PROVO -- This column is about one of BYU's all-time greats, Shawn Lindquist. What's that you say? You've never heard of Shawn? Well then, let me tell you a little bit about him.
Shawn is the Chief Legal Officer and Executive Vice- President of Fusion-io, one of the largest and fastest growing companies in Utah. Before that he was the Chief Legal Officer for Omniture and saw it through its Initial Public Offering in 2006 as well as its later merger with Adobe. Shawn literally wrote the book on navigating companies through IPO's and is also an adjunct professor teaching classes at the J. Reuben Clark law school where he was once a successful law student. After law school he worked for many years for one of the top law firms in the country where he was an unqualified success.
Shawn is married to a tall, stately, beautiful woman named Natalie (Hammond) and they have four gorgeous and talented children. He lives in a large home reflective of his many business successes. He is a faithful Latter-day Saint and has served in many leadership positions in the Church. I've become friends with his son Chase who played on the same basketball team with my son George for a couple of years. Chase will soon be a star hoopster for Brighton High.
Shawn and I played the same position so we would guard each other in practice. He seemed to be made entirely of elbows. He never once took a play off or coasted through a drill. Sometimes I'd get angry with him and tell him to lighten up, but he never would.
I know, I know, its kind of annoying to read about someone as successful as Shawn. I'm usually not the jealous type, but as you can see, Shawn is a pretty impressive man. But his achievements don't surprise me one little bit. I knew Shawn would be a great success in whatever he chose to do in life because I went head-to-head against Shawn every day in basketball practice for two years at BYU.
Shawn had a great high school basketball career at Alta High, went on a two-year mission and played two years at Ricks College where he excelled on the court. After Ricks, Shawn had several offers to play basketball elsewhere, but he always dreamed about being a Cougar. He chose to come to BYU even though there was not a scholarship available for him. That's where we first met.
Shawn and I played the same position so we would guard each other in practice. He seemed to be made entirely of elbows. He never once took a play off or coasted through a drill. Sometimes I'd get angry with him and tell him to lighten up, but he never would. I have never played with or against a player that played harder than Shawn. I think I still have bruises from him.
Now Shawn was a very good basketball player, but as hard as he worked, it wasn't his destiny to get much playing time at BYU. He would play here and there when the game was out of reach and of course, when he did, he gave everything he had. He was so proud to wear the BYU uniform. He seemed to value it more than any of us that were on scholarship. He didn't take it for granted. More than anyone I ever played with, he earned the right to wear a BYU jersey.
After practice when the rest of us would go relax with friends or get in some valuable study time, Shawn showered and drove up to University Mall where he worked late into the night at a popular clothing chain. As scholarship players, we were forbidden from working. For Shawn, it was a necessity to help pay for the multitude of expenses that, for the rest of us, were taken care of. Never once did I hear Shawn complain. In fact, his positivism, like his play on the court, was relentless.
To my count, Shawn scored a total of 13 points in his two year career at BYU. I'm sure Shawn is not thrilled that I would share that with you. He may get some teasing for it, but he can handle it. But I don't tell you that to belittle or mock Shawn, I do it to honor him. It is my heartfelt belief that never in the history of BYU basketball did 13 points mean so much and were so well earned.
So you see, the man Shawn is today is no surprise to me, I saw the foundation of greatness being built on the hardwoods.
I played with other walk-ons at BYU and have seen many come and go in my broadcasting career. Some, like Brock Zylstra and Craig Cusick eventually became starters or significant contributors, but the majority are relegated to making the team better in practice and to get a few minutes of scrap time in games. But there is a common thread in all of the walk-ons I see. They all have a bit of what Shawn had. They play, not for the glory, but for the love of the game and the honor of being part of the BYU basketball team.
I love to watch Craig Cusick on this year's team. He's the latest in a long tradition of walk-ons at BYU. Its no surprise to me that Craig is one of the toughest, hardest working players on the squad. I've seen his type before. I played against him every day for two years.