Orrin Woodward LIFE Leadership Team

Winner of the 2011 Independent Association of Business Top Leader Award; Orrin Woodward shares his leadership secrets.

Muskegon Football & Launching a Leadership Revolution

Posted by Orrin Woodward on December 13, 2008

I received an inspirational message from Don Poole, one of the assistant coaches at the Muskegon High School  football team in Michigan.  I had met Don at an open meeting where I was speaking at in Grand Rapids during the summer.  Don read Chris and my #1 Wall Street Journal best selling leadership book and then introduced the book and principles to Head Coach Tony Annese.  The entire coaching staff incorporated the principles from Launching a Leadership Revolution into the culture of their team.  Here is the first email that I received from Don.  Unfortunately, with my schedule booked 30 days in advance – I could not make this speaking engagement at short notice.  I do plan on congratulating this group of young leaders in person at my first opening!


Hello Orrin,

My name is Don Poole, Mark Vanbeek is my upline.  I had the amazing opportunity to hear and meet you this past summer at the Hudsonville open. I coach football at Muskegon High School.  After reading your leadership book, I let my head coach, Tony Annese read it.  He loved it and read it 3 times, we then developed a leadership class based on the book to inspire some young leaders.  In Hudsonville you offered to speak to our team if we made it to the finals. Well this past weekend we beat Lowell (#4 in the nation) and now we face Davidson in the semi-finals.  I feel very confident that if our young leaders show up and play the way they have all year we will be at Ford Field house on Nov. 28th 1:00 pm.  I am just wondering if your offer still stands, and hoping it could work out for you to talk to the team the day of or the night before. If you might be available to speak to our team I can give more concrete places and times.  We usually spend the night before the game some place near Flint. Thank you in advance for your time, wisdom and inspiration that you have given Tony Annese, our team, and lastly myself.


    Don Poole


They generated a study guide from the book and many of the young leaders volunteered to go through the book study to improve their leadership.  The results were phenomenal! The goal of any leadership team is to create a Culture of Excellence.  Muskegon has created this Culture of Excellence through Tony Annese’s leadership!  They started as an unranked team of mostly underclassmen and finished number one in the state of Michigan in their division.  This is an exciting testimonial to the power of leadership in a persons or teams life.  Here is Don’s description of the playoffs. 


A little update about our season.  We were playing Davidson for the semi-final game at Michigan State University.  As I had stated previously if Muskegon showed up and played the way we had against Rockford(Div 1 State Champs) or Lowell (Ranked #1 in the state, top 25 in many national polls) Davidson would be little challenge for us.  Well on that Saturday Nov.22 our kids showed up but just had a combination of adversity, bad luck, poor performance, needless to say we had 6 turnovers, 3 unforced.  The score was 35-19 with 4:30 left to play, our kids were upset and discouraged, nothing was going our way, Davidson was driving on our 20yd line with a 1st down.  Our kids, not wanting their dream to end fought hard and stopped Davidson and got the ball back with about 4 minutes.  On The first play we hit a big pass play 78 yd touchdown.  Now we needed a 2pt conversion, it failed stopped by an 1 inch. 35-25 with 3 minutes left.  We went for an onside kick and got it( we do this every week in practice and only have gotten 1 in about 40 attempts).  Then we went down and scored again, needing an extra point to make it a three point game we missed it score now is 35-31.  Now we had the impossible task of kicking another onside kick, get it and score with less than 2 minutes and no timeouts.  Our kids not wanting to let their dream and season end lined up, knowing this was our only shot.  The kick was bad wasn’t going ten yards but a Davidson player not seeing tried to block our player and the ball hit him in the back and we recovered it. Then with no time outs we went down and scored with 43 seconds remaining. Davidson got the ball back and moved it to our 40yd line then we intercepted it in the end zone on a hail mary to preserve the win. 

We went on to Ford Field and faced Warren Delasalle, Catholic league Champions, 13-0.  We played great and with 3 minutes left the score was 34-7, they scored against our 2’s & 3’s making the final 34-14.  Muskegon is Div. 2 state champions, #25 in USA Today paper, Top 5 in many national prep polls. The cycle of achievement was a part of our success along with some of the leadership lesson’s from Chris and your book.  Thanks again and Maybe something in the future will work for an opportunity to speak to the team.
Don Poole


This has the makings of a movie with the Dream, Struggle and Victory all included.  That is what life is about, getting a big worthwhile dream and spending the rest of your life chasing it.  You will have setbacks, naysayers, fans, coaches, mentors, and heartaches, but you must finish anyway.  With or without the dream, you will have the struggles, but with a dream, you will know that you did something worthwhile to help others.  I salute the Muskegon High School football team from head coach Tony Annese on down for their Dreams, Struggles and Victories.  Take the lesson learned here and apply them to all areas of your life for the rest of your life.  God Bless, Orrin Woodward


Are you applying the principles from Launching a Leadership Revolution in your life so you can launch your revolution?

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