JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - College lacrosse. For Head Coach Mindy McCord, she wants it to be the "ride of your life". For the past five seasons the team has traveled many miles in its quest to become an NCAA contender. From road trips to Oregon and Detroit to home contests against three #1 ranked opponents, the ride has been bumpy at times. But with an amazing 41-2 record over the past three seasons against unranked opponents, three conference championships, nine NCAA statistical championships including three consecutive scoring titles, and one of the top grade point averages in the nation, there have also been many high points along the way.
All of this will be focused on when noteworthy leadership and motivation expert and best-selling author Jon Gordon visits campus on Friday to speak with the Fins. The Dolphins have been a model program under Gordon's philosophies as they have feasted on many of his works including New York Times best-sellers: The Energy Bus, The No Complaining Rule, Training Camp, and The Seed.
Each year the Dolphin classes read one of Gordon’s books. When players are faced with the lulls of their sophomore year, there is no better read than The No Complaining Rule to put a spotlight on the control-ables. In the third year, time is of the essence so Coach McCord has her juniors read the book Training Camp that features former Jacksonville Jaguars assistant and current Atlanta Falcons Head Coach Mike Smith. It's all about how the best do things a little better than everyone else. As the seniors prepare for a new adventure, they enjoy The Seed which challenges people in transition to seek a path that will utilize their talents and emotional acuity.
This year, with the first 4-year senior class graduated, there is a renewed focus on getting all of the Dolphins firmly on The Energy Bus. Learning invaluable lessons in her first four years of coaching at JU, Coach McCord believes in obeying the principles of Gordon's work and finds it more important than winning games.
"It has not been easy. Each year there is always something attacking the team from the inside or the outside,” says McCord. “Often times it is faulty thinking somewhere along the line. Sometimes it is selfishness or inability to be a team player first. Whatever your team is dealing with, basing how your team thinks is the first step to being on the same page. For me, it's the ten principles of The Energy Bus that are so important. They form the basis of our team rules. If you want to play at JU, you need to be on the bus with what we are doing, how we are doing it and where we are headed. The ten rules are key. They put the team first and shine a light in the direction that we all must go to be successful.”
What are the ten rules of The Energy Bus?
1. You’re the Driver of the Bus.
2. Desire, Vision and Focus move your bus in the right direction.
3. Fuel your Ride with Positive Energy.
4. Invite People on Your Bus and Share your Vision for the Road Ahead.
5. Don’t Waste Your Energy on those who don’t get on your Bus.
6. Post a Sign that says “No Energy Vampires Allowed” on your Bus.
7. Enthusiasm attracts more Passengers and energizes them during the Ride.
8. Love your Passengers.
9. Drive with Purpose.
10. Have Fun and Enjoy the Ride.
Coach McCord thinks that all of the rules are important, but she says now more than ever, rule #4 is the most important.
"Having just dropped off eight passengers and picked up 12 new ones, making sure that everyone shares our collective vision for the road ahead is by far the most important right now. I also think that #8 is my next favorite. You have to love the passengers on the bus. Each player is driving their own bus and has the rest of the team on her bus. They have to love each other in order to handle the adversity that will come along the road. I think we do a good job with creating an environment where players can drive their own bus and be on our bus too. At that age, they will go up and down some big hills with classes, family and interpersonal issues, and life. We hope that they stick closely to the map provided by these principles. When they graduate from JU they will be glad they pushed so hard to reach their goals and they will easily translate their success from the lacrosse fields into work or graduate school," adds McCord.
So far the process has worked well for the Dolphins who sport a near perfect APR and have placed all of their 4-year graduates in jobs or graduate school in their field of study. Class of 2013 graduate Rachel Hannon recently landed a job as a cardiac care nurse at the world famous Mayo Clinic right after she participated in the IWLCA North-South Senior all-star game. The success on the field has been easy to see, but watching the success of each graduate puts the Dolphins lacrosse program in perspective. It truly is meant to be "The Ride of Your Life".
"Jon Gordon rocks! He is one of the most insightful, inspirational, and positive speakers that my team and I have had the privilege to learn from. His books and speeches have personally inspired me as well as shaped my personal leadership skills. Team building is essential to any successful organization and JU women's lacrosse has developed a winning culture and attitude by utilizing the resources available from Jon's books. "Be Inspired" should be this next book. He could write about all of the success stories of those who have been motivated by his books and who he has inspired."
Join the Dolphins on Friday, Oct. 18 at 3:30 p.m. in room 114 of Davis College of Business as Jon Gordon pays the team a visit. To learn more about Jon Gordon and his leadership opportunities and books, visit www.JonGordon.com. You can also follow him on twitter @JonGordon11 and Facebook at facebook.com/jongordonpage.
The Fins are also preparing for a scrimmage on Saturday, Oct. 19 against an alumni all-star team. The teams square off at 2 p.m. at D.B. Milne Stadium and the scrimmage, like all JU practices and events, is open to the public.