"Make the Dreams of Others Come True."
That's how I've often described my job and what a privilege it has been. As I announce my retirement, effective October, 23, 2017, I'm overwhelmed with gratitude. I'm grateful to my wife and family who allowed me to focus my professional life on college sports—the "toy store" of life.
I'm grateful for the great universities, especially Pacific and Stanford, that have nurtured my dual passions for high level sport and rigorous intellectual achievement. American universities are the envy of the world and also unique in fostering a connection between high achievement in academics and sport. "Mens sana in corpore sano"—a sound mind in a sound body—is a principle I have always followed.
I'm grateful for the great bosses I've had. The Board chairs, presidents and provosts who have been willing to put up with my passions and idiosyncrasies (a nice way of saying that I know I can be a pain in the rear). A special shout out to Pacific President Pam Eibeck, who has been especially kind to me and my family.
I'm grateful for the friendship and fellowship I've been granted from scores of talented, passionate coaches. There are few higher compliments than being called Coach.
I'm grateful for the trainers, doctors, equipment managers, office staff, academic support, eligibility coordinators, pep bands, dance teams, strength training staff and assistant and associate athletic directors I have been honored to serve with. They are always the "team" behind our teams.
I'm grateful for having had the privilege of working on a college campus for more than 47 years and for the help I've received from fellow faculty and administrators throughout the campuses. A campus is a great place to go every day!
I'm grateful for the thousands of fans and donors who rooted for and supported our athletes through thick and thin: the Eberhardt, Spanos, Lagorio/Janssen, Paulsen, Klein and Corkern families, and many others too numerous to note here. I trust they carry the knowledge that the whole intercollegiate athletic endeavor couldn't exist without their support.
I'm grateful for the wonderful student athletes, talented and striving, celebrating victory and suffering through defeat, who have kept me young and filled my heart with joy.
I'm grateful for thousands of individuals who have boosted me along the way, and three Tigers in particular:
- Dr. Glen Albaugh, who taught me that intellectual rigor was hard work but could be fun;
- Dr. Libby Matson, who left me with the memorable line, "You know, Mr. Leland, you don't have to be a knucklehead all your life."; and
- Coach Chester Caddas, who saw some small potential in a "hippy football player" and nurtured it, as he did for so many.
And finally, I'm grateful that I've found the right time to retire. I was recently reminded of this quote from George Bernard Shaw:
"Life is no "brief candle" to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations."
To the Tiger family, DREAM ON.