266: Jim Mora Podcast

December 9, 2022

Jim Mora: The U Conn football team went 4-44 the last 4 years prior to Jim Mora showing up. He turned the football team in 2022 going 6-6 and being selected to play in a bowl game against Marshall. How do you change the mindset of young men who only know what it’s like to lose? Listen to Jim Mora on how he got his players to believe and buy into having a championship mindset. Amazing turnaround…
Listen to “U Conn Head Coach Jim Mora on becoming relevant again” on Spreaker.

Show Transcript

Everybody. It’s Mark Pattison and back again with another great episode of Finding Your Summit, all about people overcoming adversity and finding their way. Before we get to today’s  great guest, I just want to draw attention really quickly to my website www dot Mark Pattison NFL dot com. There’s a bunch of great stuff going on over there, like two five plus podcast. You can go in get inspired just like I do every day. We’ll get to our rock star guests in just a second. That’s number one. Uh. Number two is I would appreciate any uh love on Apple by giving a review and ratings, and by doing that, um, it helps elevate the popularity of the show. We have talked about this before, but my award winning best picture me there. It is the trophy, the hardware now searching for the Summit best picture. The NFL shot of my journey up and down Mount Everest. Uh. You can access that through a link. And finally, we continue to raise money for Higher Ground. We have a campaign called Emelia’s Everest. We’ve raised several hundred thousand dollars. It’s fantastic and it helps with empowerment of other people.

Collage image with mountainous background displaying Finding Your Summit logo, episode number and photos of both Mark Pattison and Jim MoraOkay, speaking of empowerment of other people. I want to bring in today my very close friend and uh guy who is now the head coach of the University of Connecticut Huskies, Jim Mora. Jim, how you doing. I’m fantastic even better that you’re here in Sun Valley close to me. But listen, you are the head coach. Now, you’ve you’ve got your your first year under your belt, and it’s just absolutely miraculous what you and your staff were able to pull out in terms of where the school has been historically. I’m not sure exactly how many D one teams there is, something like a hundred thirty one or something, but at the bottom of that wrong historically has been Yukon. That literally the last wrong, the last spot in that list. And and I want to talk to you about really and this, this this really speaks not so so much about let’s talk football, but it’s really about how you build a brand and how you gain recognition nition in all these infer things that we’ll get into. There’s a bunch of subsets within that culture belief system, personnel, which is coaches, players, um an, administrative folks. There’s schemes that you came in something you know, new to all the players that came came to the table, and of course social media, which I think played a huge role, especially when you think about where you’ve been historically, which is twenty five years in the NFL, six years at at U c l A. It seems like more than ever, there’s a there’s a big slice that social media is really playing for that. But we’ll get to that last. I want to just go back for the audience really quickly, and then I’m gonna shut up and ask you. You know you can dig in, but just to kind of reconstruct what happened with Yukon, I want to go back to two thousand, one and eleven, two thousand, nineteen, two and ten, two thousand twenty didn’t even play. Didn’t all these other teams are showing up. They didn’t even show up to play. There’s no So you have to count that as zero wins against twelve potential games that would have played on two thousand twenty one last year, one and eleven, this year, six and six, And it’s very possible that that number could have been seven and five or eight and four. I mean that is that is definite possibility. Where you are ahead in the game at certain points right down to the end, and then things went the other way. But that so much of what happened was about mindset. And by the way, when you combined that that that record together, I believe it’s four wins and forty four losses over one, two, three, four years. And then you come in and you do your thing. So let’s it off with when you first were offered this job a year ago and the massive challenge that you were under. What were you thinking in terms of what needed to happen as as I’m talking about step one, because they were like a hundred steps in there, but step one, where did you want to start? Step one was defining what we wanted our culture to be. And people talk a lot about culture, but I’m not sure they ever defined it, and we needed to define it. And culture is is how you treat each other, how you talk to each other, what your expectations are, what your standards are, how you act, how you enforce your standards. Aren’t you know, necessarily living up there? Uh, it’s everything’s It’s the living and breathing essence of any organization. So we had to come in and established what we wanted to be culturally as a team, and uh we we got into the weed with it. As a staff, I had a very firm belief in what I felt was necessary. And uh, you know, being the head coach, you’re that you know, you’re the leader, and uh you you know, the leader sets the culture, but everyone else kind of enforces it. And you know, culture strongest when the players are saying the same things and the players are enforcing the things that the coach says. So I felt like in order for us to to start down the right path, initially, I needed to develop trust with these players and I needed to infuse them with a passion that that they hadn’t maybe had in a while, you know, they’d lost and uh so I came in there strong like I always do and talking about the things that you know, we could accomplished if we took certain steps along the way to make sure we accomplished those things. And I was very fortunate to hire a really good staff of like minded men, UM good motivators, excellent teachers, trustworthy people. Um man that cared about men and women because I do have a woman on my staff, but men and women that um cared about the players as people first and we’re also trustworthy. So the building that trust amongst the players, UM, it was critical. It was a critical first step because once they trust you, they’ll follow you. Let they trust you, they’ll b into what you’re saying. Lets they trust you, you know, when when maybe they want to question something a little bit, they’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. And you have to earn that trust every day. And uh, I’ve really tried hard to do that, and I think that I think we’ve done a good job of that. So let’s talk about you know, you and I climbing around the mountains here in Sun Valley for really, you know, the prior like six months and leading up to this and actually going back there and living in stores Connecticut, um, and everything that just came out of your mouth. I think you could probably get that same, that same line from pretty much any coach aspiring coaches. That’s that’s a that’s a head guy or has been a head guy. Is trying to get out there about belief system and buying into it. But not everybody that happens to, right, and so so flipping this on the other side. So now you come in with this belief system and this mantra and you know, having it trickled down vertically integrated from from you know, the people at the bottom, whoever those people are, to the people you know as you’re working away at the top of the offensive coordinator and the other coaches. But what did you find in terms of the players, Like you you went back there and this wasn’t like when you took over U c l A. You came into a team that I am guessing this like was five and seven or six and six or something like that. So they, yeah, they won five games, but you know, it’s a it’s a program that’s historically had a lot of success, you know, even though it was here and there, and now you’re going in into a culture where there’s been no success. And so so even though I know you’re walking in with that mindset, what did do you find on the other side of that fence that that that you look at the same thing like, this is a math of this is way bigger than what I thought. What I found was um apprehension initially, as you would expect, you know, when you’re going a new job and a new person comes in and the players are there and they’ve heard it all before. One thing that helped me is I had credibility. I’ve been a head coach in the NFL, I’ve been a head coach of the program where we’ve had success. I’ve been on TV, so they’ve seen me, So I had some credibility with him. But Uh, the first thing we had to do is kind of weed out some of the guys that I didn’t think we’re gonna fit, either from a scheme standpoint or a mindset st point. And so we whettled that down a little bit and we kept the core. And the core was surprisingly resilient. And these guys, as you said, they’ve been through so much um and yet it didn’t get them down. They were so anxious to to do whatever, you know, we felt was necessary to become a decent, too good, to growing football team. And Uh, what I found, Mark was a whole bunch of guys that lacked the sense of entitlement. And I think entitlement is something that’s a negative in our culture today. I think there’s sometimes, you know, people that believe that they deserve something rather than have to go out and earn it. And what I found was a bunch of guys that were so willing to go out and earn whatever. You know they were gonna get, they were gonna achieve. They didn’t believe anyone owed them anything, and it was so refreshing. And every day that sense of of of competitiveness and sense of you know, just dying to do whatever was asked to them to get better, um, of not feeling entitled, of wanting to work for it, competing every day, it just continued to grow. It became an incredibly incredi incredibly close football team, probably the closest football team I’ve ever been on, and for sure the least entitled group of players I’ve ever been around. So um, it wasn’t hard to change their mindset. And then they just needed to win, right, and they needed to be taught how to win. And then you know what it took to win, because it’s more than just wanting to win. I mean, heck, everyone wants to win. But it’s the work that you have to put in, and it’s the it’s the trust that you have to garner amongst each other, and it’s the it’s the commitment you have to make every single day, every single moment of every single day. It can’t be something you pick and choose and uh, and these guys were just willing to do the work and it was very, very rewarding to be around those guys. So the first thing I have written down on my list as the culture, and you talked about that, you know, changing the mindset, changing the culture, and and probably more important than just changing the culture, which is this sub of the next thing that follows after you said, I may determine this is the way I want my program to run, and then having various people buying into that is now your belief system. And belief system just comes to confidence. Gotta tell you that when I was back in stores Connecticut and went back, because you remember, for three or four days just to come out to spring ball and watch and enjoy. I love doing that stuff. And what I saw was might be the worst collection. I’m not gonna says athletes, but just in terms of technique and were to be and building up their bodies and doing all those things necessary, which are you ultimately got those people to believe and you you pulled off some unbelievable upsets. I think Vegas put you that you wouldn’t win any more than two games. You know, at the very beginning to see it season, and you blew past that. So what I’m asking is between spring ball and then going into fall, where did you see like the switch finally start to go on in terms of some of the players on the team believing that what you were saying, if they did this, then that could happen, because they certainly played way above their abilities. In my opinion, I think it was a continual progression towards that. I don’t think there’s ever a time that the switch really uh was on or off. For me, the day that I felt like we had realized that we could be better than they’d ever thought they could be was when we actually lost a game. You know, we we’ve been through a gauntlet of teams that were really good Syracuse, Northronlina State, Michigan took our lumps. But I never felt like any of the guys were we’re we’re giving in or given up or we’re I mean, you’re obvious affected by a loss, but they weren’t going to be long term effected. It wasn’t it wasn’t affecting their morale. We won a couple of games. We went to ball State and we had a good lead at halftime. We lost, and uh, It was the first time that I felt like they were really piste, really disappointed, really upset that we lost, that they were not accepting defeat anymore, that they just had enough of it. They learned how to win, they learned what it felt like to win. They knew we should have won well, I hate to use the word should, or we had an opportunity to win and we didn’t capitalize. And to me, that was kind of like if you talked about a turning point, because I recognized the expectations had had really risen and our standard had risen and losing was not acceptable and it wasn’t okay and you don’t just get over it. And uh, to me, that was a big, big, big point in our development. But I felt like just all along, they just every day they were making gains. Every single day they were making gains. I mean, even when we didn’t have organized things, they had player run practices, they had workouts on their own. There was hardly a weekend day that I’d walk into my office just because I’d go check into my office and my house is right there, as you know, and there wouldn’t be you know, the whole team or part of the team out there working, And I’ve never been exposed to a group that worked the way these guys work. So I think it’s just they had a desire to be good and now they had um, someone that was, you know, a staff that was showing them what it takes to be good and making heavy demands on him, putting you know, making them accountable, being demanding and uh. And yet along the way, you know, like we say, we coach them hard, we love them harder, you know, making them feel like we were all in this together and if we all did it as best as we could every day, that we could get this thing going in the right direction. I love that. I love that. UM. Next thing, as we go down and we talked about that, there’s this there’s this great book and and it’s called Good the Great. I don’t know if you ever read it, but one of the things that he talks about, read the first line of it, Yeah, Good the Great. So the book is the book is by Jim Jim Collins. Okay, And one of the first things he establishes and becoming from good to great and and and in terms of business sense, there’s a lot of great companies who who were good, UM like comp Usa if you remember that company years ago. There’s many other examples like this which didn’t make hard pivots when they had to and then market changed and then they ended up going bankrupt. And there’s other companies like Apple who had to take a heart pivot, which they did and became very innovative along with Steve Jobs and everything. So there’s these various companies that he compares to companies that thrived versus companies that didn’t. In your case or I actually staying on the same thing, one of the things he talks about is getting the right people on the bus, okay, And I think that’s one of the things that you were saying initially and what you what you were describing as in terms of changing out some of the personnel, but just not the personnel on your team in terms of players. It’s also getting the right type of people in the administrative and your coaches that were buying into the right system. I think, if I if I remember um right, there is something like I don’t know thirty ish players that ended up leaving the program. They just didn’t meet the goals that where you’re trying to go. You had something like thirties and roughly the same number of personnel that that that you know exchange that were there either the year before the years before that were part of that losing culture that you said, look at, we have to get the right people on the bus, and if they’re not on this bus and we’re not all going in the same direction, then they need to go someplace else and do whatever they want to do. Well. That book that you talked about, Good to Great, The very first line in that book is good is the enemy of great um And that’s really all you need to know about the book is if you accept good, you’ll that would be great. And interestingly enough, in my very first team meeting, I mentioned that book and those words good is he me a great? And if we start accepting good, we won’t be great. If we start saying that was good enough, that was pretty good, that’ll do, then we’ll be average, will never be great. And so you know, one of the important things identifying the players, the people in the in the program that subscribe to that philosophy, you know that good was not enough for them. They wanted to be great, and populating not only your team with those types of players, but staff members with that type of mindset, and uh, I think we’ve done a good job of that. It’s never perfect and the job has never done And you know, you know, there’s a couple of other words I hate, and that’s hey, we got it or I got it, you know, and I don’t like that either. Hey I got it. That means you know, you’re about to start going this way. If you think I got it, I’ve reached the peak. You know, you start going that. We’ve been around some really talented players in my career that always felt like I got it, I got it, and they never realized their talent because they they just gave in um and didn’t keep pushing greatness. And one of the fun things about being in the situation i’m in is I think it’s very lucky. It’s a stroke of luck. Is that most of the people that are in our in our are highly motivated. And I think part of that is it’s very young, Like my coaching staff is very young. These players, as I said, you know, these were of the highest recruited players in the country. Mark, these were you know, it was Yukon. I mean they were you know, they weren’t four three, five star guys. And so they’ve been used to working for it and that’s refreshing. It’s called overachievers, right, Um, what’s something that’s that’s new or reaching your potential? You know, every day, reaching your potential every day. I don’t know that. I don’t really like to use the word overachieving because if I think if you achieve it once, then you’re able to achieve it every every time. So to me, and like we stayed on message all year, it’s like, let’s max out every day every day. Let’s max out every single day. Let’s reach our potential every single day, and if we can do that with consistency, then people may say, Wow, they overachieved, but we don’t. No, we didn’t overachieve. We just achieved what we’re capable of. H Yeah. At this point we gotta keep getting better. Well yeah. And then part of that too is that you never really truly know what your your ceiling is. And I think that’s where when people either cap you add a certain ceiling, that’s when you you know, that word potential which your dad used always talk about, you know, the potential really means that you haven’t realized your full talents of where you can go, because that’s what that word means is potential. It’s just like like you’ve actually failed. And that whole thing something that’s different from the way when back you and I go back to playing college ball. We I think we first met each other in the nine or eighty something like that, way way long ago, and and and back on the day, the way the rules were is that if you didn’t feel like you’re in a position where you’re gonna play at a particular school, then you were kind of stuck there. And and if you wanted to leave, you just kind of like it was double jeopardy because you had to sit out more or less for two years before you can come back. So it just didn’t favor anybody to leave. Um. In today’s world, there’s this thing called the transfer portal. Tell me how that has really benefited what you guys are trying to do in terms of building a championship mindset and and in terms of you know, everybody’s always looking for better talent, right, That’s just the way it is. Whether you’re Georgia who’s sitting at number one right now, or whether you’re you’re a Yukon team, well you have it gives you the opportunity to add um, experienced and talented players to your roster quickly and uh, and that is certainly helpful. Um. There are some traps though, you have you know, we talked initially about culture and you know, the type of people you want and uh, the type of mindset you want in your locker room. And uh, the more you tap into the portal, the more chance you have a getting somebody that’s maybe more just a mercenary one year guy, doesn’t really have a team first attitude, um, And so you really have to vet those players and make sure that they fit what you want, not just on the field but off the field. So they’re a great opportunity to get tremendous young man that are tremendous players. But you have to be careful because you can destroy the chemistry of your locker room very very quickly. And that’s something that we’re very careful about. But in terms of the ability to add talented players very quickly that can help you win, it’s a big time deal, you know, it’s it’s big I think there’s if there’s a negative to it, it’s that you see so many players that go into the portal because they’re not getting opportunities where they are, and they maybe have an overinflated estimation of who they are as a player, and they never land anywhere, you know, and so they entered the portal thinking they’re gonna go get a scholarship somewhere else, and now they’re out, and uh so they you know, I think you have to move with extreme caution when you use the portal as a program or as a player. Yeah, you know, I look back at again both of our situations, and you started playing before me just a little bit. Um it took me. Yeah I ran down on a kickoff well whatever, But but whatever, you were still out there playing before I was. And and you know, for me, there was a lot of hardship and I really didn’t see the lot of day until my third year, and even at that that was s teams. But the point being is that, you know, I think the in and I find this, I’m not sure what’side of the fence a’mount with this when when you when when the kid is going through a struggle, maybe the best thing to do is for that kid to stay exactly where he’s at and go through this struggle so that when he comes out the other end. It certainly made me, work harder, have a much greater desire. I really never had to work like that in high school because I could just roll out of bed and do it, and and it was just like, okay, this is sink or swim time now. And so you either got to like button up your game and and get after all these things that that are Hall of Fame head coach Don James, you know, put in front of us, you know, getting bigger, faster, stronger, knowing the game, doing well in classroom, doing all those those different things. And in today’s world and environment, if things aren’t going exactly quite right, you’ve got this thing called the transfer portal. And so again kind of at your point when do you at which point do you realize your potential If if the only test that are being tested on is that, oh, I’m not playing someone gonna bail and go someplace else, and then you kind of restart that whole thing again. Well, I think there’s that’s part of it, but that’s not all of it. Um Oftentimes, you know players that didn’t have opportunities coming out of high school that have developed now maybe at a lower level or a smaller school or in a smaller conference, have proven their good players. Now they have a chance to go to an Alabama or Georgia or you know, Michigan or Ohio State and play at the highest level. So that’s one part of it. And then there’s coaching changes, you know that drastically affect the situations of each player when coaches leave or fire, and so there’s an opportunity now for guys to improve their um their place. And so kind of going back to what I was saying about being careful about who you let in your program when you go to the portal, I think a really important question to ask, and did not only ask, but to really kind of feel, is why is this guy leaving this school? Because if it’s because he’s a whiner and he didn’t think he got a chance and he doesn’t really want to work for it, kind of what you were describing, then man, do you really want that? You know, I don’t, you know, because you and I were raised by a coach that he demanded and you had to work. And if a kid is telling me I’m just not getting a chance there the coaches don’t like me. You know, I’m the victim boy, that’s a tough one for me, you know, I don’t. I don’t necessarily want to embrace the victim mentality. So that’s part of the evaluation process because what you said is is true in many cases, but there are other cases too, So it’s just every every case is uh is a different situation. You have to really do a good job of evaluating it. But you don’t want to fill your team with a bunch of victims, you know that. Yeah, I want to go back to something you said earlier, and you said that the kind of where the you felt as though the the switch want went on in terms of like having that full belief system was against ball State when you guys were ahead most of the game, it got down to the final five minutes and then a couple of things happened and they went ahead and they ended up beating you. A rank I don’t know if they’re a ranked team or not, but they were certainly a good team and a team with a record, and they’re probably gonna go to a ball game. Um. To me, it was interesting because where I saw that that that with it again, that belief system when you kick in was against Utah State at the very beginning of the season. I was there in Logan Utah and you guys were up fourteen, and it’s just they hadn’t experienced enough life yet, a football football life, I guess you’d say, of understanding how to get up, which that you guys did early in the game at fourteen. And he had everything wrong going for you in terms of your starter going down probably the first eight players or something gone for the season. It was horrific um. And then you put in a freshman and then if you go a bit, you know, getting in there and not just staying in front, but holding onto that and then surging from there. And and that’s that was like as much probably have a lesson learned about that game as it was against Ball State or even maybe Army, where you know, you really, in my opinion, were the better team out there, and you just didn’t bring it all on that day and the three phases of the game offense, defense, special teams. Everybody didn’t play with their full potential um And at the end of the day, they didn’t win those games. But what great learning opportunities. Yeah, those are three games that haunt me, you know, Utah State. Um, I think your point is you always talk about, you know, learning how to handle adversity and pushing through adversity. And I don’t know that we talked enough with young people about how do you handle success? You know, like what is your mindset when all of a sudden you’re having some success that maybe you didn’t think you were going to have. And so I think one of my failures going into that game is I thought it was gonna be really hard game and it ended up being that I didn’t see us jumping out fourteen to nothing. You know, I thought there was a chance that we might behind behind fourteen and nothing after comes screaming back, And so I didn’t talk enough about hey, we’re gonna get a lead on these guys, and here’s how we’re gonna handle it. You know, you talked all the time about hey, if someone gets a lead on it, here’s how we’re gonna handle a lead on us. Here’s how we’re gonna handle it. Ball State, Uh, yeah, I don’t know. It was. It was. It was a strange one and an Army too. But I think we learned a lot from from all our losses. I don’t know what the lesson from Army is yet. I know what the lesson from Utah State in Ball State were but those three games, you know, you’re right, Like I hate to ever say we should have won a game, but we absolutely had an opportunit community to win all three of those games. And it’s not like a lot had to happen. And so it wasn’t officiating, it wasn’t the weather, it wasn’t anything. Yes, it was our opponent. I never want to say it wasn’t our opponent. But I look at all three of those games like you do, and I say that was on us, that was on us, that was on me. That always starts with me. And uh so those are the games I go back and evaluate the most in terms of like where were we off or where was I off? That little bit that didn’t enable us to finish a team And that’s as you know, that’s and those those games stay with you forever forever. I know the actual clock time is sixty minutes in a game roughly, um, but it’s really shown up for each play and those I don’t know if it’s a thirty second by the time that you you know, you go and your line up and quarterback counts it down, or if you’re on defense and you execute the play and to play, then ends. It’s thirty seconds of hardcore concentration for sixty minutes. It’s really three hours or something, you know when you roll everything into it. But but that is what separates you know, a lot out of these things that that you guys have done in the past and your successes. Um, how much I know you’ve you’ve coached. Then let’s go back to the NFL for a minute. Twenty five years in the NFL as an assistant coach and the head coach, and you’ve been around significant amount of of of of Hall of famers, Um, is there any is there any characteristic with those guys one through line that you ever relate to your players. And I’m and I’m thinking again going back where you’re twenty eight point twenty eight and a half point underdogs against Utah State and you go out there in your fourteen of fourteen in the first quarter and like this is a miracle, Like this is like I can’t even believe this is happening. But you know something that maybe it’s not that game necessarily, but there’s a through line where for the whole season that you can say, you know, Jerry Rice did this, or Running Lot did that, or Morton Anderson. You know, there’s this same consistent behavior that they did that created that championship mindset. Well a keywords that you just said, it’s consistent. First of all, they never, they never um compromise their standard for themselves or for their team in terms of their work ethic, um, their discipline, their tension to detail, the way they practice, the way they met, the way they took care of their bodies, um, the way they watched film, and the routine that they got in to get ready for a game. They never deviated from that. They never compromised it ever. Ever, I think they all played one play at a time, and they all just played with great intensity and passion, one play at a time. I think that they had confidence that was built from the fact that they knew that they had done the work. They put in the work. So when you when you know you’ve done the work, you have compidence. When you have confidence, then you can play fast. And when you can play fast, and you’re gonna make plays. And so I think it all goes back to like I said, is is never compromising your standard, and your standard has to be the highest standard standard that commands respect, really an internal respect that you have for yourself, but the respect of others. And UH, Ronnie lott talked about that all the time. You know, you play this game for many reasons, but one of them is you play you play a way that commands the respect of yourself. So you know that when you go to bed at night, you’ve given all you can. You play this game in a way that commands the respect of your teammates, your opponents, your fans, and everyone that ever watches the game. And you know, that’s just something I constantly harp on with these young players. And I’m around is you know, you said, I’ve been around you know, over forty Hall of famers. At zero to do with them get in the Hall of Fame, but they have everything to do with the way I coach, and uh being able to kind of access some of the lessons I learned in watching those guys and tell the players about it. Uh, I think it makes a huge impact, huge impact on them because they know they know all these guys, they know who they are, they knew Ronnie Lott is and so I’m always just trying to draw on the lessons that I learned from the greatest of the great So when you started the season. There’s all these things culture, belief systems, personnel, um systems, and now we’re going to jump into in the final category here as social media. Right, tell me what social media has done, because I know you actually hired I don’t know this exactly, but almost like a social media team that and I’ve seen a lot of the stuff that’s come out these many movies and I’m sure your players enjoy and your fans enjoyed. But how has that affected your recruiting in terms of giving you guys more exposure that’s out there big time? So we hired a director of creative content from l s U. Here, he hired an assistant and then he created a team of twenty students from Yukon that worked tirelessly just to pump out content. And as you said, many movies, the videos, the graphics on the information. So it helps them recruiting because you know, you’re getting more eyes on your program and they’re seeing positive things about your program, reading about your program, starting to get a better feel for who you are. You’re not just you can you know a word that they hear, You’re a true program. There’s there’s visuals that people can see and then it helps with our local marketing, It helps with our engagement with our fans and our alumnis and our former former players. Um, it allows it allows us to kind of control the narrative of the stories that go out, you know, and uh, we’re never gonna do anything that’s not genuine, but uh, you know we can tell us we can tell compelling stories that engage people. And our social media team is is critical and we put money into it. And uh, you know, the recruiting aspect is you know, recruiting the Life Red program and besides the n I L And there’s nothing that’s probably more important than your your facilities and then your ability to give your players exposure as they become you know, people that others want to read about. And we’re able to do that now and it’s it’s a big part of our success. Well, what you’re doing is you’re going to where the kids are, are making the kids go to where you are, and that that’s a brilliant move. And you know, most of the big programs are doing that because they realize it and understand it, and I think it’s effective. And that’s the bottom line. Yeah, if we we can’t we can’t expect every student to like, you know, go go look up at Yukon football that we can push content out that somebody retweets that they know, so it’s on their feet and then then all of a sudden theyre exposed us and you know, we grab their attention and then they delve a little bit deeper and then there’s an interest. So it’s critical. And our guys work so hard at it, and they’re really really really good, and they work with our players on our nil stuff like they help our players promote themselves with the new and and I own the im image and likeness rules that are an effects. So they’re very critical to start to our success as a program. So final question here, Uh, you guys, when you first started the season, the goal is to become Bowl eligible and to do that you have to at least win six games. Right, you guys have now done that. It appears that you’re gonna go to a bowl. You’re gonna find that out here, I’m sure in the next week or two. Um, how do you now get your players under the mindset of you’ve achieved your goal because your goal was to be Bowl eligible? Right, I don’t know if you actually put a number whether it’s seven and five or six and six or eight and four. What but your goal is to become bull eligibles. And none of these kids have ever understood what that has meant, right because of where they have been when we talked about going four and forty four over the last four years, did not even play in two dozen twenty. So now you’ve achieved that goal, how do because I know you’re in your mind, whatever you go after, you’re gonna want to win, right and so what what’s the message now when they’ve kind of plateaued yet? You know, if they’re like at at camp for Mount Everest and and and and metaphorically speaking, you know you can see the top, you can see the bowl game. You can see the top the top of three to right. And for you, it’s it’s going to play this game and perform and try to beat whatever upon it they put you against. Like, how do you get them? Like that isn’t some accomp for is not the summit? Somebody is still in front of you. Well, I think it’s it’s pretty straightforward. We’re six and six. If we play a bowl game and win, we’re winners. We haven’t winning record for the first time in a long long time at Yukon. If we lose, we’re six and seven and we don’t have I’m not gonna say we’re losers, but we don’t have a winning record, you know. So right now we’re at average. We’re six and six, we’re average. We have a chance to be above average to be able to say this was a winning season. Or we can be six and seven and say, well, we didn’t. We we didn’t win the majority of our games. And so that’s what the focus will be on. And I think that that’s enough for these guys because it’s very important for them to win. And uh, they’ve been through so much, they’ve worked so hard, they’ve stayed so committed, uh that I don’t think it’s gonna be hard to get him motivated now going to a bowl game. As you and I both know, there’s some distractions out there that we’re gonna have to make sure that we avoid. But you get that a little why smile Because we both know we’re talking about there’s things that happened at bowl games. So we just have to, uh, we have to do a great job of keeping them focus and like we always say, keep the main thing, the main thing, and the main thing is preparing as hard as we can, as best as we can, as thoroughly as we can, to try to get on game day. You said something, I’ll end it with this. You said something when everybody was jumping for joy when you’re at least six and six, and they’re like, isn’t that just an amazing that you’ve got six win and you said, well, I got fired at U c l A For having six wins, which you did, and and so you know that that, like you know, where you’re going is still way up here, and and you’re still trying to hit that summit. And so I think it really to me, at least it it really once again, it’s just not your players, but it’s also your coaches and your media and everybody else involved in your program that that being six and six is not is not where you want to be. It’s a it’s a step in the process, but it’s not the ultimate destination. And I think that was as good a message as I’ve heard of all the things that you’ve said this season. Well, to put it in terms of your mountain climbing terms, as I see it, We’re at base camp and we went up into Kumba’s fall when we played Syracuse North Carolina State in Michigan and somehow we survive. But we went back to base camp and regrouped, and then we made a couple of other trips up there. But we we haven’t got the camp one yet, Like we haven’t, you know, we’re still trying to figure out how to get through the ice fall. But we’re alive, right, We’re alive and kicking. So uh, for anyone that would think that, you know, man, they made it through and they’re on their way, I would argue, you know, and I really shouldn’t have to argue because I kind of know, and I think it’s important to keep things in perspective. If you’re not always trying to get better, you’re gonna you’re gonna lose ground. We were talking about this yesterday, you and I on on our hike. Is uh, you can’t let six and six, which is average, mask the deficiencies that you still face in your program and you have to constantly address them. And why everyone’s excited because oh my god, they won six games and as you said, they’ve only won four in the last very many years. It’s like, yeah, but let’s go back to Utah State, Let’s go back to ball State, let’s go back to Army. Let’s figure out why we weren’t more competitive against Syracuse North Khana State and miss again. You know, and uh and let’s really dig deep and and be hard on ourselves. And if we can do that and still keep a positive attitude, which we will, then we have a chance to make a lot of improvement. Love it, love it. Um Where can people find you? When I say you, it’s Yukon um on on Twitter? Where’s the best place um at? Let me tell you at Jim Mora Football, Jim Mora FB, Jim more f B. Okay, there he is. And and also people, if you go onto Twitter, um you can look up Yukon and they’ve got all kinds of great content going on there. So get caught up with the revolution that is Yukon football and these guys are going places. So it’s been fun to get caught up and do kind of a recap of the season and nothing but good luck moving forward. So on that note, I appreciate you coming on the show. Thank you. It’s fun, all right. There is the one, the only Jim Mora. Thank you.

Mark Pattison YouTube Channel


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