A crowd of students filled the Nick and Lou Martin University Center’s Paul and Judy Andrews Hall on Tuesday afternoon for Jim Jeffcoat, a retired NFL player, Super Bowl champion and coach.
Jeffcoat, 58, spoke at the annual Marjorie Herrera Lewis Endowed Speakers Series about his experience as a player for the Dallas Cowboys and the Buffalo Bills, as well as his experiences as a coach and the lessons he’s learned from his football career about community, relationships, and effort.
Scott Murray, award-winning TV sports anchor and journalist, continued to host the event, as he has in previous years.
“It’s not always about just playing, it’s about the relationships,” said Jeffcoat, who was born in Long Branch, NJ, spent 22 years in professional football and went to the playoffs 11 times as both a coach and a player. “I remember the relationships (between players and coaches) more than the plays. If you can build relationships, then that’s how you’ll be successful.”
One way Jeffcoat said he continues to build relationships is by being active in his community.
“If you’re isolated from your community, that’s not very good for you, and you’re not going to be successful in life,” Jeffcoat said. “I’ve been around the country a bit in Houston and California and Colorado, but in the end, Texas is home for me.”
Jeffcoat also enjoys building relationships through mentoring young men as a coach, and he hopes that becomes his legacy.
“My legacy is just like my father’s,” Jeffcoat said. “I want to develop young men and not just for sports. I want them to become good fathers, good husbands, and a person that helps in their community. Those things are important to me.”
Jeffcoat’s advice for athletes is to put in the time to get good at something. He mentioned how he started playing football as an uncoordinated freshman in high school but made time to do little things to improve.
“You have to put the time in, you have to put the effort in, and you have to keep working at it,” Jeffcoat said.
One student athlete in the crowd was junior exercise science major Brianna Gibbons, who came to event with other softball players.
“I liked hearing what he had to say about sports, the mindset, and everything,” Gibbons said.
Another student athlete, senior liberal studies major Tanner Amaral, said he came to hear Jeffcoat talk about what it means to be a successful athlete and still make an impact on the community.
“I think the coolest part was hearing him talk about the different coaching styles of the people he played for,” Amaral said, “and how although using two different and unique coaching styles those coaches knew how to get the best out of those players.”