A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Mike Tussey: Hold these 5 cards — vision, planning, goals, effort, perserverance, and have a full house

In our lives we all look forward to whatever we do, our certain goal is to attain success, be a winner. The earlier in life you pick up on this thought, trait, or way of life, the better your future will be.

Success is predicated on desire, skills, effort, competitive attitude and of course, confidence.

However, it really goes far beyond that.

Over the many years of my professional career, I was blessed to have excelled in two major careers. One was Law Enforcement, the other Broadcasting. The grueling factor in both of my careers was working full time in both professions. True, it was very tough at times, but without question financially necessary to make a living for my family.

Both Law Enforcement and Broadcasting presented many major challenges and commitments that demanded time and effort, but that of energy and sacrifice as well.

Success also is a huge dividend of the quality of education.

There is no doubt, that a college degree along with insights and experience can propel you into a dream position that you were searching for. However, today college tuition has risen to the point that it’s simply unattainable for so many. Sure, student loans are available for some, but, the payback is simply very scary when you consider the amount of time the payback can be.

Over my careers, I accepted a “ Recipe for Success ” that served as a guide to assist me toward my goals. It may guide you as well.

The plaques included here are vivid tokens of success over many years of effort, energy, and commitment.

Here are 10 elements of life, that require zero talent, but could change your entire career or your life:

1. Being on time
2. Develop a solid work ethic
3. Always give a great effort in anything you do
4. Always have positive body language
5. Gather all the energy you have into all you do
6. Develop a winning attitude and let it show everyday
7. Show passion in the workplace, be a team leader
8. Be “coachable”, take positive advice and show it
9. Go the extra mile, get the job done completely
10 Be prepared, always

These aforementioned elements were an intangible force that carved out success for me in both of my dual careers.

I began my Law Enforcement career in 1970 with the Ashland, Kentucky, Police Department. Like all rookies, I was instructed to listen and watch, and take the advice of the veterans Officers. A door of opportunity opened for me in 1974 when I was selected for the elite K9 unit. In 1981, I moved into administration teaching D.A.R.E (Drug Abuse Resistance) in the city’s schools including High School.

Throughout my 20 years with the Ashland Police Department retiring in 1990, I never left Broadcasting as I worked part time in Radio and Television whenever I was available.

However, before my retirement in 1990, the Chief of Police in 1985 made a very significant decision based on my Broadcasting experience, to send me into training from the FBI to become the department’s Public Information Officer. This meant that eventually, I represented not only the Police, but also that of the Mayor’s office and the City Manager.

In 1989, and being a graduate of NCPI ( National Crime Prevention Institute) my duties now included city wide crime prevention and awareness. This expertise led me to become the chairman of the city’s annual National Night Out Neighborhood Watch celebration held every August. The City would now enter into fierce professional competition with Police Departments nationwide.

After several years of competition, in 1989 the city and our NNO committee made the decision to launch a tremendous effort to win it all nationally. And, win it we did. The Ashland Police Department indeed won the National Town Watch Association’s NNO National Champion over 8,800 cities nationwide. A short time later, I was very honored by the State of Kentucky as “Kentucky Police Officer of the Year” 1989.

You can be sure the success of all the aforementioned elements were in full use for our quest for the National Title.

In 1998 I became a member of the Northern Kentucky University Police and remained until 2003 when I retired as Assistant Chief of Police with the rank of Major. Again, those Elements of Success played a huge role in my career at NKU Police. With my retirement after 26 years overall, I now devoted my full time availability to broadcasting both in radio and television.

I began in 1965 calling high school sports on radio, 57 years later, November 22, 2022 I retired from broadcasting where I was calling NCAA Division I Basketball for ESPN + at Morehead State University. In fact, I proudly was inducted into the West Virginia Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2010.

Earlier, I noted those 10 Elements of Success which I certainly believe motivated me and set me on the path to success in my careers. You might want to call these following elements:


Just some common sense that worked for me, I bet they will work for you too.

• 1 Teaspoon of Ideas
• ½ Cup of Goodwill
• 1 Pinch of Positivity
• ¾ Cup of Imagination
• 1 Pound of Leadership
• 2 Spoon Full of Teamwork
• 1 Cup of Market Vision
• 3 Tablespoons of Challenge
• 1 Bag of Hope

My professions are somewhat of a trilogy.

So, here they are:

• Law Enforcement
• Broadcasting
• Journalism

Recently, I have proudly joined the staff at the very prestigious Northern Kentucky Tribune as a weekly columnist.

What you do with your life and your career is simply up to you, and it should be. If you feel you are spinning your wheels and stalling out, give these elements a shot.

Push the energy button and watch what happens.

Mike Tussey has “retired” from a 60-plus-year career as a legendary play-by-play announcer for over 2000 football, baseball, and basketball games, including most recently for ESPN+. His career also includes a stint in law enforcement, teaching and coaching, and writing books, including the “Touchdown Saints.” He grew up in Eastern Kentucky and now lives in Florence with his wife, Jo. He has opened another “Door of Opportunity” and will now be a regular columnist for the NKyTribune.

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  1. Ric Robinson says:

    I agree with every word. I call it, “having a game plan”, I’ve also become a big believer in fate. Remember that old saying about people entering our lives exactly when you need them?
    On the other hand I believe we determine our own destiny.

  2. Rik says:

    nice article

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