Brigham Young's Bronco Mendenhall shares tips

By, Gary Hamilton-Irvine

Division one American football coach Bronco Mendenhall has met with Rotorua coaches and community leaders to share his philosophies on leadership and motivation.

Mr Mendenhall has been head coach at Utah's Brigham Young University (BYU) for seven years, and his American football team has placed in the top 25 college teams in the United States for the past six years.

He mixes his coaching profession with a strong Mormon faith, with his father and grandfather having done more than 20 years of missionary work in New Zealand between them.

He came to New Zealand to learn more about his family's history here and to share with New Zealanders his outlook on being a good leader.

Mr Mendenhall was welcomed on to Apumoana Marae yesterday with a powhiri before he made a formal presentation.

"I try and teach people not to lose sight of what is important and not to be motivated just by money or a job or position, but to see purpose and achievement in ethical and spiritual growth," he said.

"If you focus on that all those other things will sort themselves out. To help people get that is the ultimate goal."

He said at BYU there was seldom talk about winning. Instead, the focus was on empowerment through purpose and education.

"I want to inspire people to reach their true potential and make it to the best versions of themselves. With that structure in place, it is amazing what can be achieved."

He said he was in Rotorua for only a short time and had stopped here because of the interest shown by coaches and because of the strong Maori culture.

"I'm very impressed by the Maori culture, the friendly people and how much you care for the planet - there is a much stronger connection with the land here compared to the States," he said.

Rotorua Boxing Club co-director Lee Edmonds said he had learned from Mr Mendenhall's philosophy.

"He said when it comes to recruiting he does not ask potential players what they can do but if they will do it."

During his 10-day trip Mr Mendenhall has toured around the North Island speaking at marae and high schools and meeting families his father and grandfather knew. He was to return to the US today.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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