Renowned Ex-Military Leader: Empower, Inform Your Team of Goals, Purpose to Achieve Success
Thursday, August 05, 2010
Contact David Tisdale, 601.266.4499   

Throughout a distinguished career as a commander in the U.S. Army, Ret. Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré knew how important it was for his troops to understand what their mission was and why it mattered. He stressed the need to employ that philosophy in managing sporting event security during an address at the National Sports Safety and Security Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans Wednesday.

The event was hosted by Southern Miss’ National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4).

“When people walk into that facility, they submit themselves to your control and umbrella of security, and at the same time protect their constitutional rights,” said Honoré, who retired from the military in 2008 after 37 years of service.

Before his retirement, Honoré was a highly decorated soldier who served as a commander of U.S. military operations in Iraq and other points around the globe. He gained national prominence when he was assigned command of Task Force Katrina in 2005 as leader of hurricane and flood relief efforts in New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. He is now a highly sought speaker and consultant on issues related to emergency preparedness.

Using his presentation theme “See First, Understand First, Act First,” Honoré talked to conference participants about the importance of having every member of a security team, from the director to the parking lot attendant, embrace the mission of keeping spectators safe.

Often, the personnel on the ground will be the first to identify threats to security, he said. “Sometimes it will be the lowest-paid member of your staff, or a temporary worker, who see these threats first.”

Honoré also cited the importance of practicing a security plan, and to be prepared for the possibility of any type of threat at a sporting event, including those coming as a result of bad weather, accidents or from individuals seeking to cause mayhem or violence.

“You have to plan for a worst-case scenario, but also resource for a worst-case scenario,” he said. “Too often, we plan for a worst-case scenario but only resource for a best-case scenario.”

More preparation and research is needed to thwart biological and chemical threats, he said. “We still have a ways to go in this area.”

Honoré praised Southern Miss for its work in developing the Center, and encouraged students to consider a career in the field or in studying subjects that would give them the skills to develop strategies, tools and research to solve problems faced by leaders and practitioners in sports security.

At the luncheon, the Center recognized members of its advisory board and honored three individuals with its first National Sports Security Distinguished Leadership Awards, presented by Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies, including Milt Ahlerich, vice president of security for the National Football League; U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss); and U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss).

Cochran and Thompson serve as leaders on Congressional committees that address a variety of national security issues, including sporting event safety. “These individuals have made important contributions to sporting event security, and are very deserving of this recognition,” said Dr. Lou Marciani, director of the NCS4.

For more information about the NCS4, online visit

Ret. Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré discussed the finer points of leadership and team building Wednesday at the awards luncheon of The University of Southern Mississippi's National Sports Safety and Security Exhibition Wednesday in New Orleans. (University Communications photo by David Tisdale)


Recipients of the first
National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security Distinguished Leadership Awards at its first national conference this week included U.S Sen. Thad Cochran (accepted by his staff assistant, Win Ellington); National Football League Vice President for Security Milt Ahlerich; and U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson (accepted by his staff assistant, Southern Miss alumnus Cory Horton). (University Communications photo by David Tisdale)

About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities.  In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world.  Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at