Packers announcer: Success requires right mix of people, trust
January 11, 2017
As a sports
broadcaster for 40 years, including the last 18 with the Green Bay Packers
Radio Network, Wayne Larrivee has seen a common denominator in the championship
teams he’s covered.
With talent levels
comparable on most professional teams, winning often comes down to intangibles,
said Larrivee, who spoke Wednesday, Jan. 11, at University of Wisconsin-Stout.
“It’s not hiring the
best talent. It’s the right talent,” said Larrivee, whose public presentation
was on communication in the workplace. “People have to fit. It’s all about
putting the right team together. That’s the most important thing I’ve learned
in sports and team-building,” he said.
Along with finding
the right mix of people, another key to success in any work environment is to
find leaders who build trust and who trust the people around them. While he didn’t
make a prediction about the Packers’ playoff game Sunday against the Dallas
Cowboys, he sees those qualities in the team, one of the hottest in the NFL
with seven straight wins.
“The key to the
Packers recently is they trust their preparation,” Larrivee said.
They also trust
their field leader, Aaron Rodgers, and coach, Mike MCarthy, he said.
Larrivee was asked about
Rodgers’ leadership style. “He requires a lot of his teammates but no more than
he requires of himself,” Larrivee said, citing Rodgers’ willingness to forgive
a dropped pass but not so much mental errors, like a receiver running the wrong
“Rodgers is very
stern on the field. Leaders are not popular. They get us to do things we didn’t
think we could,” Larrivee said.
Rodgers believed the
Packers, 11-6, could make the playoffs when their record was 4-6, and McCarthy
has done a masterful job of keeping this team focused like in 2010, when the
Packers also jelled late in the season to win the Super Bowl.
That year when
things got tough, McCarthy told the team that their photo soon would fill the
empty picture frame in a meeting room that had the photos of other Packers’
title teams. Also, the night before the Super Bowl, when the Packers defeated the
more experienced Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25, McCarthy had a jeweler measure
players for the Super Bowl champions rings he believed they soon would be
confidence is not just by words but by actions,” Larrivee said, who added that
McCarthy may be doing an even better job coaching this season than 2010.
Larrivee said a previous Packers leader, Mike Sherman, was an excellent coach in
many ways but didn’t put enough trust in the people around him.
Jodi Kendrick, of
Spring Valley, who works at UW-Stout, said the key points in Larrivee’s
presentation can be applied beyond football.
“I liked the
communications piece and leadership. Everybody has to fit. If you don’t have
the right players, it’s hard to succeed, even with family. And you have to
believe — what you can believe will happen. You get back what you believe,”
Packers games, Larrivee was play-by-play announcer for the Chicago Bears and
Chicago Bulls. He cited the 1985 Bears, a team full of “alpha males” who put
aside their personal agendas “for the good of the team” to win the Super Bowl. The Bulls won their first of six NBA titles
in the 1990s when superstar Michael Jordan began believing in his teammates
instead of trying to do it all himself, Larrivee said.
“A lot of it has to
do with the leader trusting those around him, in whatever your walk of life,”
introduced by Chancellor Bob Meyer, a Packers season ticket holder who wore a
Packers shirt, scarf and stocking hat — even though the presentation was in the
Great Hall of the Memorial Student Center.
“It’s January in
Wisconsin and the Packers are making a playoff run. It doesn’t get any better
than that,” Meyer said.
The University Staff
Senate at UW-Stout invited Larrivee to speak as part of January Professional
Development programs on campus for faculty and staff.
Bay Packers radio announcer Wayne Larrivee speaks Wednesday, Jan. 11, at
Larrivee signs autographs after his presentation at UW-Stout.