‘Walk Off Winning’
Stetson head baseball coach Steve Trimper is now a published book author — and the theme isn’t necessarily about his sport.
Trimper has written “Walk Off Winning: A Game Plan for Leading Your Team and Organization to Success.”
The book consists of stories and insight that play hardball with building a true leadership culture, regardless of setting.
Each chapter defines a value, trait or characteristic that Trimper, through years of experience and anecdotal evidence, identifies as important to leadership. He then details in easy-to-understand storytelling how they can be applied by anyone to both personal and professional life.
“You have to have these core values, these traits and these characteristics that you feel are important, and work on those and not try to take on too many,” said Trimper. “Try to be great at three or four in your organization. You’ll see leaders start to rise to the top because they invest in those values. And when leaders start to do that, then the culture becomes strong. You’re building a long-term core culture.”
Trimper is a 28-year veteran of college coaching who led the Hatters to the brink of the College World Series in 2018, his second year at Stetson. So naturally, stories about baseball are woven into the book. Yet mostly, the emphasis is on individual accountability. Or, as Trimper described, “It’s about doing the things that you say you’re going to do.”
Ultimately, Trimper said, the messages are about winning now and into the future for yourself and the people around you.
The book has its own backstory, too.
Prior to arriving at Stetson, Trimper completed 11 seasons as head coach at the University of Maine, where he led his teams to 309 wins. During many of those years, Trimper said he was consumed simply with being the best baseball coach he could be — teaching about hitting and pitching, and recruiting student-athletes. His ideas about leadership largely were shaped by his own experiences.
However, in 2008, due to budget constraints in the state of Maine, Trimper was prompted to raise money for his baseball program. As those efforts put him in contact with the community’s most successful people, he found common themes in how they achieved their success. He began taking notes.
As he met more people, while speaking at baseball conventions and, subsequently, after being asked to speak for organizations and businesses, he learned more about leadership. To date, Trimper has given more than 200 presentations nationwide for companies such as Darling’s Ford Motor Co. and New Balance, as well as smaller entities. Following presentations, people would ask for his book. He didn’t have one.
As the story goes, then by pure happenstance, in about 2014 Trimper met author Jon Gordon, well known for books such as “Power of the Positive Team” and “Stay Positive” (his most recent). He shared his thoughts and ideas with Gordon on leadership and building a strong culture within organizations. Gordon asked if Trimper had written a book. Trimper’s response: “I’m a better talker than a writer.”
Reluctant to tackle what he thought would be the monumental task of writing, Trimper received a push from Gordon, who said, “Just write!” In other words, don’t worry about how-to, just put your thoughts on paper.
In the years following, Trimper continued to jot down notes, but when he accepted the job at Stetson before the 2017 season, any thoughts about a book were put on hold. Then he ran into Gordon a second time.
Gordon asked again about the book. Trimper only had notes, which at Gordon’s request were sent to his publisher. The next day, Gordon’s publisher, John Wiley & Sons, called Trimper to set up a meeting.
That was last winter. From March 2019 through the summer, Trimper “had to really crank on all my ideas and expand on them,” he said.
Approximately 70,000 words of original draft later, there is “Walk Off Winning.”
“I am very fortunate for Jon’s kick in the pants, along with his publisher guiding me through this wonderful process,” Trimper commented. “I stopped talking about writing a book and decided to walk the walk.”
Now, the baseball coach and book author is advising others to build a leadership culture by “doing the things that you say you’re going to do.”
“Walk Off Winning: A Game Plan for Leading Your Team and Organization to Success,” written by Steve Trimper, published by John Wiley & Sons, Jan. 5, 2020 (ISBN 978-1-119-65220-552500). Available online ($25) and at the Stetson University Bookstore.