Bill Cowher, who won a Super Bowl title as head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, addresses a large audience at the Bob Carpenter Center.

Blueprint for a winning team

Super Bowl champ Bill Cowher encourages students to embrace process


3:30 p.m., April 19, 2011--In front of a large crowd heavily populated by Pittsburgh Steelers fans, legendary head coach Bill Cowher addressed the audience on Monday evening, April 18, at the Bob Carpenter Center with a simple message -- embrace the process.

Cowher’s delivery was clear and distinct. College students are in a heavy transition period in their lives, he said. It is time to start thinking about jobs, careers and what direction to go in life. Oftentimes it is a stressful, challenging and emotional place. 

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His advice is to “focus on the process,” saying “the results are simply the byproducts.”

“You are going to experience the gamut of emotions, but take risks,” Cowher said. “How far you go is determined by the risks you take.”

The process consists of four steps, according to Cowher. The first step is to have the right mindset. Step two is to establish structure and guidelines. The third step is to be focused yet flexible, and the final step is to understand that the process is never-ending. “Life is about growth,” he said.

Cowher entertained the crowd with stories of his successes and failures as a player and coach. He talked about the pressures of working in the spotlight and how he strived to become better every day. He then highlighted the importance of perspective.

After a close loss to the San Diego Chargers in the 1994 American Football Conference championship game, Cowher dejectedly returned to the comfort of his loving family.  When he arrived home, he opened the door to his 5-year-old daughter running around the table in a grass skirt yelling, “Daddy! Daddy! We get to go to Hawaii.” 

Cowher beamed at his youngest daughter and said, “Sweetie, we don’t want to go to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl; we want to go to Florida for the Super Bowl.” 

His daughter responded, “But daddy we have already been to Florida, we have never been to Hawaii.” He then told the audience, “Now that’s perspective.”

Cowher concluded by advising students that there are two kinds of hardworking people. “There are successful people and people who have success,” he said. “Successful people enjoy what they do and spread that joy to others; people who have success measure their lives by status, power and money.”

He then challenged those in attendance to “be successful people.”

The program ended with a brief question-and-answer session in which the audience members took advantage of the opportunity to speak with Cowher.

One person asked, “If you were still coaching, who would you pick in the upcoming draft?”

With a smile, Cowher answered, “I hear you have a pretty good quarterback here at the University of Delaware.”

Cowher’s presentation was part of the UD Speaks series.

Article by Greta Gibboney

Photos by Evan Krape

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