Such spirit filled the Michigan Union Ballroom as Michigan football coach Lloyd Carr spoke about passion, toughness and being a leader that students felt compelled to sing “Hail to the Victors” before leaving. But Carr focused on success after college last night, rather than just success on the football field.
Touching on childhood, college and professional life experiences, Carr stressed how important it is for students to find jobs they are passionate about after earning their degrees.
“If you have a passion, then you’re lucky,” Carr said, “But if you don’t yet, then find it and enjoy the struggle. You should be going to work every day knowing you are doing something you love.”
When recruiting football players, Carr said, he looks for those who show love for the game. But he added that with more success must come more humility, referring to “the success disease,” a term used in athletics.
“It can happen to my players – if you start to believe you are better than you are, then your love for the fight changes,” Carr said.
Carr – who has been head coach since 1995 and played football at Northern Michigan University – addressed the need for leaders to be tough when met with adversaries, different from the physical toughness he asks from his team.
“Like a quarterback who receives heat and criticism, I tell him that’s just the nature of the position, that’s what leaders have to deal with,” Carr said.
One student asked Carr if he thought his team was only successful if they win the national championship. Carr shook his head and as he did with all other questions, he related his answer to a life experience – referring to a friend who decided to quit coaching because he only cared about winning.
“In my judgment, I think that kind of mindset – when winning is the only thing that matters – is only warranted on the professional (sports) level,” Carr said, “But as a college football coach, I value the discipline and determination that players need at this level.
Co-sponsored by the Michigan Union Arts and Programs and the Mortar Board, a senior honor society, the talk was the last of a series of lectures titled, “Professors Reaching out for Students.”
RC senior Brett Spitnale, an organizer of the event, said he thought Carr handled students’ questions well.
“Carr’s talk on leadership was inspiring, and I think students left taking a lot with them, like motivation,” Spitnale said.