The Surprising Meeting that Changed a Championship Program Forever

If you had to guess which class turned around the culture of an up and coming NCAA baseball program, which would you guess? The easy guess is the seniors because “leadership,” right? Or, maybe the seniors were the problem, so one might say the next highest upperclassmen, the juniors, did. 

Both are incorrect. 

It was the 2005 season and the University of San Diego was holed up in a modest hotel in College Station, Texas. We were bumbling through an average season with a Top 25 national ranking when a team meeting was called. Sophomore, Keoni Ruth, demanded all thirty players would meet on a Friday night. No coaches were notified.

As we piled into two conjoining rooms, we hashed out the obvious. We wanted to be national champions, we weren’t acting like it, and leadership was needed. Without getting into the details, the team perception of the meaning of leadership shifted that night from a top down leadership dynamic to a peer-driven leadership dynamic. No longer did age or the stat sheet determine who a leader was. Our performance responsibilities would no longer be outsourced to the coaching staff because we were responsible now.

The truth is a small group of motivated freshman and sophomores changed that culture. 

By that Sunday, we went home having won the Domino’s Pizza Classic at Texas A&M. Two years later we’d be ranked fourth in the country and that transformation didn’t come from anyone with the permission or “authority” to do it. It came from a few passionate, albeit underqualified, teammates who wouldn’t tolerate anything but a team behaving like champions. 

If you remember nothing from this story, remember this: leadership is a choice.

That’s good news, isn’t it? Afterall, I’ve never observed a scenario where less leadership was needed. 

Have you?

10/7/22 WOD


Barbell RDL’s

Complete 3 rounds for quality of:

12 Front Rack KB Heel Elevated Squats
12 Body Saws

Then complete the following for reps:

15 Dumbbell Bent Over Rows
10 Push-Ups

10 Inverted Rows
8 Push-Ups

5 Dumbbell Bent Over Rows
6 Push-Ups

Max Renegade Rows (40/25)


Build to a heavy 3-Position Clean.. 

Complete 3 rounds for quality of:

4 Clean Pulls
6 Manual Resisted Clam Shells (ea)
16 Alt DB Pull Throughs

Then, complete the following for time:

500m Row
At 5 minutes, AMRAP 10

30 Alt Goblet Reverse Lunges (50/35)
60 Double Unders

**Students record two scores: 500m row time & AMRAP rounds