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NFL coach says real miracle didn’t happen in Music City

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Tennessee Titans Special Teams Coach Alan Lowry said he gets goose bumps every time he sees a replay of the “Music City Miracle.”

However, Lowry said the play, which led to a Titans victory in the final 16 seconds of a January 2000 AFC Wild Card Playoff game against the Buffalo Bills, was the result of perseverance, preparedness and practice, not a miracle.

“But the play has given me more opportunity just like this to tell people about the real miracle in my life, and that’s the miracle of what Jesus Christ has done fore me.”

He spoke to more than 100 LifeWay Christian Store managers and managers-in-training attending annual meetings in Nashville May 6-10.

Lowry, who grew up in a Christian home, said while playing college football at the University of Texas, he thought he had “everything under control.”

He played quarterback and defensive back for his team, he earned All-Southwest Conference honors and he was drafted to play in the National Football League.

“Then within a five-year span, I lost my father to a blood clot, I lost my chances to play for the NFL to injury, and I lost my mother to leukemia,” Lowry said. “I realized I didn’t have anything under control.”

As his mother lay dying, Lowry said she told him he needed to turn control of his life over to God and live his faith every day.

“And that’s what I did. Doing this is the only thing that can help you avoid the pitfalls and guilt. I take my faith into every aspect of my life, especially coaching.”

Like coaching a successful football team, turning out high-performance employees takes more than a miracle, Lowry said.

Four keys to a high performance team, he said, are:

— Communication. “Communication has to be from the top to the bottom and the bottom to the top. The truth has to be told and those communicating must be trustworthy.”

— Contribution. “Everyone has a role and must be responsible and accountable in that role no matter what the circumstances.”

— Chemistry. “This is the hardest ingredient to find, and it’s the hardest to build into a team.”

Not everyone has to like each other, Lowry said, but they do have to respect each other. “I tell my players to ASK themselves how they should come to work everyday.”

“A” stands for attitude, a “positive passion”; “S” stands for skills, “I ask them to improve their skills everyday”; and “K” stands for knowledge, “They must continually improve their knowledge.”

— Commitment. “We have to set goals, and everyone has to work just as hard as the next one to reach those goals.”

With these four elements, communication, contribution, chemistry and commitment, teams and employees who work together have a better chance at achieving success, Lowry said.

“But what is success?” he asked. “True success is not something achieved, but something pursued, a series of accomplishments that make your future better than your past. Success is a process; success is leadership.”

Lowry said he believes leadership is influence, and leaders can be negative as well as positive.

Lowry said positive leaders must work toward raising up other positive leaders, “because there is never a shortage of negative leaders.”

“But first, we must look at ourselves and determine what type of leader we are,” he added. “We must lead ourselves well first.”

Lowry said positive leaders should have integrity, the right priorities, vision, self-discipline, problem-solving skills and a good attitude.

“There is no real success without a successor. You have a great opportunity to influence more lives than you can ever imagine. We must develop relationships so our influence can grow.”

Lowry named three stages in which he believes influence can grow.

First, a leader must model by example. “When people perceive you as having consistency, integrity and character, then you can lead by influence.”

Second, a leader must motivate people to have a positive impact. “Nurture them by giving them love, respect, a sense of security and self worth. You can also motivate them by having faith in them.”

Believing in people is the key to motivating them, he said. Listening to them shows respect, loyalty and increases knowledge, and trying to understand them “and know where they are coming from” indicates they are somebody.

Third, a leader must multiply other leaders. “If you raise up other positive leaders, they will then raise up positive leaders, and you can ensure the success of the business you are in.”

LifeWay Christian Stores are owned and operated by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. The stores are celebrating the completion of 75 years in business and will open a 100th location this summer.
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: COACH LOWRY.

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  • Terri Lackey