No one gave Kansas a chance. Missouri believed they would blow us out of Arrowhead Stadium. It wasn't the "Armageddon at Arrowhead" we had a year ago, but the victory feels just as good as the loss felt bad in 2007.
I attended a great reception Wednesday night with the Kansas City area alumni of the University of Kansas Journalism School. I was the official host since I secured the venue, but that is all I had to do as host. The J-
school staff did the rest.
It was a great and diverse group of people of all ages who all had one very important thing in common - we are all "Jayhawk Journalists." There were newspaper and magazine people in the room; television reporters and anchors; some of my fellow marketing and public relations pros as well as Dean Ann Brill and many of the J-School faculty. Each of the faculty members took a little time to update us on their areas and what students are doing today. A lot of great work being done across all areas of the school.
I also picked up a couple of new blogs to read and pass them on to you here. Whitney Mathews is a 2006 grad from KU and is the web producer at Fox 4 News here in Kansas City. She has a very active and fun blog at MyFoxKC. Also, my good friend and associate dean at the J-School, David Guth, has ventured into the blogosphere with Snapping Turtle. What David may lack in frequency, he will more than make up for in content. I am looking forward to being a guest lecturer in David's fall class on elections. A great year to talk politics for sure.
If you have read any good blogs lately and think I should be looking at them, please pass them on.
The Kansas Jayhawks won their third NCAA national championship in men's basketball with victories over North Carolina and Memphis. It had been 20 years since my 'Hawks brought home the hardware and it was a sweet feeling indeed. For those of you who may have been in a fog on Monday night - those of us who love being in the "Phog" will always remember where we were when "The Shot" swished through the net of San Antonio's Alamodome.
In 110 years of Jayhawk basketball, there has perhaps been no shot of greater importance or timing than the three pointer that guard Mario Chalmers made with 2.1 seconds left in the game. It capped off a furious rally by the 'Hawks who found themselves nine points down with 2:12 on the clock. They had led most of the evening until Memphis took control in the mid to late second half. But this 2008 group of 'Hawks have demonstrated all year an ability to reach down and find whatever is needed to get the job done.
Mario hit the three forcing an overtime. Memphis went into shock. The Jayhawks scored the first six points of the extra stanza and the rest is history. KU wins its third NCAA title tying it with Duke and leaving it just one title behind North Carolina. It took Coach Bill Self just five seasons to win his first national championship at Kansas. It won't be his last. And it won't be his last at Kansas. Despite a media frenzy building out of Stillwater, Oklahoma from T. Boone Pickens' PR machine, I do not believe Self will leave Kansas for his alma mater, Oklahoma State. Kansas has a few rich alums too. Expect this media driven story to end soon and OSU will have to find a new head coach elsewhere.
I am unabashed in my love for the University of Kansas. It's a great university with a proud tradition of academic and athletic excellence. The 2008 men's basketball team added a new chapter to this continuing story. Their record of 37-3 is the most wins ever by a Jayhawk squad and they are national champions. Rock Chalk, Jayhawk!
I will have more later but for now I will let the Associated Press tell the story of one of the best national championship basketball games ever played. My Jayhawks have won their third national title since 1939 when the first NCAA champion was crowned. It was an incredible ride these Jayhawks took us on this year. 37 wins and three losses; a shared Big 12 regular season title; a third consecutive Big 12 conference tournament title. And after a 20 year wait, now a national championship. Here is the AP story:
Chalmers' big shot leads Kansas to first national title since 1988
Updated: April 8, 2008, 12:33 AM ET
SAN ANTONIO -- With each year, Mario Chalmers has become a better shooter from beyond the 3-point arc.
He saved his best for a night that college basketball fans will long remember.
Chalmers' 3-pointer with 2 seconds to play sent the national final into overtime, where Kansas pulled it out 75-68 over Memphis.
It's the Jayhawks' third NCAA title, and their first since 1988.
Chalmers, the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four, finished with 18 points on 5-of-13 shooting from the floor, including 2-of-6 from beyond the arc. he made all six of his free throws and had three assists.
The Jayhawks have endured countless disappointments in the NCAA tournament, and they looked like they were headed for another until Chalmers took a pass, and launched the tying shot from the top of the key.
During his career, he has gone from a 37.5 percent shooter from beyond the arc as a freshman to 40.4 percent as a sophomore and 47.6 as a junior.
After his big 3-pointer Chalmers' teammates mobbed him as he returned to the bench for a timeout. At the other end, the Tigers walked off the floor with their heads bowed.
The game was still tied, but it felt as if Chalmers had won it.
Chalmers also did some good work on the defensive end. Among the nation's steal leaders all season, Chalmers had four. That was the most among the Jayhawks on a night they totalted 11 steals and took the high-scoring Tigers out of their comfort zone on offense.
At times, Chalmers seemed to be everywhere -- pestering the Tigers on defense and then slicing into the lane at the other end of the floor, only to find an open teammate.
When it ended, he was in the best place of all -- on a podium at center court, hoisting a national championship trophy with his teammates.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
Sunday, I had the privilege of making remarks at the December graduation ceremonies for the William Allen White School of Journalism & Mass Communications at KU. Dean Ann Brill asked me earlier this year if I could make it and I enthusiastically said yes. Following a very warm introduction by Professor Bob Basow, here is the brief speech I made to the 60 graduates plus their families, friends and faculty gathered in Woodruff Auditorium at the Student Union on the University of Kansas campus in Lawrence.
2007 William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications
December Commencement Address
December 9, 2007
Woodruff Auditorium at the Student Union
University of Kansas
Professor Basow – “Bob”
Dean Ann Brill
Distinguished faculty of the Journalism School
Parents, family and friends of the graduates
And most importantly – the graduates.
To say it is an honor to be standing here today is an understatement for me. I have always been a Jayhawk. And in the 8th grade I decided I wanted to be a broadcast journalist.
So attending the University of Kansas was a foregone conclusion, especially when I realized I would have the opportunity to attend the best Journalism School in the country. There may be others that lay claim to that – but I truly believe it and here’s why.
Today you are graduating from a journalism school that has never simply focused on theory and philosophy. There is plenty of that taught here as it needs to be. But what you have gained from attending KU and the William Allen White School of Journalism is a plethora of practical applications and learnings along with the theory and philosophy.
The advantage you had by being able to apply what you are learning while still in school positions you to be successful more quickly than you might otherwise be.
And for that you have this group of people behind me on the stage to thank. This is a great faculty and you are the representation of their effort and time.
I stand before you today a product of this great school. I came in with my sights set on becoming the best broadcast journalist I could be. What I didn’t realize is that what I was really learning to do was not simply to become a reporter – but instead I was learning how to tell a good story.
I was learning how to research information – how to dig for facts. I was learning how to take those facts and pick out the ones that mattered most to people and deliver that information. Over the years, even though my jobs have changed – I still am doing those same basic things every day.
As William Allen White said once – “If the facts are fairly and honestly presented; the truth will take care of itself.” That philosophy still works today even though the communications profession has changed dramatically from his day.
That is the beauty of the world you are entering. Regardless of what you want to do first – a journalist; a marketer; a public relations professional; a webmaster; or a film maker – you are in the business of telling a good story. A story that needs to be educational; compelling; a story that will inform and perhaps move people to form opinions and even take some sort of action.
That is why I am as excited today about this wide open world of mass communications as I have ever been. And you should be too – because you are now going to help shape its future.
So what would a good graduation speech be without some advice. I have been the beneficiary of some great mentors and advisors over the years. I will try today to give you a little of what I have learned in the hope that something will resonate with you as you head out to begin your careers.
My advice today centers around some of our core philosophies that make Barkley the kind of company it is. These are philosophies that drive our business – philosophies that shape our relationships with each other and with our clients – and finally these are philosophies that form the foundation of our work.
As I thought about this talk today – it became clear to me that they also could form the building blocks for each of you to consider as you head out to begin the next chapter of your lives.
When you walk through our front door at Barkley right now, there is a telephone booth standing right in front of you. I’m wondering right now if any of you have actually made a call from a telephone booth. Next to that phone booth is a sign that espouses our core philosophy at Barkley – Every idea has an expiration date.
Think about that for a minute. By taking the attitude that ideas can expire, it forces you to keep things fresh all the time. What worked yesterday may not work today. And more importantly – what is working today may not work tomorrow. How does this apply to each of you as a new graduate?
When you land that first job – and you will land that first job – be the person who is the most curious. Be the person who is constantly staying abreast of the latest trends. Be the person who seeks out a mentor or two to learn as much as you can as quickly as you can.
In other words -- keep yourself fresh and up to date – and your thinking will be fresh and up to date. Don’t put yourself in a position where you are behind the curve or else you will be left behind in this fast paced world we live in.
My second piece of advice revolves around our brand promise to our clients. We promise our clients that our goal for them is to make them irreplaceable to their customers. It is not enough today for a brand to simply be relevant. The brands that are successful today are the ones that people cannot imagine living their lives without.
That is what you have to do when you land your first job. And Mom and Dad – they will land their first job. Be the person who volunteers to work on the extra project. Be the person who organizes the social activities at work. Be that person who is a sponge for learning the ropes of the business – who asks the extra question that everyone else in the room is afraid to ask.
It is the little things that will make you irreplaceable. Attending to the details will allow you the opportunity to be in the room to help come up with the big ideas that can make a difference.
My final piece of advice is to always give something back to the community around you. As Bob mentioned, we are big into cause branding at Barkley. I’m proud of the work we are doing because it is more than simply selling another product. We are helping to educate, inform and raise money for important causes.
And you need to be the generation that solidifies this emerging trend of corporate and nonprofit partnerships that are not only good for them but are great for society. The beauty of giving back is that it really is up to each of us to take a small step each day to do something good for someone. It is the cumulative impact of each of our small, individual steps that turns into a stampede of giving that makes a difference. Get involved and stay involved as you walk off this campus.
So there you have it. Three pieces of advice. One --Don’t let yourself become an idea that expires.
Two -- Make yourself irreplaceable --- not only in your work – but also to your family and friends --- and
Three -- always, always be giving something back to the rest of society.
I will end with three words. Three words each of you have said many times in the last few years. And three words that tie us all together wherever we go and whatever we do as alumni of the University of Kansas. Some think it is simply a cheer. But we know different. It is our calling card.
Rock Chalk – Jayhawk.
Thank you and good luck.
Thanksgiving dinner is finished. We can turn our attention to Saturday night and the KU-MU game.
And this single play from the Kansas - Oklahoma State game two weeks ago epitomizes why the Jayhawks are 11- 0.
There is nothing more exhilarating or frustrating than being a true and faithful fan of your collegiate alma mater. And in the interest of full and fair disclosure, I have to acknowledge here at Citizen Brand that my beloved Kansas Jayhawks have fallen to the dastardly Bruins of UCLA on this very evening during the Elite Eight of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.
I have used this space to applaud and celebrate the Jayhawks' successes these past few weeks. I do believe that the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - aka March Madness - is the single greatest sporting event in America. And the University of Kansas has had more than its share of success over the years. But now we are finished for 2007. But not before this great, young team has been recognized here at CB for their accomplishments:
33 - 5 win/loss record
Big 12 Conference regular season championship
Big 12 Tournament championship
Number one seed in the NCAA Tournament
3 - 1 record in the NCAA Tournament ending in the round of the Elite Eight
All of this was accomplished without a senior on the team. It is likely this entire team will return in 2007-2008 along with at least two of the best freshman recruits available. And one of the finest coaches in the land will be back to lead them -- Bill Self.
I cannot wait for basketball practice to start in October.
Rock Chalk Jayhawk!
Thanks to my friend and fellow Jayhawk Rob Merritt for sending this along today. Even the Colbert Report is picking the 'Hawks to go all the way!