Dr. Hill and students

Ayers featured in U.S. News article

Coach Mike Ayers

'America's Best Leaders' issue highlights football coach, program


SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Wofford College head football coach Mike Ayers is featured in a two-page article in the November 2009 issue of U.S. News & World Report, which focuses on “America’s Best Leaders” and includes an interview with President Obama.

The magazine is on the newsstands now, and portions are available on the Web site at http://www.usnews.com/sections/news/best-leaders/index.html. The article featuring Ayers is not yet available online.

In an article titled “Graduations First, Trophies Second,” Ayers is interviewed by Alex Kingsbury, associate editor for national security. He writes:

“(Coach Mike) Ayers was the first in his family to go to college and at one time paid the rent by slinging bags of garbage onto a truck. It taught him the value of hard work and what he calls the ‘generational impact’ that earning a college degree can have, not on just a person but on an entire family. He knows, too, that few if any of his players will go on to make a living in the game. ‘You learn a lot about yourself when you compete on the field, and that will make you a better doctor or teacher or engineer,” Ayers says. “Great doctors and great football players have one thing in common besides their God-given talent – they work hard.”

Kingsbury was on campus in early September conducting interviews with Ayers, President Benjamin B. Dunlap, Athletics Director Richard Johnson and others, and observing football practice. The magazine photographer was on campus a few weeks later. The article is accompanied by two full-color photographs – a portrait of Ayers with Gibbs Stadium looming in the background and one of Ayers on the practice field with players.

Also included in “The Paths to Leadership” section of the magazine was a feature written by First Lady Michelle Obama, “America’s Future Lies in Its Teacher;” a feature on Renault/Nissan CEO Carols Ghosn and other CEOs; and a commentary by Roy Williams, head basketball coach for the University of North Carolina and former coach at the University of Kansas.

“America’s Best Leaders 2009” include the late Sen. Ted Kennedy; Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernake; MIT President Susan Hockfield; Commander of U.S. Forces in Iraq Ray Odierno; astronaut Sally Ride; and Bill and Kathy Magee, founders of Operation Smile.