Barrow shares stories, wisdom with CCOB students
By Mark Heller
GCU News Bureau
All you have to do is ask.
It’s how Lance Barrow began his nearly 40-year career in television. When he was 18, he randomly walked up to some ABC employees before a golf tournament and asked if he could help in any way.
It paid off. Barrow has been with CBS since the late 1970s and has been coordinating producer for CBS Sports’ NFL and PGA Tour golf coverage since 1997. He was in Scottsdale over the weekend overseeing the network’s coverage of the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
But he first paid a visit to Grand Canyon University’s “Introduction to Sports Business” class in the Colangelo College of Business on Friday afternoon for 90 minutes of humorous stories, advice, a Q-and-A and more.
True to his message, he spent the final 30 minutes of class answering students’ questions about making their own inroads into sports business ventures, from TV to working for leagues, teams or apparel companies, and then stayed after as nearly a dozen students introduced themselves.
“All you have to do is walk up to someone and ask,” he said. “Ask the question. Ask questions, and a lot of times you’re going to hear ‘no,’ then keep going if you want that opportunity.”
Barrow worked a variety of random jobs for TV networks beginning in his college days at Abilene Christian University in Texas in the mid-1970s. That first golf tournament “duty” led to a couple more, and by the time he graduated he’d shuttled his way around the country helping TV coverage of weekly NFL games, Super Bowls and golf tournaments before being back in class on Monday afternoons.
“The first thing you have to do is start somewhere,” he said. “It’s like driving a car. You start the car before you shift gears and put your foot on the pedals.”
Keenly aware his rise through CBS was atypical in many ways, Barrow used self-deprecating humor and several examples of current/former colleagues who took arduous and windier career paths. But his journey still featured many of the commonalities found in most professions, especially those in sports and business:
- Ask questions.
- Keep knocking.
- Be willing and prepared to do anything.
- Show up and say “yes.”
Those messages are commonplace wherever Barrow goes for his 25-30 speaking engagements per year. Although Friday was his first foray onto GCU’s campus, both the walk to class and figurative structures put into place by GCU and CCOB left Barrow convinced the burning ears who listened to him already are ahead of the game in future employment success.
All they need to do is ask for a chance and walk through when a door opens.
“Almost any university has structures in place, but here you have one of the most powerful people involved in sports anywhere (Jerry Colangelo) and a popular former NBA player (men’s basketball coach Dan Majerle),” Barrow said afterward. “Those are two great places to start.”
Contact Mark Heller at (602) 639-7516 or firstname.lastname@example.org