Realizing the Dream…with a Twist with Dr. Derichard McCoy

Dr. Russell Strickland  [20:19]

And the dissertation God said, Oh, you don’t


Dr. Derichard McCoy  [20:24]

write exactly, exactly give you this to work on. Exactly. So I guess the chapter I’d get get to chapter three. And that’s when I ran to that brick wall. And I said, Oh, my God, I think at that point, it was maybe a year, then I was like, Okay, I can do this. I got the first two chapters on my own. Okay, I got it. But I just could not get beyond that second chapter. So I said, I need some help.


Dr. Russell Strickland  [20:56]

Yeah. Well, it’s like, you know, you got this background in football, when you’re weightlifting, right? Where you’re lifting whatever it is 200 or 300 pounds, whatever kind of lift you’re doing. And then you’re like, let’s put five more pounds on there. And your body’s just like, Nope. No, I can do this. Right. It’s one No, wait, you just get to that point where it’s like, it just seems like you’ve added so much when in fact, it isn’t really. But it’s, it’s right at that point where you just don’t know what you’re doing anymore. Exactly. Which isn’t that slight to anybody. Nobody’s done this before, when I woke up, you know, got birth out of the womb, like knowing how to write a dissertation. Right. So when you hit that point, yeah, it becomes really, really difficult. The learning curve is really steep.


Dr. Derichard McCoy  [21:41]

Yeah, it is it is and is. And that’s where I realized, I can’t do this on my own. I mean, I need some type of help some type of support, because I don’t I don’t know, like you said, I don’t know what I need to be doing. I mean, I don’t know where to go from here. So and then that’s when I actually was kind of looking around. It’s like, Well, you know, what, where can I find some help? You know, just kind of doing Google searches and trying to figure out, you know, who can help who can’t? And that’s what I ran across Dissertation Done. You know, and I gave you a call, and we set up a meeting, and everything worked out.


Dr. Russell Strickland  [22:23]

And my everything worked out again, Dr. McCoy, right. Yes, it did. It did. So. And so one of the one of the first things we did is actually with most of our students, is we set up what I call this, the instant roadmap for your dissertation. It’s all about chapter three. Because as I’ve worked with students over and over again, what I found is that if you know, when, when the school finally tells you, okay, Director go out and get your data and make some sense of it, you’ll tell us something about it, when they give you permission to do that. If you know what you’re doing with that, then you can get there. And so I like students to be able to have, you know, to be able to write down step by step, here’s how I’m going to get my data, here’s what I’m going to do with it. And if you can write that down, step by step, give it to somebody else, so that they could do it for you. They won’t, that’s not ethical. But if you can write it down like that, then you know what you’re doing well enough to take you right on through the whole process. And that’s, that’s a huge, huge jump to take, like you said, right there chapter three. So it’s not necessarily about writing chapter three, but just knowing what’s going to go into it is so important. Absolutely. I totally agree. So okay, so we got the plan down. And you actually had a very interesting time of collecting data. You happen to have access to a lot of these folks. So that’s the reason why we said to go ahead with this. But most people I don’t advise them to have this much fun on their dissertation. Right, exactly. tell folks what you did to collect your data because it was really cool. Yes, yes. Um, what I did my study was basically on college football, the between the two divisions, the highest level, which is the FBS, which is the football Bowl Subdivision for the guys and gals don’t know that the two sub are the two divisions in FBS are the power of five and the group of five I focused on the group of five programs and conferences. So what I did my my subjects came from all of the conferences in the group of five, which consisted of former players, current and former coaches, and current athletic directors. So yes, so I made some major relationships with the ladies that then agree to participate in my study. And that was really, that was really cool in there  And getting all those relationships and contacts with all these people that you want to work with. Exactly. That’s, that’s amazing. That’s awesome.


Dr. Derichard McCoy  [24:57]

And I thought, you know, going into it. I thought the ADs will be the most difficult trying to get. They were the easiest. They were the ones that reached out. before everybody else. Wow. Yes, yes. Yeah. So I was like, wow, that’s phenomenal. You know, but the coaches end up being the hardest because it was around spring, football time. So I had to kind of wait to after that was done for them to


Dr. Russell Strickland  [25:24]

Add some time. This whole COVID pandemic to Yes, absolutely. Obviously made things much easier. Yes, yes, yes, yes, absolutely. All right. So you had this, this, you know, amazing study that you’re able to do, you’re able to meet all these people develop all these connections, which is going to be so valuable for you going forward? Again, I usually advise people to not to try to do multiple things. So their dissertation, just get it done and graduate. But you were, you know, since you had some of those connections, you were really able to leverage that. And I thought that was that was really amazing. Yes, yes. So then once you collected the data, and everything, tell us what it was like, now we’re looking at recent history to actually get this thing pulled together, and, and defended and published.


Dr. Derichard McCoy  [26:09]

Okay. So basically, once I got all the data that I needed to get, I started to my coding process of breaking down the various information that we that we did, because all my interviews were conducted on zoom interviews. So I coded all my information through a, I guess, a program called tag roulette, which is awesome. I’ve never heard of that one, and also is free. So that kind of puts everything in perspective for me. So I was able to put together everything that I needed, as far as the coding aspect of it, and then everything kind of just room after that point, after I got my data and decoded everything correctly. I mean, everything was just kind of just kind of just came together like a magnet, you know,


Dr. Russell Strickland  [27:05]

I think you had a particularly good experience in that part in that phase of the study. But I will tell you that that’s the reason why we start with our students with this roadmap to your dissertation. Because if once you get to the place where you have collected your data, and you understand it, you analyze it, so you know what the data is telling you. You don’t have to write anything down, you just know it all you could talk about it. When you get to that point, you’re basically assured of graduating. Just before you get to that point, like all of you guys are listening know, it’s like a 5050 shot and some programs, it’s much worse than that as to whether you’re going to graduate or not. But that’s the point when you reach that where it’s it’s flipped the other way, and you’re going to graduate. And that’s what you experienced is like, okay, now there’s nothing standing in my way, I can just get work done. And then my committee is going to approve it, which they did very quickly. Not everybody has quite that same experience. But it’s always better at the dissertation approval stage than at the proposal approval stage. Everybody has that? Yes. So the fact that you’re saying that it just all sort of clicked together is really, really cool. But also fairly common for folks to know. You know, if you’re in that proposal stage right now you’re trying to collect your data or something, just know that once you’ve analyzed it, you are now over the top of the hill, and it starts to roll downhill from there. Yes, absolutely. still be some work. But yes, right side of things at that point.


Dr. Derichard McCoy  [28:31]

Yes. Yeah, I didn’t realize how fast everything will come together after that point. It really came together fast. And it was it was I was, like you said I was able to understand more, because like you said, the data was more clear. You know, I could just easily put it together.


Dr. Russell Strickland  [28:49]

Yeah, yeah, that’s the last thing like the the two last things that happen in terms of being real obstacles to finishing your dissertation are primarily, number one, getting other people to give you the data, because most of the folks we work with are in some sort of social science. And so they’re generally collecting data about people, and usually from people. So if you if you have other people that are need to participate with you, that’s something that can slow you down. So that’s, that’s you got that finished when you collected your data. And then analyzing the data. Conceptually, some people have a little bit of a hard time with that. So once it clicks, and you can talk about it and explain it. With that. That’s the last real hurdle. The rest of it’s just work. You do have to get your committee to approve it. But they’ve already approved your proposal that makes them much more likely to approve your final dissertation. There’s a lot of reasons we’ll be talking about why but just that’s just the way it is. You’re going to get much more quickly on the back half than you think you do on the front half. Absolutely. Very cool. So what was it like you defended the dissertation at the very end, they say, Congratulations, Dr. McCoy.


Dr. Derichard McCoy  [29:56]

You’re well at that point, you know, I’ll tell you guys that committee members are picky sometimes.


Dr. Russell Strickland  [30:06]

I don’t think anybody here knows what you’re talking about. Right?


Dr. Derichard McCoy  [30:10]

So it wasn’t right off the bat, just like that, you know, bass did have some things that they wanted me to kind of tweak and clean up just a little bit. Yeah. But it wasn’t anything major at all. So just kind of, you know, change this, or, you know, we’ll do this, you know, so, so it was kind of just a little tweaking here and there, you know, and everybody, you know, I had three committee members, um, well, one chair and two members, you know, everybody wants to have their, their their face over there, put their spin on it. So that was kind of slow hold up there. But you know, it wasn’t anything major,


Dr. Russell Strickland  [30:45]

When you go into your your dissertation defense, there’s, there’s basically three outcomes fail, which means that you have to do it over again, not the whole thing, you have to come back and defend again, they’re going to tell you when you got to come back and do it, again, is that you pass but they want you to do some things with conditions. And then the third is just to pass and we don’t want you to hear for anything else that’s done, right. I’m very, very, very rare for me to ever hear anybody failing. I know of two cases personally. And they were both due to some pretty profound stupidity on the part of the student who got somebody else to write their dissertation for them. And then he got it before going to the defense. I mean, that level of stupidity. And the other one, the committee kept telling him, listen, you’re not ready yet. Let’s do a few more things. And then you’ll be ready to defend. And he says, No, it says here, when I call the defense, you guys have to schedule it. And I’m like, you really going to go to a judge who says you’re guilty and say, I want to go ahead and go to trial right now. All right. I can convince me you’re not guilty, and then we’ll go to try. Those are the two cases I get that I know of offhand. Everybody else passes. And so the question is, do you get that conditional pass? Or that conditional pass? And for the vast majority of people, there’s some little tweaks that the committee wants, it’s always these as you don’t have to reschedule with him. You’ll have to see him again. You just have to do those few little things usually get it done in an evening. And then you’re done after that, right. Absolutely. Absolutely. So when did you that you were done? When was there a moment when you realize I’m actually finished? Now? I am Dr. McCoy now was there, like a epiphany that hit you something like that? You know what? I’m still looking forward, you know? Well, maybe when you see this thing online? Yeah. And you know, what that might be out there and everything. Maybe that’ll do it? We’ll see.


Dr. Derichard McCoy  [32:38]

Yeah, I mean, cuz now, you know, I get a lot of people, you know, referring me to doctor, but I’m still like, Ah, you know,


Dr. Russell Strickland  [32:46]

I’m not talking about that there’s going to be some kind of imposter syndrome for a while here. Like, I’m not really that we were talking about this before. Before we started the show today. You know, if you ever feeling a little bit too full of yourself, go back and talk to your kids. Go back. Talk to your family. They knew you when you were Richard, right? off this Dr. McCoy guy. Right? Absolutely. So so that there’s always going to be you’re going to be the same way. You’re like, I’m still the Richard I’m not Dr. McCoy. Right? Right. We knew that that takes some time. But to actually have that moment of realizing, I honestly cannot remember what it was for my doctoral degree. But I do remember my wife and I had a real hard time getting pregnant having our firstborn child. And there was a point when I was pulling into the backside of my neighborhood. And I started that, that, that turn, as somebody with, you know, married with a couple of dogs, but no kids finished. And I knew I was going to be a dad, like I knew it before. But it was at that moment, it actually really hit me. And I remember what that moment was when I got my doctoral degree because the two weren’t that far separated, actually defended a couple months after my son was born, because I’ve done or else. Wow, you’re right, exactly, though. Um, but do you? Did you have anything like that where it just hit you like, either at the end of the defense, or when you publish the dissertation? Or, at some point, somebody referred to you as Dr. McCoy. Was there any moment like that, where it just hit me that hey, that that’s who I am?


Dr. Derichard McCoy  [34:20]

Well, I think if I had to go back and really look at it, I think once that the publication will ProQuest and the other scholarly platforms, like wow, I’m really done. You know, I still kind of check every once in a while see if it’s up there yet, you know, but I think that’s best if I had to kind of say when I think when I got that email, congratulations, you know, you’ve completed the you know, publication and


Dr. Russell Strickland  [34:53]

I know another one Have you gotten your Did you order bound copies of your dissertation yet that but the actual book up Did Yeah, I did order that. Yeah, I should have probably haven’t come in yet have no not yet. That’s that’s another cool moment I had I got my only five copies myself. And then I opened one or two, maybe. But I did flip through it when it came in that first one. And wow, that’s that’s pretty cool. Well, yes, I’m looking forward to that. Yes, yes. But what’s next for Dr. McCoy. I know, we were talking about this a little a little while ago, you’re working with the, you know, coaches and players to help get them to the next level, you know, working on consulting with those group of five, college football programs, what other what opportunities have been coming your way? And how are you? How are you evaluating those at this point?


Dr. Derichard McCoy  [35:47]

You know, what is funny, but I’m kind of still waiting, I’m not sure. Like, because I realized I’ve never been, I mean, what makes me so happy. I’ve never been in a situation where I have so many options available. And I’m like, I don’t even know, what I want to do. Because I have so much that I can do. You know, I can teach it the higher level, you know, be a professor, I can work in the athletic department at the high level. I mean, I can console I can, you know, coach, I can, I can do you know, basically at this point, whatever I want to do, you know, but I’m like, What do I do? You know? And to me, that’s a good feeling to have.


Dr. Russell Strickland  [36:29]

It is and, you know, I think the answer to that is anytime you see something that looks good, try to say yes. You know, very few people regret saying yes. But a whole lot more people regret saying no. Right? Yeah, just when something comes up like that. You try to say yes, but But yeah, it really is amazing. That’s something that I wanted to hear one of our audience to hear about was just the number of opportunities that you have available to you, and the number of things that come up that you weren’t looking for, and you weren’t expecting, you know, some of the things that you mentioned, were fairly standard. A lot of people talk about teaching or you know, working in administration or something like that, right. But then there are other things that, you know, one of these ladies calls you up one day and says, Hey, Dr. McCoy, can you do such and such force? And you’re like, I never would have thought of that. But I’ll tell you, I know, when somebody asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, it never occurred to me is going to be helping people write their doctoral dissertations, right? Something I would have been listing in high school or even in college. Even in graduate school, I wouldn’t have thought this is what I’d be doing. These opportunities, just show up when you’re present. And when you’re when you’re prepared. And that’s the thing now that you’ve got that doctoral degree, you’re prepared for whatever comes your way.


Dr. Derichard McCoy  [37:45]

Absolutely, absolutely. It was very exciting, man. It’s very exciting.


Dr. Russell Strickland  [37:50]

Tell me, if you could tell folks that who are, you know, now, several months into their dissertation project project, but they’re looking at it, like you did a while back and said, You know, I don’t know if I can finish this thing. If you could tell them, you know, something about how to finish and why they should keep going, what would it be right now.


Dr. Derichard McCoy  [38:12]

First of all, um, this, this is a situation that you and that, once you start, you should want to finish that should be your ultimate goal. You know, don’t get fixated. I mean, at the beginning, don’t get fixated, fixated with an I need to finish ASAP, you know, go through the process, do what you can do. But when you can’t, you feel like you can’t get to that point or get over that that brick wall, then you need to get some type of pill, you know, and from there, you will see a big difference, you Everything will start to come together for you Everything will be more clear. Because everything will be breaking down to you. Where you’re able to understand the concepts and critical thinking styles that you’re able to portray in your dissertation.


Dr. Russell Strickland  [39:06]

Yeah, that’s awesome. I would even tell folks, don’t wait until you feel like you need help go out and get help as soon as you can. And I’m not saying that call me and they’ll help you. Maybe that’s the way we do it. I don’t know. Whatever that source of help and support is you need to latch into some sort of support structure that knows what the journey is and can help you through it. Logistically, what do I do operationally, what do I do next? How do I make this work, but also they’ve been there before they can kind of help you through it emotionally. This is what it takes to get it done. And we’ve seen other people struggle or other people, you know, doubt or anything like that. You can get past this in this way. Having both of those two types of support the emotional support of feeling comfortable and confident with yourself that you can do it and the operational support of shares. How to do it are absolutely critical. And of course, that’s part of what we do for our students. But I am not saying that as I’m the only way that you can get that level of support, go out and find something that works for you, whatever it might be. But don’t think that you’re going to do this on your own. You never know one woke up, you know, called crawled out of the womb, knowing how to write it up for a dissertation, they got it from someone else. And so understand that as quickly as you can, because you can get it from your committee, little by little with them knocking you back every time you send something out. And you’ll learn the hard way. Or you can latch into some people that will be supportive and help you through it. So that there’s still going to be some bumps and scrapes. But you’ll get through it a lot more easily if you’ve got some support. So definitely don’t don’t think that you should be heroic and get it done on your own. think that you should be smart, and get the help to get through this thing.

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Dr. Russell W. Strickland

RUSSELL STRICKLAND, Ph.D., has been referred to as a “rocket scientist turned management consultant.” In truth, he applies an eclectic body of work from astronomy and nuclear physics to dynamic inventory management to market research to each of his student engagements.