McCandless man reveals '100 Yards' of lessons learned in book

| Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013, 9:15 p.m.

Football provides more than entertainment, recreation and exercise.

It provides leadership lessons, too.

James V. Earle, 47, of McCandless, reveals 100 such lessons in his new book, released last month by Tate Publishing and Enterprises LLC. “100 Yards of Success: Leadership Lessons from College Football” retails for $16.99.

Earle served as the assistant athletic director for football at the University of Pittsburgh for 11 years before becoming Pitt's vice chancellor for business nine years ago.

“While I was overseeing football operations, I started compiling a list of the things that college football programs do really well — things like studying the competition, building quality teams and working together toward a common goal,” he said. “These are all things that effective leaders do really well, too.”

Earle's book is filled with chalk talk on insights such as “What gets measured gets done.”

“In college football, teams measure everything — rushing yards, completed passes, touchdowns,” Earle said. “Coaches understand that when they measure things and keep statistics, players are challenged to reach certain goals. I encourage leaders to measure their priorities so they become priorities for the team, as well. This sends a message to players that it's important. It motivates them.”

Another lesson is “What is celebrated gets repeated.”

Consider how a stadium erupts in cheers after a touchdown. Such positive reinforcement keeps players striving to repeat the behavior that awarded them the corresponding results, Earle said.

In the course of 212 pages, he gives these and 98 more lessons.

“They're little things leaders can do to make their team better,” he said.

James Stossel, an investment adviser representative with Woodbury Financial Services Inc. in Ross Township who has read the book, said he sees parallels between sports and business.

“I love all types of sports, especially football,” said Stossel, 54, of McCandless.

“When I sit down to read my newspaper, I always read the sports section first. The second section I read in detail is the business section. They are very much related to one another — winning and losing, success and failure.”

Stossel recommends Earle's book, as does Chuck Knoles, head coach for Pitt's men's and women's swimming and diving teams.

“Through the journey on the ‘football field' to success, Dr. Earle presents ideas to consider each yard of the way that will help a leader center their thoughts while leading,” said Knoles, 59, of Pittsburgh's Oakland neighborhood.

“From the 1-yard line of ‘Know Thyself' to the ‘Final Yard' that leads to a touchdown in leadership, Jim not only presents cogent thoughts for leaders but also asks the reader revealing questions that will help in leadership development at any level.”

Laurie Rees is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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