I've Got Skills: West Point Instructor vs. Athletic Director

See how a West Point Instructor and the UVA Athletic Director compare the skills needed to build leaders at their schools.

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My name is Major Lawrence Nunn. I’m a commissioned officer and instructor at West Point. I’m Army strong and I’ve got skills. I think one of the most important things that we do here is we develop leaders of character. Teaching them not necessarily what to think but how to think and then how to make good decisions, good and timely decisions. This is the most important part right here. What are you solving for right now? There is nothing like developing someone to be the best that they can be and to be a good leader, and that’s what I get to do here.

My name is Craig Littlepage and I am the Director of Athletics at the University of Virginia. I’ve got skills. I think one of the most important things I can do is in making sure we have quality people. I spend a tremendous amount of time thinking about who will be a good leader for the University of Virginia. If I can excel in that area and if I can also set the vision for what it is that this program can pursue and then achieve as a result of all the different activities, then I feel as though I’ve done a lot to fulfill the types of things that an athletic director at a Division One program has to do.

Lawrence Nunn: Sir, welcome to West Point in the Department of System Engineering.

Craig Littlepage: Major Craig Littlepage. Pleased to meet you.

Lawrence Nunn: Lawrence Nunn, please call me Lawrence.

Craig Littlepage: Ok and call me Page or Coach. Been looking forward to this.

Lawrence Nunn: When I met him in the in foyer there, it was good because he was a really personal guy and I was excited to show him what we have to offer. You all have this in front of you, right?

Craig Littlepage: He literally lit up when he got into the classroom.

Lawrence Nunn: Math. Ready? We’re gonna break it down. It’s easy, it’s gonna be ok.

Craig Littlepage: It was an interesting transition that he made from Hi, how are you doing, I’m Major Lawrence Nunn, to being in front of those students, interacting with them and drawing on the energy those students brought to the classroom into learning.

Lawrence Nunn: So 'T' is just a number. That’s all it is, is one number. We got a chance to step back and talk (while kids answer up at the boards?) and we talked about how let them struggle, let them figure it out, let them grow mentally. It really works because you're identifying what you think they caught, what you think they taught them. It as great to have him in the class and I think the cadets really enjoyed having something different.

Craig Littlepage: You folks are the real heroes. A lot of times people talk about athletes as being heroes, but you guys and your peers and colleagues around the country and are serving around the world are the real heroes.

Lawrence Nunn: It was an honor to have him in the class and when Mr. Littlepage came up and thanked them for their sacrifice, it was a nice reminder that hey, you know what you're doing is important and we really really thank you.

Craig Littlepage: I asked Major Nunn what is it that you find must be enjoyable about military life and he talked about the role he has had in terms of making a significant contribution to young women and young men improving their lives. He spoke with great pride about that and that made a fantastic impression on me. The next step of this is that we will go to the University of Virginia, giving us both the opportunity to further compare and contrast our respected roles as educators. I’m looking forward to that. Major Nunn, welcome to Charlottesville University, good to have you here.

Lawrence Nunn: Good to be here, I look forward to this.

Craig Littlepage: We’re gonna show you our world here in athletics. I was extremely excited to have the opportunity to greet Major Nunn this morning in giving him he opportunity to understand a little bit more about what we do here at the University of Virginia. Let me introduce to you Major Lawrence Nunn. I allowed him to sit in with us during our weekly senior staff meeting. Can you review quickly kind of a program of what we got going on.

Lawrence Nunn: So the first thing I noticed about the meeting is that it wasn’t a meeting that was run by him, still his meeting, but he let the people who knew the information run the meeting.

Senior Staff: We need to make sure we’re very clear about that strategy and approach across the board.

Lawrence Nunn: It showed a great amount of trust that he had in his people and their ability to do the right thing. I was very impressed by that. The ability to change people’s lives is what’s most important to me. It’s the most important part of being, you know, in the Army, being an Army officer. I think as educator, working in the Universities, working in, you know, any educational field, you have similar ability to change somebody’s life; it’s beautiful.

Craig Littlepage: I also wanted to make sure I had the opportunity to show off to Major Nunn some of the exploits on the part of our teams but also just to be able to stop in informally and visit one of our coaching staffs and we had the chance to spend just a few minutes with our women's Soccer team coach Steve Swanson and his outstanding staff.

Steve Swanson: Well, we have a lot of respect for the service. We actually talk to our teams quite a bit about it, you know, the sacrifice and dedication so it’s a pleasure to have you here.

Lawrence Nunn: Everyone I met really went out of their way to thank me for my service and things that I was doing and really very appreciative of what I do in the army.

Craig Littlepage: When I’d look at kind of a compare and contrast, there’s probably a lot more that we have alike in terms of our roles than what is different. I think the fact that we are in he business of getting young people, developing these young people and then giving them the opportunity to advance into leadership positions in their own right.

Lawrence Nunn: We definitely are leaders of future leaders. It’s really a matter of selflessness. We’re both willing to give so much for the people we really come to work everyday for and because of selflessness, you’re also limitless.