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Billick to speak on leadership concepts at Chesapeake’s Hall of Fame induction
Former Ravens coach is strong believer in servant leadership

WYE MILLS – Brian Billick, who coached the Baltimore Ravens to their only Super Bowl championship, readily admits his leadership concepts can sometimes seem foreign to young, emerging leaders.

"At one time leadership was about having all the answers," said Billick, who is the featured speaker at the Chesapeake College Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Dinner on October 19th. "Today, the best leaders grasp the idea that their job is to serve the people they work with – it’s not about me; it’s about them. That’s a tough one for young people who want to distinguish themselves to understand. Servant leadership is making it about someone else and not about you – and that goes contrary to human nature."

Dr. Barbara Viniar, Chesapeake College’s president, said Billick’s interest in servant leadership is one reason she was so interested in obtaining him as Hall of Fame guest speaker.

"Obviously, Coach Billick is well-known and well-respected for his accomplishments with the Ravens," said Dr. Viniar. "I was especially intrigued about the possibility of Coach Billick speaking at our dinner so that our student athletes could be exposed to the concept of servant-leadership. I think hearing about the concept from someone known for his leadership abilities will be of great value to our students."

Frank Szymanski, Chesapeake’s athletic director and head baseball coach, agreed.

"We have a tradition of inviting our sophomore student athletes to the dinner so they hear directly from our inductees – individuals who were once in their shoes and are now being honored for their accomplishments," said Szymanski. "Coach Billick’s involvement provides our students, staff, community members and Hall of Famers with a rare opportunity to hear from an accomplished leader. I especially appreciate Coach Billick taking the time to be at our dinner during football season when he is busy with varied responsibilities."

Billick left the Ravens in 2007, but now calls the Eastern Shore home.

"When we moved to Baltimore we fell in love with the Chesapeake," recalled Billick. "We would spend weekends on the boat. We fell in love with the Shore and decided that’s where we wanted to settle."

Super Bowl-winning coaches are a rare commodity, but Billick has chosen to remain in television work with Fox and the NFL Network as well as maintaining a significant online presence with both networks rather than returning to coaching.

"I do enjoy the TV work – talking to coaches, players, general managers, owners," said Billick. "It’s very fascinating – it’s allowed me to take the blinders off that you have on when you’re an NFL coach. I have no doubt if I went back into coaching that I would be a better coach because of this experience."

Billick said the coaching market isn’t what it used to be.

"I’m only half-joking when I tell people they (general managers) are looking for young and cheap – and I’m neither," he said with a laugh.

Billick said he promised himself not to become a coaching lifer.

"As I grew up into the profession and watched others transition, I always promised myself I wouldn’t be one of those people who continue to coach because I couldn’t think of something else to do," said Billick. "That job is so challenging that if you’re not ’all-in’, you end up cheating yourself and the team."

While he is very comfortable in television work, Billick has fond memories of his nine seasons with the Ravens.

"It was a great experience, coming back to Baltimore at a unique time," said Billick, who was hired as the Ravens’ second head coach four seasons after they came to Baltimore from Cleveland. "Baltimore had been without football for 13 years and the Ravens organization was re-establishing the link with the NFL. It was great to see Baltimore embrace the Ravens like they did."

Billick said the Super Bowl championship was particularly special "because it was so unexpected."

"It was just our second year and people weren’t pegging us as Super Bowl champions," recalled Billick. "We found out as we progressed through the season that the defense was special – historically special.

"People forget we had a four-game losing streak that season," added Billick, who had an 80-64 regular-season record with the Ravens as well as a 5-3 playoff mark. "And I firmly believe we wouldn’t have won the Super Bowl without that losing streak, where we learned to stick together as a team."

Tickets for the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony are $75, which includes entry into the 6 p.m. social, the dinner and the induction ceremony. Tickets may be reserved by contacting Barbara Smith (410-827-5843, or bsmith@chesapeake.edu). Checks, payable to Chesapeake College with "Hall of Fame" on the notation line, may be mailed to: Chesapeake College, c/o Barbara Smith, P.O. Box 8, Wye Mills, MD 21679.

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