By Scott Creer
Brian Billick, head coach of the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, is considered one of the great intimidators in the NFL.
His team walks onto the field each Sunday with a swagger and confidence reflecting Billick”s own character.
But the tables were turned Friday afternoon as Billick, a 1977 BYU graduate in public relations, talked with communications students in the NewsNet newsroom.
“Standing in front of a group like this is intimidating,” Billick said. “I know the potential I”m looking at.”
Billick was in town for a football player reunion Friday night as well as a banquet honoring retired BYU coach LaVell Edwards. Billick played for Edwards” Cougars as a tight end during his collegiate career.
Immediately following the Ravens” Super Bowl win, Laurie Wilson, chair of the Department of Communications, sent a congratulatory letter to Billick. She also mentioned the possibility of him having the chance to talk with BYU students if he ever was in the area.
“The day he got the letter, he called back,” Wilson said.
Wilson was extremely excited about the opportunity to have one of BYU”s prominent alumni talk to students, and she was even more pleased with how excited Billick was about the chance.
“We couldn”t have scripted it better,” Wilson said.
Billick applied lessons from his coaching experience as he taught the importance of good leadership skills. Billick watched his stingy defense lead his team to the Super Bowl victory over the New York Giants in January.
Billick cautioned students to decide now what moral standards they intend to use in the professional world. He feels the value structure in the communications business has changed since he attended BYU over 20 years ago.
“The No. 1 thing that was honed into us constantly was to get it right,” Billick said. “The priority has changed from get it right to get it first.”
The sports media explosion, including constant updates on the Web, has done some damage to the journalism profession, he said.
“Part of the problem is the sensationalist approach of the media,” Billick said.
Billick emphasized the importance of leadership, saying three things are the basis of any kind of good leadership.
A quality leader must be competent, have a passion and have a high energy level. These three things are the foundation of what Billick discusses in his upcoming book, “Competitive Leadership.”
Billick has learned from some legendary coaches, starting with his tutelage from Edwards. Billick has also worked under Bill Walsh and current Minnesota Vikings” head coach Dennis Green.
“He was born to do what he”s doing,” said Billick”s friend and 1979 BYU grad, Tom Miller. “Everybody expected this to happen.”
Billick said it was the first time he had the chance to visit BYU in about ten years.