Winning is fun. Winning when it is not expected of you might be even more fun. Most of us love a good comeback story and recently, we were treated to a couple of good stories from the world of sports.
Tim Hall is the Director of Athletics at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). He was also appointed President of the Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association (ADA) in the summer of 2017 and has served as the chairman of the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics. During the 2018 NCAA Tournament, the UMBC Retrievers Men’s Basketball team made history when they became the first ever No. 16 seed to beat the No. 1 seed when they beat Virginia by 20 points, 74-54. Tim has previously served as the Athletic Director at the University of Missouri at Kansas City. Before heading up his own departments, he was the assistant A.D. at Eastern Kentucky University, Saint Xavier University, Youngstown State University, and Kent State University.
- The historic upset that the men’s basketball team had in the 2018 NCAA Tournament
- Social media creativity of UMBC athletic communication staff during the tournament
- Ways to build a mid-major athletic program
- Hiring and keeping good team members
- What makes UMBC so special
Jerod Ward was the #1 high school basketball player in the country in 1994. As the top recruit, he could choose to play college ball anywhere and he chose The University of Michigan. Multiple knee surgeries kept him from achieving his NBA dream but he still had a solid four year career for the Wolverines helping them beat Duke three straight years, win the National Invitational Tournament and the Big Ten Tournament. Jerod then went on to have a long career playing professional basketball worldwide. Jerod now travels across the country as a professional speaker. He has even been on stage for a Tedx Talk presenting on the topic of EATing Adversity. Even though he is retired from playing basketball, Jerod still stays close to the game he loves as he works as a college basketball analyst with networks including ESPN, FOX Sports. Jerod lives in Sarasota, Florida with his wife Tricia and daughter Violet.
- His decision to attend college and not turn pro out of high school
- What it was like being the best high school player in the nation
- The Lebron James vs. Michael Jordan debate
- Playing professional basketball for 14 years
- How we can overcome adversity we face in life
“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” (Milton Berle)
“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” (Albert Einstein)
“March Madness” is my favorite holiday! My wife says that it isn’t really a holiday but then again she wants me to celebrate “Sweetest Day” 🙂
Regardless, this is a great three-week period that caps off the college basketball season. The tournament is a win-or-go-home event. It is a true reality show with plenty of intriguing story lines and drama. Plus, who doesn’t love filling out a bracket?!?
Of this year’s four #1 seeds, The University of Virginia was the tournament’s top overall team going into the tournament. They have a great coach and the team thoroughly dominated the regular season. This past Friday, they made history! Just not the kind they were anticipating.
UVA became the first-ever #1 seed to lose to a #16 seed. The University of Maryland-Baltimore County wasn’t even the best team in their conference but they got hot during their conference tournament and pulled off an upset to qualify for the NCAA’s. They were 22-point underdogs going into this game against Virginia. Instead of losing by 22, they won by 20! If you watched the game, you would have been impressed by the way they took advantage of every opportunity. They played to win – not to lose – even when they got up big and the game was winding down. They played with confidence and swagger.
Virginia might have been the better team overall, but this past Friday, someone out-performed them. There are many lessons that can be learned from this but the NCAA Tournament once again provides some madness in March. It provides a reminder that we need to be prepared for our opportunities. The Retrievers from UMBC believed in themselves and that is all that mattered. Abraham Lincoln used to say “I will prepare and perhaps one day my chance will come.”
What about us? We may be grinding day-in and day-out and the results might not be what we’d want. The odds might seem to be stacked against us. We might be 22-point underdogs to life. But, just like UMBC, we can believe in ourselves and keep preparing for the day that our opportunity comes. I am reminded of the Jacob Riis’ quote concerning rock sculptures…
Look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred-and-first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not the last blow that did it, but all that had gone before.
Just like the stone cutter, you don’t always know when good things will come to you but you do know that if you quit, it will never come! Be encouraged today and know that even though life might sometimes seem like a tough #1 seeded opponent, the underdog still has a chance to win! Success is a choice. What choice will we make today?
Jamy Bechler is a motivational speaker, team consultant, and John Maxwell leadership coach. He works with businesses and teams, including the NBA. He is also the host of the “Success is a Choice” podcast. He can be be reached at Jamy@JamyBechler.com.
Keith Lipscomb has been at ESPN.com for 20 years. He is currently the Senior Editor for Fantasy Football. He has served many roles through the years, including editor, writer, on-air talent and podcast host for the ESPN Fantasy editorial team. He works closely with the Fantasy Focus Football 06010 podcast that is hosted by Matthew Berry, Field Yates, and Stephania Bell. This podcast is regularly listed among Apple’s Top-100 most downloaded podcasts. Keith has been an editor for Sports Nation and one of ESPN’s NBA researchers. He writes an article every year prior to the NCAA Tournament that outlines all the information that you need to know for completing your March Madness brackets. He was a star baseball player and communications major at Hiram (OH) College prior to going into journalism full-time.
In today’s episode, we discuss:
- Being a Cleveland sports fan
- The path to getting hired by ESPN
- Best NCAA Tournament memories
- How to succeed at a job for the long-term
- What it is like to work with Matthew Berry, the top personality in all of fantasy sports
March Madness is upon us and people are getting ready to fill out those pesky brackets. We love this time of year because of the drama and possibilities that exist when Davids meet Goliaths. Will this finally be the year that a 16-seed defeats a 1-seed? Who will make it to the Final Four? What team will become the Cinderella story of the story? Who will be cutting down the nets when “One Shining Moment” is playing on CBS? Who will be the underdogs you will be rooting for?
(originally posted on April 1, 2016)
I admit it. I like Geno Auriemma.
On Sunday, Geno will lead his UConn team as they play in the NCAA Women’s Final Four located in Indianapolis this year. The Huskies are going for their 4th straight National Championship.
Many people do not like Geno. Many people do not like UConn. Many people say that their dominance is bad for the game. I say excellence and the quest for perfection is not bad.
(originally posted on March 1, 2016)
March is finally here. If you are a basketball fan like I am, you are excited because it is MARCH MADNESS. We’ll soon be filling out our brackets. There will be 68 top-notch teams in the NCAA basketball tournament. I heard an announcer on ESPN say that this year’s tournament might be the most even tournament in NCAA history. Half of the field has a shot at winning the whole thing.
Talent alone will not set these teams apart. There are so many teams that have fairly equal talent. Just like our team that has started their quest for an 8th high school state championship. We are talented but so are other teams.
What is going to take us from talented to good? What is going to give us an advantage over other talented teams? What differentiates us from the competition? Successful people do things differently. Here are a couple of ways that we can gain a winning edge: