NFL coach Daron K. Roberts: ‘Let’s shape the game we play’

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Harvard law graduate and NFL coach Daron K. Roberts gave local leaders valuable insight about transitioning, rejection, complacency and intentions on Thursday during a speech at the Washington Pavilion.

“Let’s shape the game we play; not the game we find,” he said.

Roberts said so many times in life people get into routines and settle for contentment or what is comfortable. They may set New Year’s resolutions and try and strive to better themselves or others, yet once Feb. 8 rolls around they revert back to the mean or the standard norm, he said.

Roberts comes from an interesting background. The son of a southern Baptist minister in east Texas, he set out on his goals to become a Harvard law graduate, a governor and one day, a president.

He completed his undergrad at University of Texas-Austin and was waitlisted six different times at Harvard Law School. After finally receiving admission and graduating from the prestigious institution, Roberts decided he wanted to become a football coach.

Yes, a football coach. A tireless, thankless profession filled with long hours and strenuous amounts of pressure. Not everybody gets into Harvard Law School, not everybody completes Harvard Law School, even fewer walk away from a high-paying law firm job to be a … football coach.

Roberts started with an unpaid training camp internship with the Kansas City Chiefs and leveraged his way to assistant jobs with the Detroit Lions, West Virginia Mountaineers and the Cleveland Browns.

The satisfaction of human interaction and collectively accomplishing a goal of executing a game plan drove Roberts to pursue his passion. Now, he serves as the founding director of the Center for Sports Leadership and Innovation at UT-Austin.

Not afraid of the fear of rejection, Roberts shares his message of leadership and purpose with words of wisdom to young athletes, professionals and established business people alike.

“You only have one life and you never know when it will be gone. Be intentional and go for it,” he said.

Key messages: 

  • Stay in over your head.
  • Never trust the process.
  • Be intentional. (Hope is not a strategy.)
  • Hold on to what’s important.
  • Put yourself in a place of rejection.
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Chad Curry Chad Curry

Jan 11 4 min read