Article By: MC1 Grant P. Ammon
Legendary NFL Hall of Famer and former Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Roger Staubach tosses a ball to a select NPS Student at the conclusion of his lecture on Oct. 5. Staubach spoke to NPS students, staff and faculty as part of the Secretary of the Navy Guest Lecture Series. (U.S. Navy photo by Javier Chagoya/Released.)
Legendary NFL Hall of Famer and former Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Roger Staubach walked an enthusiastic audience down memory lane, Oct. 5, as he shared his life experiences and leadership lessons with Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) students, faculty and staff as part of the Secretary of the Navy’s Guest Lecture Series (SGL) on the university campus.
The Hall of Fame quarterback discussed everything from serving as a naval officer during the Vietnam War to succeeding at international business ventures, and noted one specific attribute of successful individuals on and off the gridiron.
“I learned about the value of teamwork while studying and playing football at the Naval Academy,” said Staubach. “When you have the right people in the right places working together as team, miracles will happen.”
Students listened intently as Staubach spun comical yarns about days spent in championship huddles and multi-million dollar business deals. The NFL veteran effortlessly wove humorous anecdotes with meaningful bits of sage advice gained from a lifetime of experience in the military, professional athletics and the business world.
“In this life you have to maintain a certain balance to succeed,” he said. “It’s easy to go through life always thinking about yourself, but the real challenge is trying to put yourself in other’s people’s shoes. It’s the balance between giving and taking that sets winners apart.”
The assembly of professors and military members were also reminded of the value of commitment, a strong work ethic, and were challenged to go the extra mile in all endeavors.
“I’ve learned there are never any traffics jams on the extra mile,” Staubach quipped. “Those in life that really put forth the extra effort, and are tenacious in all their affairs will succeed. How you deal with adversity, reveals true genius. How you deal with prosperity conceals it.”
Pulling from his Vietnam War experience, Staubach evocatively spoke to an audience comprised primarily of U.S. and foreign military officers of the grave responsibilities and importance of service in the military.
“I have the distinct honor of speaking to students that are in the midst of doing great things for this country,” said Staubach. “While serving in the military I learned a lot of things; most importantly the fact that you, as military officers, are in roles that [put] other people’s lives at stake.”
Staubach also noted the caliber of students and education provided at NPS. “It’s a real privilege for me to speak here at NPS,” he said. “The amount of responsibility that rests in this room is enormous, and the research that goes on here is going to save lives.
One student attending the conference found common ground with the hall-of-famer, and drew particular significance from his words.
“Mr. Staubach’s presentation was very interesting,” said Marine Corps Captain Robert Spall, a national security studies student at NPS. “It’s always nice to hear a fellow Naval Academy alumnus speak. It was good how he tied teamwork in with both the military and real-life.”
In the business world and professional athletics Staubach achieved unparalleled success, and in his closing remarks at NPS, he shared another piece of erudite advice with the crowd.
“Life is a series of mortar attacks, and you just have to deal with it,” he said. “The sooner you learn how to face adversity as part of a team, the sooner you will be on the track to success both on and off the field.”
The lecture concluded with a light-hearted demonstration of skills as Staubach tossed three autographed footballs to select students in the crowd. As well as being an NFL legend, Staubach started and owned a multi-billion dollar real estate company, and is the recipient of many humanitarian awards.
Secretary of the Navy Guest Lectures are an ongoing series of professional presentations to help students and faculty link their study, teaching and research efforts to the defense needs of the nation, and to expose the Naval Postgraduate School community to some of the nation’s top leaders and by high-level authorities in variety of fields and disciplines. The lectures are scheduled at regular intervals throughout the year.