Winning often requires more than just skill and practice–it sometimes comes down to a bit of attitude; some swagger to back up hard work and preparation. A good example is the turnaround of the football team of my undergrad alma mater, the Washington Huskies.
In 2009 after an 0 and 12 and excruciatingly-painful-to-watch-from-our-seats-in-the-stands-season, Washington hired Steve Sarkisian, the 34 year old Offensive Coordinator from USC to be our new head coach. “The Sark” boldly proclaimed that the Dawgs, who in more recent years had the ferocity of battling miniature poodles, would be in a bowl relatively quickly. The first year The Sark missed that goal by one game but in year two he took them to the 2010 Holiday Bowl where we scored an upset victory against Nebraska, a team that had trounced us earlier in the season.
A related story involves the 1996 BYU football team who went to the Cotton Bowl with a record of twelve wins and one loss. They faced a Kansas State team with a stingy defense. One particular KSU player spent the week up to the game trash talking about how they would handle the BYU offense.
BYU was behind most of the game but a pair of fourth quarter touchdown passes put them ahead. A time out was called with only a few minutes left in the Cotton Bowl–a game that BYU had now wrapped up. The BYU quarterback walked over toward the KSU sideline and called out the big talking KSU defender — who hadn’t backed up his attitude with results. No one on the KSU sidelines had the courage to come out and confront him.
So what does a BYU quarterback with attitude have to do with the Washington Huskies? It’s not the fact that BYU’s only loss that year was to the Huskies. It’s that the BYU Quarterback who backed up his attitude with results was–Steve Sarkisian—now the coach of the Washington Huskies.
And that’s why we are lucky Dawgs.
Related Story: Lorenzo Romar: Man of Faith
Question: Do you have a story about how a bit of attitude helped you succeed?
Thanks to a December 2008 letter to the Seattle Times from Provo resident, Glen Lassen, for bringing this story to my attention.