Coach Urban Meyer on Competition, Leadership and Playing to Win with and Lewis Howes

any group of people I don't want to get into black/white right Polynesian and when I was at Utah or southern northern and eastern West it doesn't matter any group of people and you take away their hope and you take away their opportunity its combustible it's gonna blow up yeah and I think it's our job my coach's job in our job at this university is job to make sure that we can't control some what's going on in this world but it's our job to make sure there's hope and opportunity for every player to Koshien forward welcome everyone back to the school of greatness podcast very excited about this our guest is the legendary Urban Meyer thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule we're in the offseason but unfortunately there's never an offseason here so we got a few minutes with you and I'm very excited to be here you know the last time I was in this facility was 13 years ago I did my pro day at Ohio State I heard that I was playing at Capitol and for whatever reason they let a d3 guy coming here during the pro day with Santonio Holmes and a Jayhawk and Bob McGovern telling those guys was probably the most nervous I've been in any football setting seeing as Ohio State was a dream of mine but it was kind of a late bloomer didn't really develop to my sophomore junior year in college but some good memories here running running that 40 on that's that sprint turf was a was challenging time but it's good to be back and I'm glad to connect with you you had a book come out a couple years ago actually the same week that my book came out and it's called above the line if you guys don't have this yet make sure you get this book I rarely read many books I'll have researchers that read for me what I'm interviewing people and give me the notes but this was a book that I bought myself and read almost all of it super inspiring make sure you go get this book very powerful and I'm just really grateful for who you are and who you've become as a human being you know you've had an incredible career as a coach Joshua Harris is a buddy of mine that I used to train with while 13 years ago at the some facility where the Columbus destroyers train at we were trained for about six months together and I texted him last night he said tell him you know tell him he's the greatest and I love him very much and would it be where he is without you as a coach at Bowling Green well and you've had an incredible career as a coach and you've transformed your entire mindset which is what I'm really excited about from being you know being obsessive about things that hurt your mind and I think that hurts your health and to now being obsessive about things that help you and help your team so I'm really inspired by your transformation coach and congrats on everything you've done well first of all welcome home and again thank you we there are homework too and I can say that I had my research team research yeah yeah because we get asked to do a lot of things yeah and at this point in my life and we talked about this a minute ago you said what kind of interviewer what kind of podcast we do if this can help someone let's see what if it's not if it's just about football or you know who's gonna play quarterback or you know I'm busy we got things to do yeah at this point you know I just especially with what's going on in this world right now you just and I'm i watch news like everybody else and sometimes I I wonder where we're at yeah what time period are we in and what the world's going on and then you've been given a mission statement too or a responsibility to coach 120 guys that the next 40 years are gonna be dependent upon what goes on for these next two or three yeah and it's that's that's strong and so we devote the majority of our time to making sure that the people in this room our team room that we're making an impact with these people yeah and your being on leadership and developing leaders I heard that you have nine captain's coming up this year is that right I was last year last year we had my intestines and we haven't done the captain thing yet that's it was a very unique team we had a year ago as all as I say very well earned and I think when you restrict the number of captains then you know I don't believe in at all we've always had the number of captains according to how many leaders we have yeah now I asked Josh if there's one question that I should ask you what would it be he said he'll let me get these exact words he said he's ridiculous about a focus his belief in his system and then obviously his ability to get a bunch of strangers to quote-unquote buy-in you so your ability you know you went to different schools for a year or two a couple years each you know Bowling Green and then Utah you were there for two seasons how do you get guys to buy in or complete strangers you know who are 18 19 with big egos think they've got it all figured out have been courted their whole lives everything handed to them how to get them to buy in to a philosophy of belief system and to this obsessive competitive nature that you guys cultivates and get these kids to believe you know Tim kite who's my leadership consultant and a very instrumental write in that book comes after our national championship season and I used to live by this quote that or my own definition of leadership was it used to be set a standard and demand I'll live up to that standard and then you start thinking how shallow of oh that has nothing to do with leadership and I never believed that because there's much more to it than just set a standard so the one is in the book and that we talk quite often about I teach our players leaders and I teach our coaches and it's nonstop is the job of a leader is absolutely first and foremost is that our own trust and you can only push and lead a person as far as he can trust you yeah so the first thing I've done a teach and I look back now because you know I've been doing this for a while is the thing that we've done very well and the best group of coaches that I've had the best thing that we've done is we've earned their trust because they understand we care deeply about them I didn't then say anything it's gonna be warm and fuzzy I didn't say it's gonna be easy but we care deeply I mean like deeply about them and once you start to get those relationships with Josh shares John Matson the young man you know in Utah you know the players here that once those players realize that you care deeply about them now you can really expand upon that definition leadership so the first part is earn trust and then be it with extreme clarity you know set the expectations and inspire and equip the P to fulfill those expectations but before you can do anything you have to earn your trust and tit that's where I think a lot of leaders fail coaches fail because earning trust put a timetable on that when does that sometimes it takes years to turn trust sometimes you only got a player four so earning trust is the key how do you do that in two weeks of the most grueling you know boot camps and they go through it you don't do that then you know I think that's that's just you know sent us you know just understanding that they know that there's this is gonna be very hard we want you to commit we want you to invest but it takes much more time than that you know we're very instrumental and getting a little player getting to know the players families getting to know what their dreams are after football and once the player is no wait a minute this guy can really help us or the staff can really help us that's when the trust takes place when you're recruiting or cultivating relationship with a young you know kid out of high school what are you speaking into most of the time are you speaking into their time at Ohio State the future what's possible for them or is it more speaking to the vision of their dreams after a ha state I did I died was fell guilty I think intercollegiate athletics have used players for many many years and I'm not gonna get into the take get paid or not right because that's that's topic for a much different conversation having a different time but it all changed when my daughter daughter is a very successful volleyball player and I would go on official unofficial visits with her and listen to these coaches talk and I'd be like wow do I really sound like that mmm you know they're talking about locker rooms they're talking about jersey numbers they're talking about music and I don't care about any of that I care about what he can do for my kid and so when I start speaking and recruiting the players now much deeper than when I have in the past it's much past much we're looking much further beyond getting a degree we're looking at much further beyond holding a national champion trophy or whatever or the first round draft pick or looking farther be it much further beyond all that we're looking into what do they want to do with this one after after football because this football thing is going to come too and for some people it's in two years three years four years if you're very lucky it's maybe eight but it's going to end for everyone and we try to push that as hard as we don't try we push that as hard as we can and that's one of the first pieces of conversation I'll have what people that were starting to recruit yeah you were able to recruit you know top athletes at these less desirable schools let's say then Ohio State when you're coaching at other schools what's the difference between you and other coaches like how do you what's the things that you're talking about that separates you to want to go to a Bowling Green or Utah as opposed to being recruited somewhere else those are great questions I'm not sure they did I think we you know I had some great evaluators you know Kyle Winningham the head coach of Utah never forget we recruited players that weren't not wanted yeah but he had such we had such a good plan on how one to identify who those under-the-radar player Eric Weddle was a perfect example one of the safeties in the NFL in the last 20 years was the guy that was unrecruited when we go to Utah so it wasn't it wasn't we weren't trying to beat people for him that was more when you're at a Bowling Green at Utah a smaller school the premiums placed on evaluation as much as anything the evaluation or projection because you're usually looking an undersized guy like you yeah here's a guy that are we gonna what's the visual of this in two years because you're not gonna go beat Ohio State and right when I was at Utah our staff would get mad at me when I'll send USC came and offered oh man oh no what do you think and I said go to USC that's what I do yeah USC and don't hold that against them yeah we have to do a much better job of identifying the other of the radar guys yeah what are you Joshua also want to make you about your philosophy and how it's changed or stayed the same since your first head coaching job until to now two different schools you've been at have you evolved your philosophy or has it always been what your mentors have taught you no it's evolved it's with the Josh Harris had a 36 year old nut job that was you know thank God we didn't have cell phones back then or we did well it was it was wild and I took over program that had a great coach named Gary black knee there was a lot of drugs a lot of other issues that the program kind of slipped a little bit the leadership on the team was non-existent and we had to make some changes yeah what do you go to a nine and you're getting pounded you know obviously there's there's guys there that should be there yeah so we went in and cleansed it you know we we made it so hard that we had to 18 to 20 players quit within the first couple weeks and they should have colleges division one football was it for them yeah but the ones that stayed we went from two and nine to eight and three and one of the best turnarounds and it's crazy college football history and still to this day maybe the best group of seniors I've ever had I mean they were so appreciative their whole goal was let's find a way to have a winning season and we end up having a heck of a year you guys were top 25 a thing which 2423 know things well we get up to 16 the year after that first year I don't believe we made it a top 25 the second where we get up to 16 that's pretty impressive what's a non-negotiable for you every single day that you must do in order to be at the top of your game non-negotiable as I sparked start my day with a Bible study that Tim kite what's on that I have to do that I have to get you see the one that text you that quote our Bible where our surfer Spielman does that okay and then Tim kite it's an email mm-hmm and we'll go through the book of Galatians we'll do something and I have to get that 30 to 40 minutes of that my time and I have to or I'm sick about it and we have a coach on her staff Gratiano that will Paul go into his office he'll come into mine and we'll actually we're getting ready to play USC and a Cotton Bowl and we're going to have a conversation about that and to say I've always been like that I've tried to be good about that but not to the point I am now and non-negotiable as you put it every morning have to have that everyone is there a certain time or does exit lock 613 to 6:00 and 6:30 really have to do it and how many times would you say you miss a year or do you not miss in the last three hundreds of five days well I miss once in a while but then I catch up throughout the day you know if we have a metro like we did today at 6:00 a.m. when the whistle blows because he doesn't send it out I'll get it right afterwards but I don't miss really no and what happens to your day when you do miss I'll find time to go yeah no matter why you'll have to get it yeah cuz I feel empty without it do you meditate as well I like to use work prayer yeah no but I think it's very similar I think it's time to get you it's a it's actually part of what we train our players there's times you got to get your mind right and some people unfortunately the below-the-line behavior again your mind right is drinking and acting like a fool and doing college stuff or doing other stuff which I've done yeah I've also tried to learn and be disciplined and learn from great leaders on how to get your mind right and meditation prayer fight by yourself or with the someone like Oceano someone like like-minded people that's how you get your mind right and it's a must how do you get kids who want to live the life you know they're getting stuff thrown at them all the time and they they live a little bit below the line right little a lot right so some of them a lot some little how do you get them to want to say you know what live above the line don't have fun essentially you're telling them not to have fun and their mindset right don't go out and party don't go do this with girls don't do drinking how do you get them say you know what don't have any of that fun that's what they're thinking and live above the line well they're 18 19 I don't say don't don't don't write you know God created you know the way we are and I think if long as you live the disciplined life you can still have a lot of fun in your life mmm and I certainly don't want to preach at you because like I said thank God there where camera phones back when I was 18 years old however I always like to say you're here everybody's here and you want to be here the fastest way is draw that straight line and stay away from anything that pulls you off of that straight line now we can start talking you know for this alcohol whether it's a bad relationship whether it's obviously drugs those are the three big things that you deal with in college right now you want to get pulled off that line those are the three quickest well known ways to do it yeah but don't there's a great quote actually right over there that says if your dreams do your habit to reflect your dreams and goals mm and if it's not then change that's too easy and what I have my son I changed that quotas behind my son has it up in his bedroom right next it was bad I if your habits don't reflect your dreams and goals change your habits and then I added or change your dreams and goals don't lie to yourself mm-hmm I hear people say I want to go playing in FL but you're acting like this don't don't light it you'd lie to me fine but don't lie to yourself and that's when they people start you know start to think wait a minute no I'm lying you know I like I get away you know I get where I'm not gonna tell everybody exactly what I'm doing but then you got look in the mirror and say do I really want to be a first-round draft pick and I'm doing this yeah and that's when usually it hits home now if you're dealing with someone that you know is really that far off the beaten path then you know it's gonna take years but I've seen a lot of transitions pretty quickly when I start saying I want to do this but don't lie to yourself yeah how important are are having big dreams for human beings do you think do you think it's important that we have go after big dreams I mean you know the answer you know and that's every great person or I should say great you I don't know if I've ever met a person in to have great dreams you know what you do then what are you just looking for the next sandwich you're looking for the next meal or what do you I think every you know God's created us to have these great dreams so I would say I don't know if I've ever met a player that or person or human it's not had great dreams that's some were a little more serious about achieving them yeah which that's what makes us all so different yeah what's your big dream right now my dreams have changed over the years you know there is a long time to go win a national championship and we did and my dream right now is to be a I'm a grandfather I want to be the best possible grandfather there is and really support my family but my professional dreams and ours I want to see this room of 120 people have a 100% effective rate of having a job offer waiting for where they're done mm-hmm when they finished Ohio State University we're close to that right now that they're so well prepared for life after football that those that what we talked about earlier you want to have you want to see any any group of people any group of people I don't want to get into black-white because I Polynesian and when I was at Utah or southern northern eastern was it doesn't matter any group of people and you take away their hope and you take away their opportunity its combustible it's gonna blow up yeah and I think it's our job my coach's job in our job in this university is job to make sure that we can't control some what's going on in this world but it's our job to make sure there's hope and opportunity for every player that comes to this program yeah that's powerful you're really developing like a Leadership Center for kids it's not a football program it's a Leadership Center that's where what's aged right we have really changed and I'm glad you said that and yeah that's a big part of what's in there that's why I thought it was so important get that on paper because after the 2014 season it was a logical for what happened that year we lost our starting quarterback a week before that was crazy the starting quarterback was a redshirt freshman he gets hurt in the rivalry game and then the third string quarterback takes it crazy on a three-game journey for a national title was unbelievable and when I heard him say one of the number ones reason is he didn't wanna let his teammates down and now you know that yeah what we're teaching around here was working that out tickly year yeah and I love that you guys have you know it's all about playing for each other playing for your unit right you have nine different units is that what I've learned units nine years yeah I was I was debriefed and everything's about playing for one another but also competing at the highest level and I heard from Quinn that you guys track everything every is that from like who sits down the first and team meetings to know catching pass any competitive it's any competitive environment and we were actually that's part of our mantra right now for the 2018 season is that you know it's unfortunate it's unbelievable I looked one day during a season last year I just was very upset we lost a game and it wasn't just because we lost a great team but I didn't feel I didn't feel our team and I didn't the competition I look I just hit on my iPad competitor and I was so disappointed what came up one of the definitions I saw someone who takes part in athletic events and I can't disagree more that's not a competitor that's a take partner that's a good yeah you know it conforms and he does what he but he's not competing and then so I just started playing again and then I looked up fierce competitor and that's what I want that's what you all need to be and a fierce competitor refused to lose and basically I added this when they keep score we're gonna try to win and we try to teach that throughout this whole program as long as we're something someone's keeping score we're gonna do our very best to go win that mm-hmm and that's why we train so hard yeah what do you think builds more character those that win a lot are those that lose a lot you'll be politically correct here but I just I I don't buy the losing builds character mmm I don't I think losing just teaches you know hopefully that teaches you that gets you that feeling that we all have that you make want to work harder so you don't want to lose ya and if you a winner or loser and we use this around here quite often just because you lose you should be tagged and loser if you accept losing now you're loser yeah if they you accept it and say that's okay then or in this line of work I'm talking about college football and I think I don't know many professions that aren't like that that if you fail to win that does not make you loser it just makes you want to work that much harder to never let that happen again and that's gonna happen we're going to get knocked down but a competitor gets right back up and finds a way to win it next time yeah wow what's the biggest loss you've ever had in in sports and in life well I lost my mom and dad and there was it was tragic you know we're not tragic but you know my mom was lost her 63 years old and far too young and yeah she never got to experience never got to see me coach a game but she used to always talk to me about that being head coach my father passed away in my arms two weeks before I took on a stage job oh my god that was tough and I was you know I had a great we have a great family those are you know off the field losses that that was very tough yeah and what about in sports es lost whether is a player coach well I've had some in the games you know there's several that stick out you know and we had what tough one this year with it it's hard for me to quantify which was a hard if it's not fair probably yeah some come to my head yeah of course yeah it's not gonna share yeah of course how important is it that we develop a winning mindset and that we strive to win at everything we do not from a sense of needing to be right and needed to win to hurt someone else but just that competitiveness how important is that that we strive to win and everything we do I I think it's essential I think it's once again that's what we I think we're created to do that and I why do you think that well I think God has a plan for us you know God was very uh you know I just believe that when I'm once again trying to just put this in it not many met many people that don't have that burning desire to go win and those who haven't I would imagine just haven't had that euphoria that feeling though and not so much for yourself that's why I love football my daughter's played volleyball yeah the euphoria winning isn't say I want the Furion was is for me to hug my teammate and say we found a way to accomplish something and I think that's what's the greatest fulfillment that I have to this day of is when in that locker room after win and not not not saying we I won look what we did we put all the egos all the selfless and all the selfishness all the other stuff out of the way and we went and got something done together that's that's I think we're created that way yeah when you guys start the season I remember playing a high school one of the first time I played sophomore year in high school was the first time I played football as well as a late bloomer right everything to understand the game till I got into college even then I was still confused they just said here go run here and catch the ball but I remember the coach had us all sit down and talk about the vision the first day what's the vision for this season what do we want to create as a team do you have a process and either first day or the first kind of day like that where you talk about your vision as a team and what the team wants to create the other sure we're not we're not a big goal team you won't see around here like win the national championship that's too abstract as to many variables involved and what happens if you lose one early do you just not play give up yeah yeah so so we do what you know it's a nine strong I want to maximize every unit of our team it's a molar little militaristic model that we use around here and that is that what's our goal every year and that's to be nine strong and that means every unit with on our team and it's what we call small unit cohesion is that every unit performs at their maximum capacity and the way we recruit around here the great players we have if we're performing at maximum capacity you're probably not going to lose mm-hmm and so our goal you won't see you know let's go win the national title let's go do this because there's too many injuries and there's too many you're counting on committees to pick you to go playing the games and but you know what we it's all very comfortable or not comfortable it's all fulfilling if we can look in the mirror and say you know what we were nine strong we maximized who we are and I'm not just talking about on the field with that so that's our goal yeah that's a big part of that year too I learned so much in the last probably seven eight nine years of my career that we don't talk so much about the the end all we're talking about how to get there and the end all that we're all shooting for is nine strong mmm I love that what's the greatest lesson you've learned throughout your coaching days well no question one that I've shared with my son and my daughters I have three athletes in the family and the one things athletic teach you that's not about you and that's why I love team sports I wasn't much into the individuals course not for on purpose but I'll never forget that my son in Florida we started a seventh grade high school or seventh grade football program yeah and so I was helping them out I was a consultant not in coach but I was a consultant and I would go there I wanted to make sure that everybody's teaching the game correctly and and the first couple days of practice it wasn't football it was the most disgusting display of whatever there was a bunch of kids running around falling down and all that but what I saw happen and the coaches were outstanding but every day they got better every day they got better and I never get my son Nate was playing safety and he goes and football is a tough sport yeah tough tough play and this big running back came through and he goes up and he you know I had no choice he's because if you had a choice I'm not sure and hit him he kind of turned into the guy that got ran him right over and I was right there looking at him and he looked up at me and then yeah it's you know the water in his eyes no tears in his eyes and I said to Russ and get up because football and sports teach you to do what you're gonna get hit get up hmm and the good thing in team sports you rarely do you have to get up by yourself yeah there's always a hand someone's gonna help you and I think that's what's family that's what's you know my family is all about that's what this program is all about and you tell me where else to learn it better than on a football or my daughters in volleyball yeah you get knocked down when you reach your arm up what's gonna happen someone's gonna grab yet they're gonna pick you up dust you off and let's go again yeah mm-hmm couple final questions for you I want to respect the time what do you think is the biggest weakness that used to get to improve on either as a human being or as a coach I regress you know the win at all cost though you know because we do we know college football's very competitive when you lose a game you just take three steps backwards sometimes and you have to get you know we have to get your 6:30 to get your mind right time and you have to get everything back in order so sometimes I disappoint myself with with that not near to extreme that it was before that's hard not to fall back into that win at all cost mentality yeah yeah this is a question I ask at the end to all my guests it's called the three truths so imagine this was many years from now and you got to pick when it was your last day on earth it's your last day you're 100 and how old you want to live and you say you know what I think it's time you've written many New York Times bestsellers you've coached as many teams you want to coach you've achieved everything you could imagine more national championships you've done it all you've whatever you want to do it you've done it all those big dreams but for whatever reason all the information that you've put out there your spoken word the videos the written content has been a race for whatever reason hypothetical right so no one has access to your information anymore but you have a piece of paper and a pen by your bed before it's the last moment and you get to write down three things you know to be true about all of your experiences you've had in your life your lessons things like that and I called the three truths questions so these would be the lessons that you would then give to the world this is all they would have to be remembered by you as your message to the world what would you say are those three truths there is a God and we're created by a great God the second thing is family is everything and that is an all cost you you protect your family at all cost and teach them prepare them and the final thing is the that team is stronger than me that group of people you know if you get the right group of people you tell me what you can't accomplish and you get the right group of people enough and the right setting you can you can move mountains yeah that's an absolute truth yeah those are great like those before I ask the final question I want to make sure you guys get a copy of the book and go get this right now I'll have it linked up powerful book great message if you want to build leadership in your company we have a lot of entrepreneurs that watch this so if you're trying to build leaders in your company your team if you're a teacher or coach get this book it's very powerful information they're great equations don't you guys talk about what is it you please place as our equals oh right experience plus events and your events plus response equals outcome yeah I'm gonna have to get one of those too if you have an extra one I'm gonna steal one so make sure you guys go get this and you're pretty active on Twitter or is that someone on your team so what somebody team but maybe you jump in there right now and then make sure you go fall coach on Twitter is there anywhere that you do hang out online if people wanted to reach out and leave a comment somewhere to you Twitter I do I go myself God doesn't set out okay I have a tea but I also course that way yeah of course so make sure you guys go follow coach on Twitter we'll have that linked up before I do get to the final question I want to acknowledge you for for a moment coach for your incredible authenticity you know as a as a guy that loves Ohio State football and just sports in general you're such an authentic leader and human being and I love witnessing everything that you've transformed into like I talked about in the beginning and how you continue to evolve as a human being to be there for your wife for your kids to be there for all these young men who are constantly learning so much and evolving and for your coaching staff for everything you're a blessing to Ohio and you've brought a lot to the one of my you know favorite places in the world so I acknowledge you for all the information that you put out there and your your competitiveness as well it's very powerful inspiring we're it to be with ya the final question is what is your definition of greatness greatness to me is uh you're maximized you maximize your gifts that were given to you you know what's your if I'm supposed to be uh if I max it if I'm supposed to be a 4.0 student become a little bit better in a four point students you're maximizing your if you're a 2.2 student and that's your maximum capacity push a little bit further so greatness to me is maximum capacity you're operating at maximum capacity mmm coach at urban life thanks so much thank you appreciate it you

Maurice Vega

21 Responses

  1. Lewis thank you for this video. Coach Meyer is one of my favorite leaders/coaches to learn from. This was awesome and helpful!

  2. "I don't ready many books."

    "Usually my staff reads them and gives me notes."

    "I bought this one and ALMOST read all of it."

    Yep, you are no doubt a Capital grad. Lord.

  3. I’m a diehard Wisconsin badger fan and I hate losing to Urban Meyer but I just finished his book and what a eye opening experience. There’s a reason he’s a gold standard in coaching.

  4. What a meaningful interview. His advise is full of wisdom and backed by years of experience. There is a lot to learn from this interview. Thank you for sharing it!

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