Today@Sam - SHSU Campus News Online Sam Houston State University Seal
In the News
SHSU Homepage

SHSU Experts
SHSU Stats
Sam the Man
SHSU History
Austin Hall

Heritage Magazine
Huntsville Item
The Houstonian
Gov. Links
Useful Links
Theater & Dance
SHSU Athletics
Rec. Sports
Request Info
General Info
Then & Now
The President
Public Relations
Post Office
Search SHSU

Astros Owner Gives Lessons in Leadership

By Matt Pederson
Huntsville Item Staff Reporter

Drayton McLane

Astros owner Drayton McLane speaks at the CJ auditorium.

--Photo by Brian Blalock

Drayton McLane began his business career working the loading docks at his father’s grocery distribution company and rose through the ranks to eventually lead that company and run the baseball team that would win the National League Championship in 2005.

But McLane wants to be sure his secret to success is no secret at all.

The Houston Astros owner was at Sam Houston State University Monday morning as a part of the President’s Speaker Series. In addressing the students before him, McLane laid out his best advice on what it takes to be a good leader.

First of all, he said, a leader must plan for the future. While it is easy to respond to what is happening at any given moment, the businesses who make it are the ones prepared for anything that may come ahead.

“The real role of a leader is to find the future,” McLane said. “If you watch TV or pick up the paper, it’s easy to see what’s going on today, but how do you know what’s going to happen in two months, six months or three, five or 10 years down the road?”

In addition to planning ahead, McLane said a leader must inspire those in his company to work toward those long-term goals and challenges them to complete goals that, at first, seem impossible.

“A real leader gives courage to people to do things they would never have done by themselves.”

A leader, he said, also has to have the drive and determination to lead those involved in his or her business to a better place.

“It takes hard work to be a leader,” he said. “When you graduate and you go into whatever business programs that you want to get involved with, it takes extremely hard work and I hope you’re ready for it.”

But McLane also said a leader must have a sense of humility. He drew from his own experience of coming home from Baylor University ready for a managerial position at his father’s company. What he found was the night shift on the loading dock.

While his immediate expectations were quickly dashed away, McLane soon found out why his father made him climb the company ladder all the way from the bottom.

“He said to me, ‘Son, with your education and your association with these working people and what they are doing at night, if you couldn’t manage to win their support, give them good ideas and encourage them, you’re going to have problems,” McLane said. “That taught me how to get engaged with people, learning how to appreciate people and learning how they think, and then to encourage them and give them ideas on how to move forward.”

“Humility is such an important part of life.”

Strong ambition, McLane said, must be partnered by strong values. McLane suggested writing down a value system to help make decisions on every business opportunity that comes along.

“(My father) taught me how to work with people, but he also taught me something even more valuable. A sense of direction and a sense of values,” McLane said. “He constantly said to me to write down what you stand for. Before you say what you want to become, write down what your principles are. I encourage you, as you are beginning your career, to write down your value system.”

While the majority of McLane’s speech focused on business advice, the question-and-answer portion focused solely on the Astros.

When asked about the performance of Craig Biggio, McLane said the Astros’ second baseman exemplifies what it takes to be successful in life.

“Craig played better last year than he had played in the last five or six years, and he is playing even better this year,” McLane said. “He wants to get to 3,000 hits, and very few people have ever achieved that. He’s about 200 short of that, and he can tell you about every hit he’s ever had. (With 3,000 hits), he’ll automatically go to the Hall of Fame. He’ll go to the Hall of Fame either way, but he wants to get 3,000 hits and if he continues at this pace, he should do it in the latter part of next year.

“It’s all in his attitude. He came to spring training in the best physical shape he has ever been in and he has such a positive attitude.”

Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell has spent all of the 2006 season on the disabled list because of his right shoulder. When asked about a possible return for the first baseman, McLane said he still commands a great amount of respect from his teammates, but more procedures will need to happen before he returns to the field.

“Jeff began to experience tremendous problems with his right shoulder,” McLane said. “He’s had two surgeries on it, and unfortunately, he still has difficulty with his shoulder. Most likely, he’s going to have to have more surgery, which could prevent him from coming back, so that’s a decision he needs to make in the next few weeks.

“We would love to have him back. He’s still on our roster, on the disabled list, and he comes to a number of games. He was there a few games ago and the players really enjoy his involvement.”

An audience member asked about the chances of signing Roger Clemens, who pitched for the Astros the last two seasons. McLane said he is unable to talk much about it, because of restrictions from Major League Baseball, but did say, “We think the odds are good.”


SHSU Media Contact: Frank Krystyniak
April 25, 2006
Please send comments, corrections, news tips to

This page maintained by SHSU's Office of Public Relations
Director: Frank Krystyniak
Assistant Director: Julia May
Writer: Jennifer Gauntt
Located in the 115 Administration Building
Telephone: 936.294.1836; Fax: 936.294.1834