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Sunday, December 9, 2012


While working at LSU, our then athletic director Skip Bertman would hold a monthly meeting for all athletic department personnel.  He and his staff would take that opportunity to recognize someone other than a coach or athlete at that meeting for the work they do.  Skip would always say that at "some particular time everyone is the most valuable person in our department for the job they do."  He would point out that without the grounds crew that you couldn't play a baseball game...without the equipment people, how would football suit up for games.  In our sport of basketball, we were blessed to have a great custodial staff.  These guys worked hard to keep our facilities immaculate.  And that makes a huge difference to our team, recruits and our fans and boosters who attend the games.

I am extremely fortunate in that at LSU I worked for Dale Brown and Sue Gunter.  Both went out of their way to make sure the custodial staff knew they were a part of our team. Coach Brown and Coach Gunter, as well as their assistants were on a first name basis with custodians.  We knew not only their names but the names of their spouses and kids. They knew our players and our players knew them.  Both coaches made sure they got team gear and tickets to games.  When there was a banquet or Selection Sunday Party, they were invited -- they were part of our team.

Last weekend, while on a recruiting trip at a high school tournament in Fort Worth, I noticed that the names of the custodians were listed prominently in the program.  When speaking to the assistant athletic director as to why, she responded, "You would have to know them.  They are amazing.  They do such an incredible job of taking care of our facilities and they are a big part of our team."  Needless to say, the gym was as clean as any I'd ever been in.

And I am only mentioning custodians and the important role in your program.  But there are so many others.  You own managerial staff -- working great hours to make sure the team has what they need for practice and games.  On the collegiate level there are graduate assistant's, student-workers, secretaries and many administrative people in compliance, sports information and sports medicine -- dedicated people that don't get their photos and names in the sports pages but who perform services for you and your program that make them an invaluable part of your team.

My question to you today is are doing all that is possible to make them feel a part of your team?