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COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Wednesday morning, the Texas A&M Athletics Department held its first monthly all department staff meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic rearranged life as we know it. Led by Athletic Director Ross Bjork, the event occurred virtually with Dr. Rick Rigsby as the featured speaker
“Fear is a reaction. Courage is a choice,” said Rigsby quoting Winston Churchill in his opening statement addressing Texas A&M Athletic Staff.
Almost 300 employees logged in to hear an update on the status of the department and to hear Dr. Rigsby speak about the power of hope during these uncertain times. Rigsby served 14-years as a professor at Texas A&M and was also character coach and chaplain for members of the Aggie football team.
Citing a conversation with longtime athletic department employee Alan Cannon, he reminded the group that “athletics is the front porch of this great house.” In expanding his message, Rigsby said “this means a lot of people are watching you: faculty, staff, support staff, athletes and colleagues from other institutions.”
Rigsby challenged the staff to see all members of the department as leaders. “If you are a leader, there are certain behaviors you must exhibit: act with perspective, speak with clarity, and be the model of hope.”
“Hope is more powerful than a strategy. Hope is a virtue,” Rigsby said, expanding on the theme of his message. He continued by reminding staff that in times of uncertainty, individuals look for clarity as to how the athletic department will respond in times of challenge.
“The message from Dr. Rigsby was timely and on-point, thoughts we needed to hear as a reminder of the importance of all we do in serving our student athletes and each other,” said Texas A&M Athletic Director Ross Bjork. “We have a direction and are assessing every day what needs to be done in preparation for any number of outcomes. His perspective on hope was especially important because of his long-time affiliation with Texas A&M. Having a member of the family speak with us was powerful.”
Rigsby was twice named “Outstanding Professor” in the College of Liberal Arts at Texas A&M and is a world-renowned motivational speaker and author.
“In this tough time, struggles can produce growth,” Rigsby stated as he encouraged staff to use this rare pause in our everyday life to fine-tune a skill that will make you a better leader. His message concluded by reminding staff of the importance of being shepherds and role models during this unprecedented event, asking staff the question, “what will your masterpiece be during this time?” He stressed that character and hope must be the driving force of all you do as leaders at Texas A&M. “Make writing your letter of recommendation easy. Make writing your eulogy impossible.”