Playing for a Hall of Fame Coach + Commencement Address

In today’s episode, we’re reposting an interview between Equalman and his new friends Eric and Rod, hosts of the podcast, The Final Four Is Not On The Schedule: a podcast devoted to Michigan State basketball with detailed game day analysis, post-game reactions, recruiting news, and more for the serious and casual MSU fan. So with the NCAA tournament having just begun, the timing couldn’t be any better. As you may know, our very own Erik Qualman, started out as a manager for MSU’s basketball team in 1990 but eventually earned a spot in the lineup. In this interview, Erik discusses his involvement in the NCAA tournament as both a manager and teammate, what it was like as a player on the team, and what it was like to play for coach Tom Izzo.

5x #1 Bestselling Author and Motivational Speaker Erik Qualman has performed in over 55 countries and reached over 50 million people this past decade. He was voted the 2nd Most Likable Author in the World behind Harry Potter’s J.K. Rowling. Qualman is also the inventor of the bestselling board game Kittycorn

Need a sneak peek? Below are the main takeaways from the episode.

Playing for a Hall of Fame Coach + Commencement Address

Episode Preview:

“So I think is important because it’s really what I built everything on. So basically two or three times a year as a manager, they don’t have enough players, they only carried 13 [players]. So guys are sick, guys are injured. Occasionally, it happened maybe twice, maybe three times, if I was lucky, they go “Qualman, we need you in there, we need a body in.” At this point in time, [it] was my junior year, I go, “You know, I got a shot. I’m better than I won’t say who, but I’m like, I’m better than that guy. That’s the 13th guy. So maybe I can walk out next year.” It’s like, this is my moment, it literally couldn’t miss. The sun was shining, everything was going right. And then I took an elbow to my mouth…

I was born with two teeth missing. So I had some fake teeth to space out the bottom teeth and when I got hit in the mouth, I felt teeth, but I figured they were just fake ones. I wanted to keep playing, so I put them on the side of the court so the trainer couldn’t see them and kept playing. And then there’s a timeout 20 minutes later. And there’s some blood coming out at the time… So then the trainer comes over and is like “You’re done.” And then the whole way to the dentist I’m like, “oh, man, what an unfortunate break that was, I can’t believe that happened to me.” But then the next day Izzo goes, “Qualman I don’t know if you’re the toughest guy I know or the dumbest guy I know, but somewhere in the middle.” And I thought that this awful thing had happened to me. But looking back, it actually really happened for me, because Izzo, you know, is all about the grit and the grind. So the next year, when I was able to walk on, it didn’t want me to be the walk-on because they only carried one manager, so at that time, if you’re the senior manager, you’re kind of the chief of operation… So, fortunately, Izzo was sound on my back. He’s like, “No, that’s what we need. We need the kind of guy that’s willing to lay it out there.” So that’s what I tell the audience, sometimes the best thing in life is can happen to you is get your teeth kicked in or knocked out.”

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About the Author: Erik Qualman

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