Winning Forever

Posted Jun 20, 2011

A standing-room-only crowd of 200, along with 25,000 viewers who watched a live stream online, participated in the interactive, high-energy evening that put Pete Carroll’s successful principles and ideologies on display.

Coach Pete Carroll was bouncing around the team meeting room, the auditorium seats were filled with eager listeners and Virginia Mason Athletic Center was bustling with activity on Friday night.

All signs pointed to a life returning to normal at the Seahawks headquarters.

Not quite, but Carroll’s football philosophy was flowing in abundance during the fourth and final stop of his nationwide Win Forever Workshop tour, which came to a conclusion on Friday at VMAC after events in Los Angeles; Ft. Worth, Texas; and Stanford, Calif. A standing-room-only crowd of 200, along with 25,000 viewers who watched a live stream online, participated in the interactive, high-energy evening that put Carroll’s successful principles and ideologies on display, all part of a larger Nike-sponsored campaign to coach up “the new generation of coaches for the next generation of athletes.”

“There’s a movement going on to look at things in a new way,” Carroll said during the four-hour seminar that included demonstrations, video interviews and highlights, a Q&A and captivating speeches from nine different speakers, all neatly wrapped together in four quarters of learning. “The kids are different, things have changed. We’ve got to get better; we’ve got to look at things from a different vantage point. There’s a better way of doing things.”

Coaches, businessmen, fans and media members gathered for the festive event, which attracted local high school coaches, a football coach from England, an international rugby star from Fiji and even basketball Hall of Famer Lenny Wilkens. All had come together to hear from about Win Forever from its creator, the ever-so-open Carroll, who led the Seahawks to an NFC West title in his first year in Seattle after nine legendary seasons at USC.

“Winning forever isn’t about winning games, even though we’d love to win every one of them,” Carroll told the audience. “It’s about being on a journey to be the best you can be and maximize what’s in front of you. That’s winning forever.”

Carroll and his crew delved into multiple topics surrounding coaching, leadership and personal growth, all while sharing real-life stories from his days with the Jets, Patriots, USC and Seahawks. A common theme throughout the night was the importance of articulating a personal philosophy.

“If you want to win for a long time, you’ve got to know what it took to get you there — you’ve got to have a philosophy,” Carroll told the crowd. “When you have a philosophy, you have the best chance of replicating your success.

“If you want to be great at what you do, let’s figure out what’s important to you.”

Besides video interviews with defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr. and quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, special guest speaker Heather Sugg, a girls high school basketball coach at Beamer High in Federal Way, offered her perspective on Carroll’s philosophies. Sugg was diagnosed with inoperable cancer last year and has fought to overcome its effects and remain on the sideline.

“She’s someone who truly embodies ‘always compete,’” event emcee Yogi Roth said.

The workshop featured just as much action as lecture. Participants shuffled through an agility drill demonstration to prove the importance of energy at practice; one audience member was called up to stand on a stool to show the impact of practice; and attendees took part in a Q&A sprinkled throughout the night.

Carroll was an open book during the event — he shared one-liners such as “everything counts,” unveiled his philosophy pyramid and discussed themes for each practice, among much more. One of his main themes was having vision and belief; “what you focus on, you draw yourself to — it’s coming your way,” Carroll said.

One of the final questions Carroll received from an audience member at the event asked what was the best way to teach and have an influence on those around you, whether players, coworkers, family members or others. His answer was beautifully succinct, providing the perfect capper to a life-altering night of learning.

Replied Carroll: “Live it.”