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Zook in the Offseason

Piggy-backing off of my post from yesterday about college coaches and their offseason activities, it seems Illinois coach Ron Zook has found an interesting way around the "Saban Rule" that prevents college coaches from having any contact with high school players during the spring evaluation period. He's decided to become a motivational speaker .

Desire, dedication, determination and discipline were words preached to the West Scranton student body on Friday afternoon.

With his booming voice captivating the audience, University of Illinois head football coach Ron Zook gave an impassioned speech to the teens, encouraging them to strive for success.

It was the fifth high school that Zook, the 2007 Big Ten Coach of the Year, has spoken to this spring on a tour that aims to keep students in school, while staying away from the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

Why would a coach from Illinois have interest in talking to kids in little old Scranton, PA? Maybe it has something to do with the fact uber-offensive line recruit Eric Shrive goes there  and was undoubtedly sitting in the audience. So if Zook can't get one-on-one time with Shrive, he's apparently going to assemble the entire student body to enlighten them with such wisdom as...

"It’s all about striving for success," Zook said before taking the podium in the West Scranton auditorium. "How do you be successful? Well, everyone’s idea of success is different. Is it having a lot of money? Is it having a nice car? To me success equals being happy. It’s all about what makes you happy.

"But to be successful you have to do certain things. You have to have personal goals and you have to work at achieving those goals."

That is friggin' deep, man. Give me more.

"You hear it all the time, the kids hear speeches on the dangers of drugs and alcohol and they walk away thinking, well, that’s not going to happen to me," Zook said. "If I can make some people think about success and go down the right path, rather than the wrong path, it’s worth it."

During his speech, Zook asked the students to take out an index card and write down what each thinks success is. He also encouraged them to write down what they must do to be successful and reach their goals.

And he asked that they carry it with them, and refer to it whenever fatigue sets in.

Wow. Mind. Blown.

Listen kids. Do what Uncle Ronnie tells you, or else you may end up living in a van down by the river.


Ron Zook speaking to troubled teens.