succeeding. You can have everything in life that you want if you'll just help enough other people get what they want. All of the good deals will come our way.

When your athletes, not only make it on the athletic field, but when they've gotten an education and a motivation and encouragement and inspiration to make it in other areas of life, where you teach more than athletics, that they're going to send their sons and daughters and brothers and sisters, and their neighbors and cousins and other people to this school because here is what happened. Now, Merlin didn't identify it as a commercial for his school, but I guarantee you there were many people who hear his message and say, that's where I'd like my child to go, where they have that concept.

That's what I'm talking about. What happened down at the University of Miami last year? First of all, Butch Davis bought the philosophy that we teach. He came through a three-day, "Born to win" seminar in Dallas and bought the idea that you gotta be before you can do, you gotta do before you can have. He invested in a video training program called, "Strategies for Success." He started teaching his other coaches and his athletes. He gives credit to the philosophy of turning the team around. They have a totally different attitude.

The third part of the program is to have the right philosophy. Number one, attitude; number two, skill; number three, the right philosophy and number four, you've got to have the right direction. Only three percent of the people in America have an organized goals program designed primarily to help them get more of the things that money will buy. Now folks, money is not everything, but it's reasonably close to oxygen. When you need it, you need it. I get a kick out of people who say they are not interested in money. Anybody that says a thing like that is going to lie about other things too. That's just part of the package. I like the things money will buy. I like to wear nice clothes, drive a nice car, live in a nice house, take that beautiful redheaded wife of mine on nice trips and eat in nice restaurants. I like to play golf at the country club. Every one of them costs money.

I love the things money won't buy. Money bought me a real nice house. It won't buy me a home. Money will buy me a companion. It won't buy me a friend. Money will buy me a bed, but it won't buy me a good night's sleep. Money will buy me a good time, but it won't buy me peace of mind. I gotta tell you that I love the things that money won't buy. I'm so grateful to be able to say that I do have many of the things that money will buy and of infinitely more importance, the things that money won't buy.

I believe that we've got to put that philosophy in there. So, when we set our goals, we need to include the other facets of life, the physical, the mental and the spiritual. We need to look at our personal lives, our family lives and our business lives. They all go together. You simply must have that philosophy in there. Does it work?

David Jensen at UCLA did a study on the people who pay money to hear me speak. We talk about these things. He did a before and after study. In this study, those who had a goals program and everybody has an individual goal. An alcoholic has a goal. The drug addict has a goal. You had a goal and one of them was to be here at this session. That's an individual goal. They're easy to attain. But, a goals program is a little different. The people who buy a ticket to hear me speak represent every walk of life. In the same big seminar, we've had psychiatrists and truck drivers, civil service workers, the military, college professors. We've had many coaches, sales people, CEO's of big companies and small companies. Those with the goals program earned an average of $7,411 per month. Those without the goals program earned an average of $3,397 a month.

But, that's just part of the story. The rest of it is, those people with the program were happier and healthier and they got along better with the folks at home. And though the study did not reveal this, I'd bet you nine dollars to a nickel, which is my favorite non-bet, that those people also were more secure and had more friends and greater peace of mind to go along with it. They had balance in their lives. You've got to have direction in your life. That's one of the reasons that we believe that everything starts with the individual, whether they are the athletic director, the coach, the assistant coach or whatever. That's the reason we encourage so strongly that personal goal factor so that we continuously learn. That way, we respond to life instead of react to life.

How many of you have ever been caught in a traffic jam at the worst possible time? How many of you, on occasion, have been known when that happens to stomp your foot and slap the steering wheel, shake your fist and sit on horn and demand they do something about it? It probably is going to surprise you, but I recommend that you do that. Here's why. I'm certain that you noticed that the louder you blew your horn, the more quickly the traffic in front of you opened up and let you go straight through.

Now, if there's a better way to solve that one, you'd like to know what it was. Here's what you do. The next time you get caught in a traffic jam at the worst possible time or any other time, look at it and say, "It's going to take me 30 minutes to get through that sucker." I'm going to plug this educational inspirational tape in here and I can learn to build my vocabulary two more words. I can learn three new leadership skills. I can learn this new defensive alignment that they were talking about at the clinic. I can learn. I can learn. Did you know the average American spends 400 hours a year in the car? Do you realize what you can learn in 400 hours?

I was a visiting scholar at the University of Southern California for two years. Here's what they learned. In three year's time in your automobile, if you live in a metropolitan area and drive 12,000 miles a year, you can learn the equivalent of two years of college education in your car. But, there's something else even more significant than that. I've been talking now about 20 minutes. Merlin talked about 30 minutes. You've been sitting here nearly one hour or, actually, a little over an hour. Normally, when you sit in the same spot for an hour, you begin to get a little wiggly and wonder when there's a break. If this statement is true, I'd like you to throw your hands up with great excitement and enthusiasm. If it's not true, just leave it by your side. Even though you've been here this lengthy of time, you are now more energized physiology than you were when you sat down. May I see those hands go up.

In the May, 1989 issue of Meetings & Conventions magazine, it was reported that when you hear inspiration delivered, what happens is that your brain is literally flooded with all the new transmitters. Think what would happen if we could persuade everybody on their way to work every morning to plug in an inspirational tape. You would get to work excited and up because psychologists say your first significant encounter each day has more impact on your attitude that day than will the next five encounters. Why not choose something of an inspirational nature to get that brain flooded with the good stuff that inspires us to do the right thing?

You've got to have the right direction in your life. The next step is the most important step of all and that is the character step. Ultimately, those who make it big over the long haul, have a solid character base on which they build. If you would check your mind and resources just for a moment, you will recognize the fact that virtually all great failures are character failures. Check your record. We've had two four-star generals. One, who was put out of the service or resigned and took a lower rate. Another, who was denied the privilege of being the Joint Chairman of the Chief of Staff and he was the favorite until an adulteress affair was revealed in his life. You look at Ted Kennedy, who could have been president except for that character flaw. Look at Jimmy Baker and Jimmy Swaggert. Look at people and you will see, here are men that could have been more successful but for that character flaw.

What is character? That's the athlete that sucks it up when the going really gets tough. When he's standing in six inches of mud, but his job is to stop the offense coming his way. This is the athlete who, when the game is really on the line, he's the one who wants the quarterback to throw him the ball. That's character. Character is the ability to carry out a good resolution long after the excitement of the moment has passed. It must be taught. One of the reasons I'm as excited today is because we have, under the direction of Coach Rutledge and Coach Parker, who have been using our program all of these years, have now designed it, coaching to save lives, specifically aimed at the athletes. Broken down in 81 segments which can be taught one or two at a time. They can be taught for 10 minutes, 15 minutes or 30 minutes. That's very important.

You see Stanford University did a study and here's what they learned. Many people buy into ideas and concepts and procedures, but 90 percent of them are not able to implement them because they do not have the resources in order to do so. One motivational session will get people excited, but motivation is not permanent. When you think about it, if we could get that ongoing encouragement. When the game looks like it's never going to end, if we can keep that ongoing encouragement, then we'll have an infinitely better chance of winning that game.

I do hope when this is over that you will come outside and take a look at what we've got. Look at our personal growth sessions there. Look at what happens when you put it all together and then what we offer to the schools themselves. I'm going to be around all day answering questions, as will our staff.

Let me wind up by making a couple of observations on the importance of setting the right example. Why this philosophy works anywhere you might be. Tri-City Hospital in Dallas, last year, for the first time in their history, became one of the top 100 hospitals in America. In order to do that, you've got to do eight things. I'll just mention two of them. One, you've got to reduce mortality about 20 percent. I'm talking about saving lives. How does it come about? They all got on the same page. They involved the janitors, the cart pushers, the lunch room people, the nurses, the administrators and everybody in the program. Because 14 people touch an individual who is sick in any given day. One bad apple with a bad attitude can set that patient back dramatically. When you get everybody on the same page, some incredible things happen.

I want to close on a hitchhike on what Merlin had to say about the young man who made that trip. Ladies and gentlemen, Bill Glass is a good friend of mine. He is the former all-pro end for the Cleveland Browns. He has a prison ministry. He's been in over 360 prisons in America, many of them, dozens of times. He's talked to literally thousands of those who are incarcerated one on one. Ninety-four percent of those in prison are men. Ninety-nine percent on death row are men. In the state of Florida, as an example, there are 40,000 people incarcerated and 94 percent of them are men. Of the 40,000, 13 of them are Jews. I don't know what the percentage is in all of the states, but I can tell you that in Texas, Arkansas and California, it's very similar to that. I know you undoubtedly wonder what on earth did they do? If we did the same thing, would we get similar results? I'm talking about your personal family now.

I'm going to tell you what they do and, yes, I do believe that we'd get the same result. The Jews do three things. It goes back to Abraham, Jacob and Isaac and still does. Bless you, my son, I love you, son. Then, they give them a big hug and a big kiss. We have three daughters. I don't ever remember coming into their presence without hugging and kissing. I don't ever remember having a phone conversation and we didn't conclude it by one of us saying, "I love you" and the other responding. I never set a date for my son. I never said, well the boy's 16 now, it's time to hush all of this stuff, stop all of this. But, over a period of time, it got less and less. So, I heard Bill.

A couple of days later, my son and I were playing golf. We got back to the house. As he was moving his clubs from my car over to his, let me emphasize a point. I believe my son and I are as close as any father/son you'll ever see. Every year in July, we go to Austin, Texas for four days and play the father/son golf tournament. He came along 10 years after our youngest daughter. On that day, after Bill Glass, as my son moved his clubs to his car I said, "Son, I need to tell you something." He said, "Okay Dad, what is it?" I said, "Son, I don't know why, but over a period of time, I've stopped telling you how much I love you and how important you are to me. Son, I just want you to know I love you very much. You're extremely important to me." With a tear in his eye, my boy looked at me and said, "Well, Dad, I know that." I said, "I know you know it boy, but you're going to hear it a lot more from here on in." Today, when I see my son, whether it's on the golf course, in church, in a restaurant or in the corporate office where he serves as president and CEO, it there are three corporate clients in there, I no longer walk in and shake hands with my boy. I do the manly thing. I give him a big ole hug.

The key to all of this is forgiveness. You see, the young man who Merlin talked about could not tell his Dad that he loved him and that he had forgiven him. I got to tell you the key to really getting rid of a lot of baggage is the key of forgiveness. You see, if you were abused or mistreated or you had that great falling out, it's already affected your past. It is negatively impacted in your present, please don't let it destroy the future. It's absolutely amazing how much lighter your load is when you live with integrity. You see, you have nothing to fear because you have nothing to hide. You do the right things which means that you have no guilt. When you remove and have that forgiveness, when you remove fear and remove guilt, this is true regardless of what a person does, the trip to the top is going to be an awful lot easier.

Again, I'm so excited about being here. This is one of the dreams I've had. We've worked desperately all of these years to get into all of the schools. It wasn't until finally just a few years ago, thanks to Coach Rutledge and Coach Parker, was that we realized that the key to getting into the schools were through athletics. The results have been so gratifying and satisfying. I'm grateful for the pleasure of being with you.

I always close by saying I'm not going to just see you at the top, I'm going to see you over the top. Thank you and God Bless you.

Dave Hart, Jr.:

Zig, on behalf of NACDA, it's my pleasure to present you with a small token of our appreciation for the outstanding presentation today.