He took the Badgers all the way to the NCAA championship game last March.
My dad, an avid Badgers fan, died suddenly last March hours after watching the Badgers beat Oregon on their way to the championship round.
Meeting Bo was important to me because it was a way to honor my dad’s memory.
Even though this was a brief meeting, I prepared in earnest and read Bo’s biography the week before meeting him.
I researched online.
I took notes.
I practiced pronouncing the name of Bo’s favorite author, David Maraniss.
I found out the day I was to meet Bo was the same day Maraniss’s new book about Detroit was to be released.
I learned how Bo is a master persuader. He excels at recruiting kids by meeting them where they are at and getting to know them as people.
In his book he talked about his PHD.
It’s his favorite acronym and stands for Poor, Hungry, Driven.
He says it’s a mindset all old school coaches who worked their way up from the bottom talk about and maintain, even during NCAA championship games.
Finally the moment arrived when I met Bo.
As we shook hands he said, “We’ve met before haven’t we? Didn’t you attend one of my basketball camps in Platteville?”
I didn’t expect that and felt flattered and honored by the question.
Bo thinks I’m a former basketball player!
Unfortunately I had to tell him I did not attend one of his legendary camps back in the day.
I loved playing basketball as a kid but a junior high coach ruined it for me.
Bo wanted to know where I was from and we exchanged pleasantries for a bit.
Then I asked my question.
“Did you know David Maranis’s new book about Detroit comes out today?”
Now it was his turn to be surprised.
He did not know that was the book release date and said he would go out later that day and buy the book.
He went on to tell me a great story about his friendships with the authors James Patterson and David Maranis.
There are many lessons I took away from this meeting with Bo:
Keep the focus on your customer and ask them very specific questions.
Build a rapport with them and meet them where they are at (email is the best way to do this of course).
Have a PHD mindset at all times.
It also set me to thinking about the role coaching plays in my own career.
Copywriting and coaching are two activities I perform regularly, but separately.
Now I am finally combining the two.
Go here to get the details.
Hope to literally talk to you soon.
P.S. Here is the 100 word story I wrote that gave me the chance to meet Bo: “My dad, a devoted Badgers fan, passed away suddenly on March 23, less than 12 hours after he watched the Badgers beat Oregon in the NCAA tournament. In our grief we gathered around the TV for the other games, as a way of honoring his memory. It was bittersweet to watch the Badgers make the championship game without him; we couldn’t help but wonder if he somehow had a hand in it. If dad was still alive he would get a kick out of knowing I met Bo Ryan. I simply want to shake Bo’s hand and say “Thank you.”