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  • Writer's picturePeter Miller

The long and distinguished leadership story of Fred Glass is well documented. He is widely credited as one of the best athletic directors in Indiana University history. In his forthcoming autobiography, he describes the importance of rooting leadership in clearly defined values. Similar to the great Packers coach Vince Lombardi, Fred’s leadership principles are closely tethered to his Jesuit education.

In this SGG episode, we discussed:

1. His initial exposure to Jesuit education: his father and Brebeuf High School.

2. Borrowing from the Jesuits as he sought to build IU athletics.

3. The messy situation that Fred walked into as AD at IU.

4. Healing the department before he could build it.

5. "Grad at grad." Characteristics that Jesuit schools want to inculcate into students as they graduate. “It’s everywhere…Every teacher has to drive these values into their students.”

6. Everything IU Athletics did was around the pillars: Play by the rules. Well in mind body and spirit. Achieve academically. Excel athletically. Be part of something bigger than ourselves – and more integrated with the university.

7. “If you are not a values-based organization, then you don’t have much of a chance to succeed.”

8. The difference between “GPS” and a “compass” to guide you. “Your value system is your compass.”

9. Fred’s “living rules:” his father, Fr. Paul O’Brian, Herman Wells.

10. “Comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.”

11. St. Francis: “Preach the gospel and use words if you have to.” And, “Seek not so much to be understood as to understand.”

12. “A lot of people are not listening so much as they are waiting to speak.”

13. Never interrupting other people.

14. “Interested is interesting.” The value of asking others questions about themselves.

15. The hardest thing about being an athletic director: firing coaches.

16. Ignatian discernment and detachment as useful tools in getting through difficult times.

17. “Take criticism seriously but not personally.” If you reflect on it and it’s accurate, then there’s a great opportunity to fix it. If you reflect on it and it’s not accurate, then who cares?”

18. “Seeing God in all things.”

19. Getting criticism – and respect -- for the positions we hold, not who we are. “You’ve got to be careful not to believe all that BS people are saying about you.”

20. “Surround yourself with people who will tell you the truth.”

21. Fred’s vocation: leadership.

22. The difference between asking “what’s next” vs “what’s at the end.” Choose what offers most opportunities downstream. And be open to the journey.


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