Inspiration from the Final Four and Jimmy V

by Phil Bundy on April 2, 2010

As a former collegiate golfer at Wake Forest and a recipient of an MBA from the University of Maryland, I am disappointed that my Demon Deacons and Terps are not still contending in the 2010 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament, but each of the four remaining teams offer inspiration regardless of which school wins the championship as the Final Four takes place at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana on Saturday and Monday evenings.

For its long tradition of championships in the ACC and the NCAA, the Duke Blue Devils represent preparation and excellence; the injury-plagued Michigan State Spartans are an example to never give up; the West Virginia Mountaineers — a hometown team for an entire state — play with true grit and emotion; and the Cinderella-story Butler Bulldogs demonstrate that anything is possible.

As you watch the exciting collegiate basketball season come to a close, also remember the motivational speech that Jimmy Valvano — the head coach of the North Carolina State Wolfpack and the 1983 NCAA Championship Team — delivered at the inaugural ESPY Awards in 1993. Given shortly before his death from cancer, Jimmy V said, “Take time every day to laugh, to think, to cry…. Don’t give up, don’t ever give up!” as he accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award. Unfortunately, he died two months later and was unable to return the following year to present the award to the next recipient as he had hoped.

Coincidentally, a new book about the famous speech has recently been released by Sourcebooks: Don’t Give Up…Don’t Ever Give Up with DVD: The Inspiration of Jimmy V–One Coach, 11 Minutes, and an Uncommon Look at the Game of Life. The hardcover book was written by Justin Spizman, Robyn Spizman, and Nick Valvano — the legendary coach’s brother who is now the CEO of The V Foundation which is dedicated to finding a cure for cancer and conducts a very successful charity golf tournament. Included in the slim book is a full written transcript and video of the poignant speech as well as a description of several important life lessons that Jimmy V shared.

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