Wow. This really is powerful.
Motivational speaker Eric Thomas addressed the NC State football team on Monday night.
One of the most passionate speakers in the world, Thomas energized and inspired Dave Doeren’s coaching staff and the entire Wolfpack program.
Thomas is a native of Detroit. He is a one-time high school dropout, once homeless who is now pursuing a PhD at Michigan State.
One of his messages….
Thomas said, “People ask ‘Why do you grind so hard, E?’ I might not be the No. 1 motivational speaker in the world five years from now. I got to get everything I can get right now, every book I can write. Listen to me… my school is being paid for by the athletic department. I’m hot right now.”
Listen in for six minutes as Thomas talks about realizing the opportunity, grinding, starting at the bottom, and falling in love with the process.
When reading this, the ‘more seasoned’ SFN readers might reminisce alittle about the use of a motivational speaker by former NC State Head Coach, Mike O’Cain back in the late 1990s.
As O’Cain’s tenure wore on and the Wolfpack football program was quickly slipping into obscurity after advancing to 8 bowls in a 9 year period from 1986 through the 1994, the Wolfpack’s Head Coach chose to outsource the motivating component of his duties to a professional motivational speaker named Ray Pelletier. Of course, the simple fact that a head coach had to outsource the motivational part of his job for an ENTIRE SEASON was a pretty large red flag about what was going on with the program at the time. As an example, the Daily Press framed the situation as follows in an August 1997 article:
It almost sounds like the last act of a desperate man. In truth, North Carolina State coach Mike O’Cain seems to agree the whole thing is, well, a little silly.
But when you’re in charge of a fading-fast football program that is coming off back-to-back 3-8 seasons, you don’t eliminate anything as a potential remedy. So, last Sunday, O’Cain had a motivational speaker from Miami named Ray Pelletier address the team.
If you want to be really sad, take a look at the rest of that article for a walk down ‘memory lane’ of the late 1990s (while remembering that we went TEN CONSECUTIVE years without making an NCAA Tournament appearance in basketball).
Pelletier was a hulky guy with a head full of hair and a beard that helped accentuate his resemblance to ‘Wolfman Jack’. I was unsuccessful in finding some pictures of Pelletier in his NC State football attire, but all you need to do is google Wolfman Jack and photoshop him in red & white and you’ll have it.
Ultimately, Pelletier was able to help O’Cain sneak into the 1998 Micron PC Bowl and prolong the inevitable by another year. Well, it was only ‘inevitable’ because of the grace of God that Marye Anne Fox was NC State’s Chancellor at the time…because, without her the NC State ‘lack of leadership brigade’ would’ve probably given O’Cain a lifetime contract because he was a great guy and he did things (like lose) ‘the right way’. (It is fascinating to me that other than Randy Woodson in recent years the only actual athletic leadership our school experienced for 20 years came from two women.)
While I was writing this entry I obviously googled Pelletier and ran across the following sad news to share:
In May 2007, motivational speaker Ray Pelletier, Sr. died from a blood clot following hernia surgery. The operation was considered “routine.” The outcome was a shock to family, friends and business associates. Ray overcame a lisp as a child to be one of the top speakers in the country. He worked with college and high school teams, Fortune 500 companies and non-profit organizations. He was innovative, confident and generous. He was my friend for nearly 30 years. Each year, since he died, I’ve done a video in his memory. This one is based on an unreleased promotional clip produced by Mick Rizzo that was being developed when Ray died. I did a little reworking. The audio features Ray, along with comments from three of his clients.
With that said I’ve incldued the following video: