July 14, 2009
“You measure a man not by the depth of his pockets…you measure a man by the depth of his soul.”—Mike Minter
Mike Minter, former Carolina Panther, Businessman, and Philanthropist has added Head of Football Operations at First Assembly Christian School in Concord, NC to his expansive resume. In this position, Mr. Minter works with middle school students to “not just teach them the game of football, but, also how to be great people.”
Mike Minter concerning his football camp for ages 7-14 and much more:
Cheryl Curtis: For those who may be unfamiliar with “The Student Athlete’s Equation: A Formula for Excellence in Attitude, Academics, and Athletics” that took place in June, and, has upcoming dates in July, briefly give an overview of the program’s goals, objectives, and intended outcomes.
Mike Minter: The camp is not just geared towards the physical ability of the student athlete. It adds the life skills element—the academics and the attitude. It is too late to try to introduce the life skills element when an athlete goes pro. You have already given him/her the money. It’s too late when a student goes off to college. College students have too much going on and too many adjustments for you to try to introduce life skills to them at that time. This camp teaches middle school students that athletics, academics, and attitude are all connected. There is no separation of the three. You are your brand. Here is an opportunity to begin to work on your brand.
CC: Your book, “Driven by Purpose… The Power of a Dream” is about tackling destiny, doing the right thing, and trusting God. What is your advice for combating the allegory of the cave? In other words, you inspire, you motivate, however, students go right back into those situations that reinforce failure and lack of opportunity. Do you have any thoughts or advice concerning that?
MM: It doesn’t matter your situation. It doesn’t matter where you live. The dream, your dream, is the power. You have to live in your dream. You have to live beyond your situation. Your situation does not dictate your purpose. There has to be a distinction between what you want and what you are purposed to do. If you are not purposed to do something, you are not driven to do it. Your purpose will drive you.
CC: What about the youths that don’t seem to have any dreams?
MM: Those youths may not have a dream because of fear. Fear snatches your dreams away. Fear can cause stunting of growth. Fear is caused by thinking you can’t. We have to ask youth, “What is it that you love to do? It doesn’t matter if their dreams are not gigantic. Whatever your deal is, let’s get into it and fulfill it. Nobody outside of you can fulfill that purpose for you. We can open eyes and we can open doors, but, nobody can give that purpose to you. You’ve got to work. You’ve got to go get it.”
CC: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ budget is a hot topic of discussion. What are your feelings towards the possible cutting of all athletic programs at the middle school level?
MM: It’s crazy. Athletics teach competition. In the real world and especially in capitalism, you have to be able to compete. A lot of times, kids are taught that everyone is a winner—not true. You have to work if you want to win. You might be smart but, being smart is not enough. Additionally, if you take away athletics you take away some students’ motivation to work out, stay healthy, and to dream. Without athletics you will probably lose 50 percent of the competition that develops the hunger to be better. Also, if you eliminate athletics, you send the message that the half that participates in athletics is not needed. We, society, tend to throw everything out that doesn’t fit us.
CC: Society seems to follow sports and athletes very closely. What, in your opinion, is something that could serve as a catalyst to involve society a little more in the education of our children?
MM: We have got to change the mindset of people, particularly the younger generation, who think it’s cool not to know. Knowing and being smart doesn’t make you a sellout.
CC: You are an athlete, philanthropist, and businessman. People think they know you based upon what they read in the media. In your own words, describe Mike Minter—the man.
MM: Mike Minter is a motivated person who wants to bring out the best in people. People are my passion. I’m not perfect and I don’t have it all together. I sometimes make bad decisions, but, it is just part of the learning curve as I try to figure it out just like everybody else.
CC: Who do you admire? Who inspires you?
MM: My mom was as an inspiration--being into everything that I did. I admire Jerry Richardson, Carolina Panthers owner and founder and Tom Osborne, my college coach in Nebraska. I also admire and am inspired by Pastor Bradley Price—his flaws as a man do not define him—God defines him.
CC: What advice do you give to a student who wants to follow in your footsteps?
MM: You have to be disciplined, you have to be dedicated, and you have to have determination.
To learn more about Mike Minter and his upcoming projects, visit his website www.mikeminter.com