Houston Texans President Speaks at UST Athletics Fundraiser
Houston Texans President Jamey Rootes shared the fundamental keys to success in sports and life to a crowd of 150 at the University of St. Thomas Champions Club Benefit Luncheon on Thursday, May 6.
Guests had the opportunity to meet Rootes as well as two Texans Ambassadors: Curtis Duncan, a former wide receiver for the Oilers from 1987-1994, and J.J. Moses, the Texans’ primary kickoff and punt returner from 2003-2004. Oliver Luck, president of the Houston Dynamo, served as master of ceremonies. UST Athletic Director Todd Smith highlighted the athletic and academic accomplishments of UST student-athletes.
As students make the transition from collegiate to professional environments, Rootes advised them to be passionate about their chosen field and cultivate the relationships which will support success. He emphasized the importance of building character and focusing on an ultimate purpose in all aspects of life.
“Smart business people recognize that talent is absolutely critical,” Rootes said. “Your job is to prepare yourself as talent, and to ask yourself what do you love to do? You can’t be great unless you have an absolute passion about what you are doing.”
Behind every great success is someone who recognized and rewarded talent. He reminded students to remember their biggest fans, Rootes said.
“We describe talented people as walking on water, but there are stones underneath their feet that keep them up as they walk on water. Those stones are previous bosses, mentors and folks out there who think they are truly special. As you think about making your way into the work world, remember who thinks you are special. Develop those relationships because those people are the stones that support you and allow you to walk on water.”
Any successful team, business or institution must create a culture based on character, Rootes said. He commended the University of St. Thomas for its mission to educate leaders of faith and character, and as he noted that UST Athletic Program has been named to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Champions of Character three consecutive times.
“In life, success and failure, victory and defeat are almost always driven by how long people try something before they give up,” Rootes said. “People who don’t give up have character, and people develop character through the culture of their environment.”
Finally, Rootes implored the crowd to fully commit to all endeavors and find motivation from a greater purpose. Rootes said he often calls upon the advice of his college roommate and soccer teammate prior to playing and winning the national collegiate soccer championship, “If we are going to play this game, we might as well win it.”
“ When you have a purpose, when you doing it for something larger than yourself, you can achieve anything you want to,” he said. “No matter what I am doing, I am going to play to win. I may not always win, but I am going to prepare to win. Victory is in the preparation. At the end of the day, you can’t control the outcome, but you can control if you are going to be prepared to win.
“As you prepare for your careers, I encourage you to make a commitment to play to win. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth playing to win. I know you are getting that here in the athletic and academic programs here at UST because the culture here is a culture of winners.”
Rootes serves as president of the Houston Texans and has been with the franchise for 10 years. He has overseen the team’s efforts to secure stadium naming rights and sponsorship and coordinated radio and TV broadcasting relationships. He also engineered the club’s successful ticket and suite sales campaigns, led the creation and launch of the team’s identity and developed its highly acclaimed customer service strategy.
A native of Stone Mountain, Ga., Rootes attended Clemson University and was a member of the Tigers’ soccer team that captured two NCAA titles. While earning a Master of Business Administration degree at Indiana University, he served as an assistant soccer coach for the Hoosiers. Rootes previously held positions at IBM and Procter & Gamble before entering sports. He lives in West University with his wife, Melissa, and their children, Christopher and Caroline.
After Rootes’ speech, UST President Dr. Robert Ivany shared the University’s future plans to introduce a women’s basketball team followed by men’s and women’s golf teams. The University also hopes to join the Red River Conference.
The Champions Club seeks to strengthen the University of St. Thomas intercollegiate program by enriching the student athlete experience. Club members provide financial support for the intercollegiate athletics program, encourage student athletes, and promote community awareness about the University.
Major event sponsors were Marjorie Evans of Universal Weather and Aviation, Kim Ruth of Bank of America, Jack Follis and the self-proclaimed “Celt Crazies.” Lunch was provided by UST alumnus Johnny Marion Carrabba ’80, owner of Piatto Ristorante.
Shown above from left to right: Houston Texans President Jamey Rootes, Oliver Luck, president of the Houston Dynamo, Michelle Lewis, UST student and Texans Cheerleader, the UST Mascot, Nicole Hickl, UST student and Texans Cheerleader and UST President Dr. Robert Ivany.