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What Cardinals, Suns, D-backs, Sun Devils and ‘Yotes leaders last read

ASU football head coach Herm Edwards interviews with Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station on Feb. 10, 2020. (Matt Layman/Arizona Sports)

Around Doug & Wolf’s Newsmakers Week, we wanted to get to know the leaders of the local Arizona sports landscape a little bit better.

We picked four off-beat questions to get a sense of their duties and leadership styles.

1. If you are recruiting or hiring someone and you have a day to sell them on Arizona beyond the workplace, where are you taking them and what are you showing them?
2. If you had the time to stop your job to learn one skill to make you better at your job or otherwise, what would that be?
3. What is the last book you read? What is it about and why did you read it?
4. What’s the toughest decision you had to make in your career? Is there anything you regret?

For Part III, we asked Valley sports leaders an easy one: What’s the last book they read and can help them in their job?

Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo

“It’s definitely a John Wooden book. I’m going to say ‘Wooden on Leadership.’ I read it several times, but I start to read those types of motivational leadership books around this time ’cause I want to make sure as I get in front of the team I’m not missing any of my checkpoints. I’m a huge John Wooden fan. I went to UCLA, I met him, he talked to me directly. So there’s a special connection, the bond that I feel with him. He also had so many great qualities as a leader that I make sure I invest in and learn about.

“I probably would say, my favorite phrase, favorite part of his pyramid of success is to be competitive greatness, to give your absolute best and be ultimately prepared at the time of need. I kind of paraphrased it but that’s probably my favorite topic that I believe in. My interactions with him are something I’d never forget. Keys that I remember … love your family, treat your family like no other and once you get inside the world of your teammates, you got to take care of them like family. Those are things he told me directly.”

ASU head football coach Herm Edwards

“Last book I read, book wise — I only read one book. It’s the Bible. I read it every morning. So I kind of stuck on that. That’s a pretty good book, by the way.”

Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen (via email)

“Right now, I’m in the middle of ‘Hamilton’ which I’m enjoying because I’m just a big history buff.”

Former Suns and Diamondbacks owner Jerry Colangelo

“Usually read two or three books from the best-seller list, the New York (Times) best-seller list. Over the last 12 months, 18 months, I’ve kind of scaled back. I’m into more picking up the news wherever I get the news. I guess technology has caught up with me a little bit.”

Suns general manager James Jones

“I’m actually reading a book called ‘Start Finishing.’ It’s a productivity book. It’s a combination of a bunch of things, getting things done in that frame, trying to turn a lot more of my ideas into action plans. It’s been a good read and it’s kind of getting me disciplined, focused in helping me close the loop in some of my big projects that I kind of find myself chasing.

“In sports … there are just so many things that go on and there are so many things you think you can do to improve your team. And it really starts inside, internally. It starts with being able to finish the small things that you start.”

ASU athletic director and VP for university athletics Ray Anderson

“I’m a little behind on my reading, my fun reading, but the last book I read is — it’s got kind of a corny title but a good message — is ‘The Energy Bus’ (by Jon Gordon). A good friend of mine who runs a good company with a lot of employees jokingly said, ‘It’s got a silly title but actually it’s got a lot of good lessons in there.’ As I talk to people, a lot of folks say, ‘Oh yeah, oh yeah I’ve read that!’ Another book I’ve been intending to read is ‘What Made Maddy Run?’ and I haven’t gotten to that yet.”

Fiesta Bowl executive director Mike Nealy

“Jon Gordon books are something I’ve read recently, ‘The Hard Hat.’ I read that. He has a way of using sports in leadership- and teamwork-oriented messaging. I would recommend any of his work for those that are — if you like sports, he uses a lot of sports analogies. A lot of it is about leadership and teamwork.”

Cardinals GM Steve Keim

“So it was a book called ‘Winning’ by Jack Welsch, who is a former CEO of GE and it was more of a leadership thing that gave me ideas and different ways to manage. The one cool thing that the book talked about was hiring people that you feel are smarter and more talented than you. A lot of times in business and that world, there’s insecurity and you hire people that you can either control or aren’t going to threaten your job. When in reality, to have success, you want to have the best people around you.”

Coyotes president and CEO Ahron Cohen

“So the last book I read was ‘Sapiens’ about the history of human kind, so it’s pretty profound. But just a fascinating story of how humanity developed and really put everything in perspective. For me I think it’s very good — we kind of stress over things and we’re in the sports industry. When you think about this in the grand scheme of life, it doesn’t feel quite as impactful or important if you lose a game or tie a game or something like that.”

Diamondbacks president and CEO Derrick Hall

“I read it over and over again. It’s actually ‘The Last Lecture’ by Randy Pausch. It’s about a gentlemen who far too young in his life got pancreatic cancer — my father lost to pancreatic cancer — so I’ll go back and read that. It’s remarkable. He basically made his last lecture in college — he was a professor — about that and about his life. But it was a whole message for his young kids. They could go back one day and read the book or really watch this lecture that’s now online. It’s unbelievable, I mean the emotion, the connection to anybody and everybody that reads it and what it means to have a family in life and to really cherish is really a beautiful thing.”

ASU president Michael Crow

“I read lots of books, so the one I just finished is ‘The British Are Coming’ by Rick Atkinson. If you actually want to understand the Revolutionary War in the United States, because no one actually does, you read that and you’ll understand it. And you’ll understand what people did to make this country what it is. It’s unbelievable … It was fantastic.”

Cardinals chairman and president Michael Bidwill

“It’s called ‘All-Blacks’ and it’s about the New Zealand national rugby team. It was all about how they build their culture and how they sustain their culture and how they have rebounded — they took some steps back but rebounded from that. It was an excellent book. I’d recommend that to everybody.”

Suns Interviews and Podcasts

Coyotes Interviews and Podcasts

Cardinals Interviews and Podcasts

Sun Devils Interviews and Podcasts

D-backs Interviews and Segments