I’d Like to Disqualify Myself Please

November 25, 2008

jp hayesDid you hear about professional golfer J.P. Hayes disqualifying himself from PGA Tour qualifying school for using a ball that hadn’t been approved?

Here are the details: Hayes was in, he’d played well enough to automatically qualify for the PGA tour next year. That’s huge, but later back at the hotel he noticed that the ball he’d used was an experimental Titleist, not approved as yet, and so not authorized.

No one knew except him, but he said he couldn’t have lived with himself if he hadn’t told the truth. Was he crazy? Who did he hurt? It was just something inside him.

Where do you get that kind of integrity? Someone must have modeled it and instilled it in J.P.

It may not be the case always, but I’ve always believed that you show me an honest man or women on a golf course and I’ll show you an honest person, period. It reflects life.


Fulmer’s Positive Changes Likely Cost His Job

November 5, 2008

sad-fulmerI was in Knoxville for the press conference where Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer announced that he’ll be stepping down as the head football coach of the Vols at the end of the season. The room was filled with the entire team to show support for their coach.

The numbers are confusing. He won nearly 75 percent of his games as head coach in nearly 17 years. He won a national championship in 1998, but those numbers became somewhat erratic in recent years and a 3-6 record this year resulted in an ouster move that succeeded.

I’ve personally seen a change in Phillip Fulmer over the last few years. A gentler expression, less arrogance. I know that all those other years he was a busy man, but he seemed to talk through you, not to you. I really liked this more caring individual. And then I heard his players defend him at the press conference. They talked about him being a father figure. A man who stood in their living rooms as he recruited them and told them that he would treat them like his own children.

I believe he did, and perhaps to a fault. I think he began to care so much that he tolerated players who stretched their liberties.

But on the other hand, that’s a wonderful change in his personality. We all have to change as we get older. I think we get to a point, and I’m there at the age of 61, where we realize that touching and influencing young peoples lives for the better has deeper, more lasting impact than just the all out pursuit of victory.

In this case, it cost him his job, because the university runs on a bottom line…win or else. We want instant gratification. What I’m saying is that stepping down as head coach may be good for Phillip Fulmer because it will allow him to channel his care and concern for young athletes in a new direction, where he’s not judged only by his wins and losses, but the lives his touches.

So if you’re a coach, realize that your priorities will probably change as you get older, and that’s great. Especially if you begin to care more about people than numbers.