Coach Snyder asked Kevin Saunders to work as the motivational coach for the Kansas State football team, and he did from 1991 until 2005, during what’s been referred to as ‘the greatest college football turnaround in history'. Some of my duties as motivational coach included speaking and working with the team giving inspirational goal-setting talksread the rest
Coach Snyder asked Kevin Saunders to stay on as the motivational coach for the Kansas State football team. Kevin said, “I accepted, and worked as the motivational coach with the Kansas State football team from 1991 until 2005, during what’s been referred to as ‘the greatest college football turnaround in history.’ Some of my duties as motivational coach included speaking and working with the team giving inspirational goal-setting talks to help them break barriers, transcend limitations, and reach for new levels of excellence, and achievement.
While Kevin is shy about claiming any credit for the team’s success, others seem to feel differently. In fact, the grateful players, many of whom have gone on to successful careers in and out of football, even dedicated an annual award in his honor. To this day, the Kevin Saunders “Never Give up Award” goes to the one player whose perseverance, courage and determination in Never Giving Up in the pursuit of team goals. In 2009, Kevin returned to Kansas State Football on a part-time basis, furthering his work with the team. During the 2012 season, Coach Bill Snyder asked Kevin Saunders after his presentation to the football team to come back to be the motivational coach as he had done in the past for the team. Some say this 2012 season for the Kansas State University Wildcats has been the “2nd greatest turnaround in college football history.” Kansas State University finished the regular season with its first ever #1 BCS ranking and an 11-1 regular season and winning the BIG XII Championship. The Wildcats won an Alliance Bowl bid from the Fiesta Bowl.
If you’ve ever felt down and out, discouraged, beaten or broken, Kevin Saunders has been there. And if you’re wondering how someone rises from those depths to become a champion, he’s been there, too.
Kevin Saunders was just like any other young man from the Kansas countryside. Fresh out of college and starting a family, he worked long hours as a Federal grain elevator inspector. Touring facilities day after day in the heat, he knew the job wouldn’t be easy – but he didn’t know it would nearly take his life.
But then, on a busy afternoon like any other, Kevin heard the sound he would never forget…one explosion, and then another, snapping like popcorn in the distance. The rising volume and tremor of the floor told an unmistakable truth – that the building he was standing in would soon burst into flames. And, in a matter of seconds, it did. Before he had time to even think or move, a blast rocketed the office and sent him over a 2-story building three hundred feet into the air. When rescuers found him, he was over 300 feet away in a parking lot, bent and broken at the chest.
For days, Kevin lay teetering on the edge of life and death, even hearing his doctor admit to a visitor that there “wasn’t any hope.” Against all odds, he survived his injuries only to find that the real trauma was about to begin. Paralyzed from the chest down, he struggled to find a new meaning and focus for his life. Abused and abandoned by his young wife, his life fell into disarray. Divorced, bankrupt, and utterly alone, Kevin fell into a deep depression.
But rather than remain miserable, Kevin did what he now teaches audiences around the world to do – he decided to keep moving forward. By sharpening his body and mind together, he became a world class competitor. Athletically, he won hundreds of gold medals and earned the title of “the greatest all-around wheelchair athlete in the world.” And that success was only the beginning. He’s gone on to feature in a major motion picture, serve under two administrations on the President’s Council on Physical Fitness, participate in “the biggest turnaround in college sports history,” push his wheelchair across North America and Europe, and even pen five books and appear on shows like ESPN, USA Today and countless other national, international and local media outlets.
Ask Kevin how he accomplished any of these things, and he’ll tell you the secret to his success – to never lose your faith in God and Never Give Up! That’s the message he’s delivered to more than 5,000 groups around the world, including more than 1,000 schools, and it’s one he’d love to share with your audience.read less