Grant Teaff Statue on the "I Believe” walkway to McLane Stadium - Photograph ©Robert Rogers/Baylor University

Lost Then Found

Rediscovering the Motivational Speech that Helped Shape my Life.

By Philip Warbasse

It was the Summer of 1980, and I had just turned twelve years old. In the early evenings, my brothers and I would play football in our front yard while waiting for our Dad to return home from work. When he arrived, he would always throw the ball with us for a while before going inside to greet my Mom and change out of his work clothes - until one night. It was the end of July, and it was hot outside. Our Dad pulled into the carport at around half-past-six like usual, but he did not want to throw the ball. Instead, he said, "boys, come inside, I have something I want you to hear." 

Weaving our way through the house to our parent's bedroom; my brothers and I sat together with our Mom on the bed while my Dad stood by the dresser, prepared to play a cassette tape that he had received at work. "I heard this tape in a meeting today, and I want you to listen to it," he said anxiously. My Dad coached my brothers and me in both basketball and football. Out of all the things he taught us, discipline and motivation were the two most important to him. As he got ready to press play on the cassette player, he said, "I hope you enjoy this as much as I did."

The tape featured Baylor University head football coach ('72-'92) Grant Teaff speaking at a coaches clinic on the topic of self-motivation in 1976. It began with the introduction of coach Teaff. As the coach began to speak, the sound of his West Texas accent exuded a genuine authenticity. "Let me make it very, very clear to you at the outset that I'm not an expert in anything," he said. Coach Teaff's humility got my attention, and for the next ninety minutes, I sat quietly and listened to each story and piece of advice shared by him.

At twelve I was the perfect age for the words in coach Teaff's speech to make a lasting impression, and over the years I found myself listening to them often. Through high school and college, I referred to my copy of the tape in times of doubt, when my confidence needed a boost, or when I was feeling down. I credit coach Teaff's wisdom with helping me through some tough times, but also with helping to shape many of my most core beliefs. My ideas on loyalty, motivation, self-belief, and service to others are all heavily reinforced by coach Teaff's message. But, sometime in the early 1990s, I lost the tape.

During the nearly thirty years without it, I often wondered where the tape could have gone. On occasion, I would scour the Internet hoping to find another copy to no avail. Then about a month ago, while searching through an old storage locker, I found it. The once white plastic case had turned light yellow, and one of the reels did not spin well any longer. But for the first time in decades, I was holding the tape that had helped shape my young life.

"...and I say to you, whatever you do, wherever you go, in this profession or whatever you involve yourself in, be a self-motivator. Never give up and never quit."
- Coach Grant Teaff

Listening to the tape again after all these years brings back a lot of fond memories. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that parts of the tape are even more meaningful to me now that I am an adult. "I want to say something men. I believe with all my heart that Man's relationship to God is the most important human involvement. Hey, I'm not a preacher, I'm just a simple old football coach who's telling you that I believe that Man's relationship to God is the most important thing in life," said coach Teaff in an unscripted moment.

Rediscovering this tape has inspired me to preserve and share it with others who may want to hear coach Teaff's speech for themselves. I have digitized the tape and converted the files for compatibility with HTML audio players. After creating a fun animation to bring back the "old school" feel of cassette tapes I am honored to introduce Coach Teaff on the subject of self-motivation. Ladies and Gentlemen, here's coach Teaff.

Special Thanks to My Father - Jim Warbasse, Coach Grant Teaff, Lori Fogleman, Baylor University, and all the fine designers and developers at Warbasse Design.

Listen to the Speech

Self-Motivation - Grant Teaff 1976

Click the PLAY button to listen to Side 2.

Coaches Clinic Featuring Grant Teaff on Self-Motivation 1976

Side 1: The "Ear" of the Beholder, Brother Ely Jones, Loyalty (The Story of Bill Young), What is the Key to Motivation?, 5 Types of Motivation and the Story of Old Ringer, Self-Motivation (The Story of Bobby Menchaca).

Side 2: Basic Needs of Man, Keys to Self-Motivation, Positive Approach to Life, "I Am One", The Most Important Thing in Life, Developing Belief, The "I Believe" Kids, You're Important!, Do You Really Care?, Walk onto the Field, Write Down Your Goals, Never Give Up (The Story of Neal Jeffrey).

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Reader Comments

Discover what people are saying about this article.

“I enjoyed hearing Coach Teaff speak! A unique look behind the scenes. I can see why the tape means so much to you. I have played it several times and will listen to it again. Thanks for sharing!”

“Wow, this tape is incredible. I've heard Grant Teaff speak before and I've heard some of these stories before, but I never heard the one about his assistant. coach, Loyalty! Can't live without it. Very heartfelt stuff!"

“My Nephew attended Baylor right after Grant Teaff retired. Baylor was a wonderful experience for him. I will make sure to share this recording with him. Thank You!”

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