Former University of Michigan head football coach Lloyd Carr took more than half an hour to get to his first football story Saturday at Central Michigan University.
Carr, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, spent most of his time discussing the inspiration he’s drawn from historical figures such as Abraham Lincoln.
“What was very unusual about the decision he made was that, when he selected members from his cabinet, he picked men who, almost all of them, ran against him for president,” Carr said. “They all thought they were more qualified and better suited for office than he was. He didn’t want ‘yes people,’ he wanted people to give him ideas.”
Carr spoke at the 2013 CMU Sport Management Association Conference, headlining the conference with renowned sports marketer Bill Sutton, whose clients include the New York Mets and the Cleveland Cavaliers. USA Track & Field CEO Max Siegel and former Olympic silver medal winner Judy Brown Clarke also spoke.
To Carr, the traits of leadership these historical legends displayed are just as essential to succeeding in a sports career as they were to running a country.
He used George Washington as an example, who, he said, portrayed very few qualities of a leader, except for the most important ones. According to Carr, he was not a brilliant tactician, nor was he an entirely competent strategist. He was indecisive in the most crucial moments and was never entirely confident in the decisions he made.
“The thing that enabled this man to lead a rag-time army to defeat the greatest army in the world is, ever since he was a young guy, he always learned from his mistakes,” Carr said. “And he emphasized the issue of never giving up. He knew how important the cause was. We know how this story ends.”
About 175 students attended the two-day conference, which took place Friday and Saturday.
Brock Haymaker, who served as the conference co-chair, said this year’s conference stood out because of the caliber of speakers they were able to obtain.
“Dr. Sutton has worked with (NBA Commissioner) David Stern, of course we have Lloyd Carr …” Haymaker said. “Not to say that other conferences weren’t excellent in the past, but we have never had speakers like this at the event.”
Northville sophomore Jonathan Ferrer said the speakers were the most beneficial aspect of the conference for him.
“They just give an understanding of how the business world really is,” Ferrer said. “Hearing it from different perspectives, from people who have been through it and succeeded.”
Brett Christensen, a physical education and sports professor, said students gain multiple things from attending conferences such this.
“They can gain a lot of different things,” Christensen said. “They, of course, get to learn about their field and how to succeed in it, but it also gives them the ability to start networking and making meaningful connections.”