Purcell Offers Life and Business Lessons from Football to Broadcasting

As a longtime Texas rancher and high school football coaching legend, Ken Purcell knows how to win and inspire teams.

Purcell’s 40-year career in Texas high school athletics earned him nine championship rings, athletic director hall of honor recognition and a Fox Sports TV commentator slot for local Friday night football games.

In his opening remarks as Trailways annual meeting’s keynote speaker, Purcell praised members as the risk takers of the world. “You’re the type of person who I’ve always wanted to play for me,” he said. “You are not afraid of facing challenges.”

Purcell, who also co-authored “All I Need to Know I Learned from My Texas High School Football Coach” in 2017, stressed six traits for building a vision and a philosophy for one’s business and life:

  1. Keep your eye on short and long-term goals. When plowing a field, furrows will be crooked if you keep your eye only on the plow blade. “The key is you’ve got to look down and up to plow straight, said Purcell. Continuous review of short- and long-range goals helps you achieve them.
  2. Plant seeds. Don’t wait for things to happen, share your plans with those who may be able to help. Purcell landed at Fox Sports after mentioning to the TV producer of his championship games that he would be retiring from coaching and still wanted to be part of the sport. Fox picked Purcell as a commentator without an audition. 
  3. Put others first. “People don’t care how much you know until you show them how much you care,” he said. Putting this creed into practice with colleagues and customers builds lasting relationships.
  4. Respond, don’t react. By keeping calm, you’ll think more clearly and solve most problems.
  5. Make everyone part of your team.  Anyone who gets a check from your company is someone on your team. Treating each individual as part of your team improves morale and increases productivity.
  6. Don’t be afraid to fail. Many of life’s greatest achievements require going outside of your comfort zone. Risk takers accept losses and move on to the next challenge.

“In coaching, it’s all about impacting kids’ lives,” said Purcell. “I always told the kids on my teams; be happy with who you are today. Happiness is a philosophy. I hope I’ve brought happiness to you today and wish the same for you all the way to 2023.”

In a follow up email to John Zaworski, Dean Trailways, Purcell, who speaks to a lot of groups throughout the country wrote that Trailways is a special group. “They are the hard workers of our country and I have great respect for them.” He thanks Trailways for the opportunity to be the keynote speaker at the 2022 annual meeting.


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