Students urged to ‘never give up’

Published 5:00 am Thursday, September 17, 2009

When Mike Weinar, the special assistant to Dallas Mavericks HeadCoach Rick Carlisle, goes to bed at night, all he has to do is lookup to see the inspirational words that hang above his bed … wordsmade famous by late North Carolina State University Head CoachJimmy Valvano.

“Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.”

Weinar, 25, told a group of high school senior boys atCopiah-Lincoln Community College Wednesday that it was those wordsand a strong work ethic that put him in the position to be theright-hand man to the leader of a team that includes such playersas Josh Howard, Jason Kidd and Mississippi phenom Eric Dampier.

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“Whatever you choose to do, whether it’s here in Wesson, Miss.,or worldwide somewhere, just remember that,” he told them. “Don’tever give up.”

Weimar, who went to the University of Florida where he workedclosely with the basketball team as a trainer, said he actually wasmore of a baseball player growing up.

“But I was more into basketball,” he said. “I’ve got family fromKentucky and Indiana.”

The presentation was a part of Co-Lin’s “The ONE” program, whichencourages young men to pursue non-traditional career options.

“Don’t tell me learning computer programs isn’t a manly thing,”Weimar told the young men, adding that the employee who runs thestrategic statistics numbers for the Mavericks makes $300,000 peryear.

“For that, are you telling me you can’t use statistics andExcel?” he said, laughing.

He gave the group some other pointers for success as well,telling them that, “it’s not who you know, but who knows you.” Hesaid the way he got his position with Carlisle just eight daysafter he finished graduate school was that his work ethic precededhim with the coaches.

“It was my reputation for being a hard worker that allowed(University of Florida) Coach (Billy) Donovan and Coach Carlisle towork for them,” he said. “That’s the only reason I’m standinghere.”

Confidence is also key in success, he told the group. Being ableto confidently interact with people and prepare for pressuresituations puts you a head above the competition.

“I’m not the smartest guy, and I’m certainly not thebest-looking guy, but I have confidence in what I can do,” hesaid.

The voices that influence a decision can play a key role insuccess as well, Weinar said, as does making a lasting and positiveimpression.

“Everybody notices. Everything counts,” he said. “Yourreputation is the most important thing you have.”

And positive role models can help show the way to success aswell, Weinar said.

“Success leaves footprints. If I’m on the road to success, I’mfollowing others,” he said. “You have to find those footprints andfollow them.”

Nobody can find true success alone, Weinar told the group. Thatis why school leaders, parents, coaches, church officials and otheradvisers are all around to offer advice and guidance.

“Improvement and advancement do not exist in isolation,” hesaid. “There are people here to help you – (Co-Lin CollegePresident) Dr. (Ronnie) Nettles and everyone – they’re here to helpyou.”