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Virtues That Lead to Victory and Success

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Co-founder, Sr. VP Orlando Magic, 1987

Inductee into the Basketball Hall of Fame

Named one of 50 most influential people in NBA history

Ran 58 marathons

Led 23 teams to the NBA playoffs

Author, latest—110th book: Character Carved in Stone (Revell, 2019)

Education: BS, Wake Forrest, Masters, Indiana Univ.

Doctorate in Humane Letters, Flagler Univ.

Married to Ruth

Father of 20 children (4 birth kids, 14 internationally adopted, 1 by remarriage), 17 grandchildren

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On the grounds of West Point Military Academy there are 12 granite benches, each inscribed with a word representing 12 core leadership values that lead to success, like: compassion, courage, dedication, determination, dignity, discipline, integrity, loyalty, perseverance, responsibility, service, and trust. These benches serve as a reminder to cadets that these virtues are not merely words, but character traits that lead to victory and success, not just on the battlefield, but in all of life. In Pat Williams book, he shares incredible stories of West Point graduates who exemplify these traits, from the Civil War to the War on Terror.  Pat explains, “These traits are not born in use. They do not just happen. They are virtues that must be acquired by continually strengthening our character. We become role models of these twelve virtues by consciously and continuously working on them and building them into our lives by the decisions we make, hour by hour, day after day.”

Pat says that we can build the same kind of perseverance found at West Point, by: Learning to persevere longer through competition; Focusing on our strengths, not our limitations; Replacing negative self-talk with messages that empower; Getting involved in athletics; Accepting challenges that intimidate you; and reading stories about people who have achieved the impossible. In his book, Pat highlights people like Mike Krzyzewski (aka Coach K), who wrote the foreword for Pat’s book. As a high school basketball player, Mike was the lead scorer for the Catholic League in Chicago for two years and an All-State player. He had scholarship offers from Division I schools. Then, Coach Bob Knight, who was coaching for the United States Military Academy at West Point,  showed up at his house. Mike’s parents were Polish and valued education. They convinced their son to attend West Point and play for the Army. Mike said,  “It was the best decision I never made.” He has gone on to coach at West Point and Duke University, leading the Duke Blue Devils to five NCAA Championships. He also coached the USA men’s national basketball team to Olympic gold medals in 2008, 2012, and 2016.

Ulysses S. Grant, who was known as a warrior but also known for his compassion. He explains that, “Compassion is not incompatible with leadership or with the conduct of war. In fact, the most compassionate leaders often make the most effective warriors, because they are driven by a compassionate desire to bring war to a swift, decisive, and merciful end.”  Pat also highlights people of character like General Matthew Ridway.  On D-Day (June 6, 1944) in World War II , Ridway showed loyalty when risking his life along with this troops by parachuting behind Nazi lines into France.

While in the military, Dwight D. Eisenhower displayed integrity when in the Philippines. The Philippine government was handing out big sums of money to officers in gratitude and when they tried to give money to Eisenhower, he wouldn’t take it. He told them that he was just doing his job.

Pat served for seven years in the United States Army, spent seven years in the Philadelphia Phillies organization—two as a minor league catcher and five in the front office—and has also spent three years in the Minnesota Twins organization. Since 1968, he has been in the NBA as general manager for teams in Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia—including the 1983 World Champion 76ers—and now the Orlando Magic, which he co-founded in 1987 and helped lead to the NBA finals in 1995. Twenty-three of his teams have gone to the NBA playoffs and five have made the NBA finals. In 1996, Pat was named as one of the 50 most influential people in NBA history by Beckett’s, a national publication (PatWilliamsSpeaking.com).

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