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Tuesday, November 6, 2012


A big thanks to Jeff Janssen for tweeting this blog out a few days ago.  It is written by the University of Michigan director of athletics Dave Brandon.  Anyone that knows Jeff knows his passion for teaching and building leaders and he recognized this blog and the culture that is being created at Michigan to do just that.  Here are some excerpts: 

Championship teams find a way to transform themselves into winners. No doubt, there needs to be talent, but there also needs to be a winning culture. Cultures are created outside individual abilities. In sports, the creation of a culture starts by the way the team prepares in practice. It is impacted by the way the team interacts with one another. It is solidified by the way the team conducts itself whether in competition or in the community, as well as the positive attitude every member of the team carries with him at all times -- during moments when things are going well and during those times when it would be easy to complain or blame.

This past week, our men's and women's basketball teams took the court for the first time this season in competition against another team. Some might say they were only exhibition games as both the men and women made their first wins look easy. However, they were more than just exhibition games; they were another step in building a championship culture.

The Michigan men's basketball team is going into the regular season highly rated. The upperclassmen are going to need to show the leadership exhibited by last year's co-captains, Zack Novak and Stu Douglass. Coach John Beilein knows strong on- and off-court leadership is going to be key for this team's success. He and his staff are working hard to ensure that everyone is on board for what is required to achieve championship results in the upcoming season. This team has plenty of young talent, and it needs to mesh with the returnees to create a winning culture that will take them through a long, challenging Big Ten season.

Josh Bartelstein was the perfect choice as the only predetermined captain for the season to continue the chemistry of last year's Big Ten championship team. Not only did Bartelstein room with Novak during his sophomore and junior years, he also achieved one of the highest leadership scores possible in a 360-degree leadership survey our athletic department administered to our student-athletes in all of our varsity sports.

He has been described by his current roommate and teammate Jordan Morgan as a player who "embodies selflessness ... that always put the team first."

Selflessness, intensity and passion are common attributes of all championship teams. Leadership is needed at every turn to ensure these traits remain constant throughout a long season.

Exhibition games are more than just a practice game. They are an important step in the process of learning to work together, play together, and win together!

As Vince Lombardi once said, "Winning is not a sometime thing; it's an all time thing. You don't win once in a while, you don't do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is habit." Our opening "exhibition games" were the first of what will be an exciting season for both of our basketball programs -- and will hopefully start that "habit of winning" for our coaches, student-athletes and fans!

Read the entire blog:

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