Book excerpt: Kyle Van Noy succeeded by surrounding himself with quality people

Published: Wednesday, June 25 2014 12:20 p.m. MDT

Brigham Young Cougars linebacker Kyle Van Noy (3) gives his mother Kelly his defensive MVP trophy after the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego  Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012.   BYU beat San Diego 23-6.  (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Brigham Young Cougars linebacker Kyle Van Noy (3) gives his mother Kelly his defensive MVP trophy after the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012. BYU beat San Diego 23-6. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

Editor's note: The following is an excerpt from the Scott Rappleye's book "Kyle Van Noy: The Game Changer." This is part 2 of 2.

Kyle Van Noy's friendship with Provo city police officer Cody Harris illustrated another way BYU was a life-changing experience for Van Noy. Provo, Utah, isn't your typical college town. There are no fraternity or sorority houses. There are few bars and nightclubs. There aren't even boosters hanging around the football facilities like vultures trying to take advantage of the athletes. It is a much more family-oriented place, which allowed Van Noy to form meaningful relationships that other college students across the nation don't normally find.

Some of these relationships were with teammates who were married and faced the responsibilities of managing a young family. One such player was Brian Logan. Logan and his wife regularly had Van Noy and other players at their home to give them a safe place to hang out.

"We were always in an environment where we supported each other," Logan explained. "We were around each other. We kind of had eyes on each other."

Van Noy also benefited from forming relationships with the parents of his teammates. Parents of teenagers and young adults know one of their greatest assets can be the other adult figures in their children's lives. Teenagers and young adults can be given the exact same guidance, word for word, from their parents and another adult they respect, but receive it completely differently. Having parents of teammates be positive adult role models can be life-changing. Two such parents that Van Noy became close to and was influenced by were Jake Heaps' and Richard Wilson's mothers.

Van Noy's relationship with Harris, married teammates and teammates' parents are specific cases that exemplified the general pattern of who he chose to form relationships with while at BYU.

The same calendar year that Van Noy signed his letter of intent to play for BYU, former BYU tight end Chad Lewis, 1993-96, published his autobiography "Surround Yourself with Greatness." Lewis emphasized how his relationships with great people shaped and influenced his life for good, including several relationships at BYU.

"Kyle came to Provo not having any friends, and he knew that he needed to pick people who would make him better and not tempt him as much and put him in bad situations," Harris explained. "He is very guarded about who he allows in his life, and that is the reason for his success. He's not trying to do it in an arrogant way. He just knows he cannot put himself in compromising positions. He had his group of friends that he knew he could trust, that he was loyal to, and that was kind of it. He didn't go outside his circle of friends. I think that had a lot to do with his success."

Logan noticed something similar.

"When you come in and are a newcomer, it is hard to find out who to associate yourself with," Logan said. "Depending on the guys who reach out to you the most, you are going to associate with them the most. When you find out that they do things that aren't right, you usually have two options. You either follow them and start doing the things that they're doing, or you separate yourself. I think that is what he did, and people who do that have a successful time here. I think that is probably one of the biggest things that he did was just surround himself with people who are successful. … It all goes back to surrounding yourself with the right people."

Harris continues, "I think one of the biggest things he has done is he has really surrounded himself with quality people. I think he realizes his strengths and his weaknesses. He can't surround himself with people who will put him in a compromising situation. It is hard for everybody to go to school and play football at the same time. He had a pretty big bull's-eye on his back. A lot of people were just waiting for him to mess up."

The similarity in Lewis' book title and the description from those who knew Van Noy about who he chose to associate with further demonstrates how attending BYU was a life-changing experience.

"Kyle Van Noy: The Game Changer" is available online at Amazon.com. For each copy sold, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Holly and Bronco Mendenhall Foundation and International Aid Serving Kids.

Scott Rappleye has been covering BYU football for five years. His work has been featured on several Internet sites, including FoxSports.com, CollegeFootballNews.com, PhilSteele.com, KSL.com, and DeseretNews.com.

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