Best-selling author John U. Bacon, whose writing credits include “Bo’s Lasting Lessons” and “Three and Out: Rich Rodriguez and the Michigan Wolverines in the Crucible of College Football,” was at Central Michigan University on Wednesday night to speak with students in the school’s leadership program.
Bacon spent the majority of the event speaking about what it takes to be a good leader and one that people can respect and go into battle with, and he learned many of these things from the time he spent with former Michigan head football coach and legend Bo Schembechler.
He said that the Schembecher was a bully and a tyrant in how he treated his players because he expected greatness and the will to do the right thing out of them. That being said, he loved everyone that ever played for him the same, whether they be a walk-on or an All-American. Bacon explained that those were the qualities that make great leaders.
Anyone who is familiar with Bacon’s work knows that there are no shortage of great stories he has about Schembechler, and he shared a few of them with the students at the event.
One of the best stories of the night came when Bacon told a story to the crowd about Schembechler’s routine during the week when he was coaching. He met with his staff from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. every Monday through Friday to discuss the preparation for the week’s game.
Schembechler told his secretaries that once that door was closed, nobody was to call him or walk through that door. They were ordered to take a message for him, whether it was from his bosses at the school or the President of the United States.
“My job is not to talk to talk to the leader of the free world,” Schembechler would say. “My job is to beat Michigan State,” or whomever the Wolverines would play that week.
With all of that being said, Schembechler would still let one of his players interrupt that meeting or any of what the coach was doing in order to be heard. He loved his players more than anything, and that is the sign of a great leader.
Bacon said several times throughout the night that a leader is someone that leaves their star player behind if they are late for the bus. He is that type of man, and so was Bo Schembechler.
If you want to read about more stories of Schembechler or any other works written by Bacon, I highly recommend the books listed at the beginning of this article. To learn more about Bacon and his career and works he has done, you can visit his website here.