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I can’t name his songs (sorry, Boise), but here’s why I just became a Garth Brooks fan

I would lose any challenge to mention even one of Garth Brooks’s songs (sorry, Boise), but I became a fan anyway when he held his press conference at Boise State University.

Brooks entered the football complex’s auditorium, where players come together for meetings. It can hold the more than 100 players, as well as others involved in the football program, but Brooks walked in to talk with journalists.

He began with an apology for being late. (Polite. I like that). He explained that he’d been with student athletes and wanted to give them the time they deserved.

When he said they talked a lot about the importance of culture in the athletic departments and the university, he had me.

The students started asking him questions and wanted to talk more, so he stayed longer, he said. These young people are our future, said Brooks, so I wanted to take the time. He seemed almost surprised that the students had such good questions and that they talked about what were leadership topics.

I was floored that the topic of organizational culture was something students wanted to talk to a musician about. That says something about the coaches and the athletes, and if that’s true, I commend it.

I’ve known several of our football coaches over the years — Dan Hawkins, Chris Petersen and now Bryan Harsin — and for each of them, building a strong and positive team culture has been a high priority. The message seems to be sticking.

Much later, when the power went out during the concert, the Boise fans were calm and waited for it to return. Again, Brooks seemed a bit surprised that the fans stayed calm, without anger or rioting.

Always nice to see what a good impression our favorite city can make.

Nancy Napier is a Boise State University distinguished professor. nnapier@boisestate.edu

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