Every day at Almo Pro A/V, a major part of my job is being a “coach” to the team here by setting goals and helping us to achieve them. What some of you might not know is that I’m also a real volunteer athletics coach at Johns Hopkins University.
Swimming has always been a passion for me throughout my life, whether it was competing in college, being a summer league coach, watching my three children compete, or swimming at Masters’ nationals.
I was very fortunate 5 years ago to be invited to be a volunteer swim coach at my alma mater, Johns Hopkins University. George Kennedy, a great coach and a close friend, is entering his 30th year of coaching at JHU. He and I used to have a lunch after the end each season and he would fill me in on how the team did at the NCAA championships. During one of these lunches I told him that I had always had a dream to retire early and come back to Hopkins as an assistant coach.
At that time my old company, was just about to go out of business, which ultimately ended any hopes of an early retirement. George said that he would be happy to have me on deck as a volunteer and that I could come in one day a week or more if I wanted. I told George jokingly that I would agree to this offer as long as he would agree to double my salary each year (which is $0). George has lived up to his side of the bargain!
I really look forward to Saturday mornings which is the primary time that I coach. I also coach at the early Monday morning practices. Being on deck at 6 am is a little too early for me, but don’t let the swimmers know that. Sometimes I will run the entire practice for the entire team, but for the past few years George has had me primarily working with our distance swimmers.
The first year I coached our team our men finished 11th in the country and our women finished 21st. George and I spent a lot of time in the hospitality tent that year, because we didn’t have hardly any swimmers in the finals. We made a pact to get both teams on the podium within a few years. The top 4 teams get honored with a podium finish.
This past year we hit our goal as our women finished 3rd in the country which is the highest finish for our women ever in our program’s history and our men finished 4th. George, our head coach, and Nikki, has been the assistant coach for the past two years have done a great job bringing in quality swimmers and getting them to swim fast when it counts. We have our strongest recruiting class ever coming in next year with 15 outstanding men and women. So the future is bright for Hopkins Swimming.
The lesson learned here is that if you are content to eat donuts in the hospitality tent, then don’t set goals. However, if you want to be in the action, set goals and put a plan in place to achieve those goals. It is much more rewarding to be receiving an award on a podium than eating the donut- trust me!
When we started Almo Pro A/V five years ago, we had no sales, no vendors but a dedicated team of 22 professionals with a vision. We just finished our fiscal year with $200 million in sales! We set our goals and made a plan to achieve them.
In my next blog I am going to talk about what the college kids taught me. My final blog on my other “job” will be about #36. Most of you probably don’t know what that means so stay tuned.