College Football – Steve Sarkisian – A Real Breath of Fresh Air For Washington’s Huskies

He is apparently half-Armenian and half-Irish, 34 years old and the new head coach of the University of Washington’s football team. Meet Steve Sarkisian, young, energetic, successful and excited about the opportunity to turn around the fortunes of the Husky football program.

That will not be as difficult a problem as Washington’s current 0-12 season record might suggest. We are purposefully not mentioning the fired coach whom Sarkisian is replacing. Sarkisian and the University of Washington deserve a clean slate at this moment in time. The old guy is history better left unwritten.

Before he arrived in Seattle to be announced as the new coach, Sarkisian had never been head coach of a major college football program. Some pundits consider his hiring a liability because of his inexperience as a head coach. I consider his inexperience an asset because Sarkisian is not bringing with him a bunch of failed practices, tired beliefs about what worked 20 years ago, and old cronies as part of the coaching staff.

Just winning a single game next season will make him more successful than his predecessor.

Sarkisian has been the quarterback coach, offensive coordinator and assistant head coach for the University of Southern California the last 2 years. USC is a national powerhouse led by head coach Pete Carroll. So what’s the big deal with USC and Pete Carroll? Just this:

In the 7 years prior to this season, Carroll is 76-14 (84%) at USC, the best winning percentage of any current Division 1 coach with at least 5 years of experience. Carroll won National Championships in 2003 and 2004, won an unprecedented 6 consecutive Pac 10 titles and appeared in an NCAA record 6 consecutive BCS bowl games, won an NCAA record of at least 11 victories each season, and has been ranked in the AP Top 4 in each of those seasons.

This year the Trojans won their 7th consecutive Pac 10 title, and are again 11-1 going into their 7th consecutive BCS Rose Bowl appearance, this time against Penn State.

So what has Sarkisian had to do with Carroll’s success? He was there 7 of the last 8 years, first as the quarterback coach and then as the quarterback coach, offensive coordinator and assistant head coach the last 2 years. Sarkisian led the USC offensive effort while helping develop Heisman Trophy winners Matt Leinart (drafted by the Arizona Cardinals) and Carson Palmer (drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals). He also helped develop John David Brody (drafted by the Minnesota Vikings).

It’s also one thing to coach quarterbacks when you haven’t been one or been a very successful one, and another thing to do so as a great college quarterback, which Sarkisian was at Brigham Young University.

After two years at a community college, Sarkisian started for BYU as a junior, passing for 3,437 yards and 20 touchdowns. He finished his first season by going 31-for-34 for 399 yards and 3 touchdowns in BYU’s 45-28 victory over Fresno State, setting an NCAA record for completion percentage (91%), and 2 of his 3 incompletions were intentionally thrown out of bounds to avoid the pass rush.

As a senior, Sarkisian passed for 4,027 yards and 33 TDs with a 173+ pass efficiency rating, the best in the NCAA. BYU finished the regular season at 13-1, won the Western Athletic Conference Championship and then beat Kansas State 19-15 in the Cotton Bowl. He was selected as WAC Offensive Player of the Year and a second-team NCAA All-American.

While Washington will be Steve Sarkisian’s first head coaching job, he is clearly a winner as a player and a winner as a coach at USC.

Thus far, Sarkisian has made 2 quality decisions-he accepted the challenge at Washington and he didn’t keep any of the holdover coaches from the 0-12 team he inherited. Nice work, Steve. Who wants or needs winless coaches?

Sarkisian’s first order of business (besides hiring a staff and recruiting like there is no tomorrow) will be to change the culture of Washington’s program by restoring a winning attitude with belief.

Only time will tell how much success Sarkisian will enjoy with the Washington Husky football program, but one thing is for sure: Athletic Director Scott Woodward’s decision to hire him is a giant step in the right direction.

Copyright © 2008 Ed Bagley

Running Out of Leads? 3 Lead Generation Secrets For Your Small Business

Lead generation can be expensive and kill a small business marketing campaign before it even gets of the ground. You can tie up vital dollars in buying lead generating mailing list compiled together by outside companies. You can pay employees to collect data from each customer that comes thorough your doors. Then with all this data you still have to buy stamps to mail ads or post cards. And with most states enacting the no call list how good is the telephone data.

But don’t despair your marketing strategy is still safe and at hand, because of a little thing called the net. Here are three lead generation ideas for your business:

1) Ask and ye shall receive. Do you like T Shirts? Well I sell T Shirts! And yes it is that simple. The new wave of social networking has made it possible to build connections with customers and then create a forum to ask them what they like and don’t like. You can even go deeper as to ask them what they like and don’t like about your company, service and or product. It seems that we are more likely to speak our mind through email or social networking post then we are face to face. This type of arena is very helpful in marketing your business.

2) Yelp for help. Customer service sites like yelp are making it possible to ease drop on your customers. Although we are more likely to say things on the net we would not say face to face does not mean your customers will say it on your site. Companies like Yelp encourage customers to come to their websites and lay at the good, the bad and the ugly of other companies. You may find it worth while to visit these sites to find customers that are satisfied with your company and reward them or find customers unsatisfied and try to make them happy again. Trolling these sites should defiantly be part of your market strategy.

3) Follow the lead to a lead. Even the old school marketing strategy consists of networking. You got to know your client and you had them bring in a friend or two and as a reward they received a gift. You can use your social networking fan base in the same way. Take your list of fans and then look at those that are connected to them. We all put way to much personal information on our profiles. A quick glance of your fans friend’s profiles will generate leads that you can use in marketing your business.

These are more lead generation ideas for your business out there; these are just my three favorites. A successful marketing strategy can be fun as well as effective. I enjoy logging on each day to see how much my fan base has grown and then searching out other possible connections through my connections. The growth of the internet will only simplify small business marketing more and more.

The Sports Event Every Small Business Owner Should Watch

Can you imagine leading a pack of 12 Siberian Huskies across 1,000 miles of freezing cold (and brutally tough) Alaskan terrain?

I can’t.

Sleeping as much as you can in a paper thin tent…

Eating rock hard beef jerky whenever you get a chance…

And being blasted by Mother Nature.

And while many would argue that the Tour De France or the Kona Ironman are the toughest endurance events on the planet, I say it’s the Iditarod dog race.

Why?

Because anyone who’s willing to lead a pack of 12 dogs for 20 days while Mother Nature is doing her best to CRUSH this person, is someone with a boatload of mental toughness to do darn near anything they set their mind to.

And here’s something else to ponder:

The Iditarod participants get next to no chance to rethink… re-strategize… or change course because the clock keeps on ticking. So they have no choice but to go balls to the wall hoping their original race plan is enough to win.

Sound familiar?

Everything about this race reminds me of how business is done in the 21st century.

You got all kinds of competitors dying to eat your lunch.

You got all kinds of customers price shopping you on the internet.

You got all kinds of government regulations strapped around your neck.

And despite all of these roadblocks, you have to find a way to lead your business (as well as your team if you have employees) over, around, through and under every single obstacle that stands in your way.

So what?

What’s the big lesson here?

Now that I think of it, the lesson here is the fact that business is tough. Business is hard. Success does not come easy no matter how many times we’re reminded about that one-in-a-million overnight success.

Sure, you can certainly have a big breakthrough in business.

But more than likely, you’re going to have days, weeks, months and maybe even years where the going is slow like the Iditarod dog race. And if you are truly committed to success then you have to keep plowing along… making slow and steady progress until you lead your pack of dogs across the finish line.

The irony in business is the fact that the finish line never comes.

Huh?

Yeah, because once you achieve one goal there is another goal looming on the horizon.

This is also why you have to celebrate your success (when you cross that finish line) so you don’t burn yourself out.

So there you have it.

The sporting event you should follow if you own a small business and are serious about making it successful.