This week’s blog written by Jerry Acuff, CEO & Founder.


I remember my first day of 7th grade at Sherwood Junior High in Memphis, Tennessee like it was yesterday.  That was the day I met Bud Garrett.

Coach Garrett was the coach at Sherwood and he coached baseball, basketball and football. I remember walking past this tall, imposing man and him saying to me, “Boy, you need to go out for football. Be at practice after school today.”

Now, I hadn’t played football other than throwing a ball in the front yard or in the middle of Wilshire Road where we lived, but I found myself at football practice that day and it changed my life. You see, I was already hanging with the wrong people and doing things that no 12 or 13-year-old should be doing. There was little doubt I was headed down the wrong road in life.

Bud Garrett changed all of that. He had built a winning culture in all sports at Sherwood and he was a master coach and motivator. And he believed in me. He saw things in me that I never saw in myself. He pushed me, challenged me, and he was tough, tough, tough!  But most importantly, I knew he cared. He really cared about me – as a player and a kid.  I understood he pushed me because he knew what I could do, far better than what I knew.

Over the next 3 years we never lost a football game. In fact, we were excellent in every sport he coached. His foundation of belief and discipline drove me to excel in sports, and ultimately achieve a college football scholarship. Indeed, Bud Garrett changed my life.

The moral to this story is that we all need a “Bud Garrett.” We all need to find that someone who believes in us, pushes us, challenges us, and yes, who loves us and wants us to reach a potential we are not able to see. I was so lucky that Bud Garrett found me. The truth is that he found many young men in his incredible career as a coach and principal and that’s why to this day, over 50 years later, I believe he is the greatest motivator of people I met in the first 30 years of my life.

When I speak to young people I share my Bud Garrett story and urge them to go find their own Bud Garrett.  I believe with all my heart that there is someone in your life who would love to help you succeed and who would love to help you reach your potential.

But in many cases we must seek them out. We need to find the people in our life who have experienced success and ask them to help us. They can’t help us if we don’t ask them but I know that each of us can find our own Bud Garrett.

And when you do, watch out – your life will change in ways that are hard to imagine.