Jim Carr, NAIA president and CEO, actively seeks and responds to feedback on his thoughts about the NAIA and the student-athlete experience. Jim is a former college basketball player, turned lawyer, turned leader of the NAIA. For his complete bio click here.
Have a question you want to ask Jim or have feedback? Send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll share it with him. Thanks!
Spring championships confirm “NAIA Way” is alive and well.
Each championship season I try to attend at least two NAIA championships. Each and every time, I receive confirmation that the “NAIA Way” is alive and well.
During my time at NAIA Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track & Field National Championships, I was approached by John Deardorff, one of our starters for the meet. John told me unsolicited that the student-athletes competing for national titles were by far the most polite and generous group of students he had encountered. And that is quite a statement – John has officiated track and field for decades at all levels, including NCAA Division I. With over 1,200 athletes at this championship, the sample size should tell us we are doing something right and confirms that Champions of Character is central to who we are!
As I moved to the Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series in Lewiston, Idaho, I wondered whether our student-athletes playing baseball could impress me like their track counterparts. They certainly did! From the tournament organizers to fans of specific teams to the long-time tournament-goer, each had positive comments about NAIA student-athletes. A few talked about the quality of play, but most wanted to talk at length about the positive way our young people represented their institutions and the NAIA. Examples range from spending quality time with kids attending games to genuine respect for opponents and officials. My personal favorite was something I witnessed firsthand. After a tough loss in the finals of the winners bracket, the entire LSU-Shreveport team jumped in to help the grounds crew put the tarp back on the field. It may seem like small gesture, but to me it exemplified servant-leadership at its finest. I learned later that no one had asked them to help out; in fact, their coach was giving an interview and did not even know they were out there. This group of young men, after the toughest loss of their careers, simply jumped in to help because it was needed. When asked why they did so, LSUS Coach Rocky Musgraves simply said, “That’s just what we do.”
In the NAIA, building servant leaders of character is just what we do.
Simply stated, Thank you!
Wow, 2010-11 in the record books and each championship season I am amazed at the amount of energy our partners and host sites exude to guarantee a great experience for our coaches, student-athletes and fans.
Hosts not only invest in each event but they create memorable student-athlete experiences! Each site throws a party of sorts billed as the championship kick-off banquet, engages the local community in Champions of Character activities, secures sponsors, sells tickets and, in some cases, provides television or internet video streaming.
There are so many good and talented people across the country that want to ensure NAIA student-athletes, at the height of their careers, get the experiences they deserve.
So to the wonderful hosts of NAIA championships, from the head of the host committee to the volunteers checking credentials, I say thank you, thank you, thank you!
If you are a coach or athlete who has benefitted from the generosity and hard work of these wonderful people, please take a minute to send a word of thanks to someone who played a role in your championship experience.