Business leaders, you’re invited to West Virginia University.

The campus of the new Big 12 Mountaineers will be home to the inaugural leadership development series entitled “Developing Your Bench Strength,” a three-part symposium where attendees will benefit from standouts in the worlds of sports and business. Keynote speakers include Mary Lou Retton, Robert Nutting, Bob Huggins, Oliver Luck and Dr. Jose Sartarelli.

The series was developed through a partnership between WVU Athletics and the WVU College of Business and Economics. It consists of sessions that run Thursday evening through Saturday evening on each of three fall weekends, and includes 18 hours of leadership training, networking receptions and dinners, and access to scheduled sporting events.

The three weekends in the leadership series are Sept. 20-22, including tickets to the WVU-Maryland football game; Nov. 8-10, including a WVU-Oklahoma State game watch party at the Waterfront Place Hotel; and Dec. 6-8, including tickets to the WVU-Virginia Tech basketball game.

The speakers represent various aspects of leadership and success, all of whom have distinctive ties to West Virginia:
• Retton, from Fairmont, was the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in gymnastics
• Nutting, born in Wheeling, W.Va., has business interests in West Virginia and serves as Chairman of the Board of the Pittsburgh Pirates
• Huggins, a Morgantown native, WVU graduate and WVU’s head basketball coach, has 710 wins is ranked fourth among active NCAA basketball coaches
• Luck is WVU’s athletic director and was starting quarterback and a Rhodes Scholar finalist while a student WVU
• Jose “Zito” Sartarelli, Milan Puskar Dean at the WVU College of Business and Economics, had a 30-year career in top management for three Fortune 500 pharmaceutical companies.

Other confirmed speakers during the series include acclaimed WVU women’s soccer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown WVU Rifle Team head coach and 2012 Great Britain Olympic Rifle Team member Jon Hammond Marlon LeBlanc, head coach of the WVU men’s soccer team; WVU assistant football coach Daron Roberts Jill Kramer, WVU head coach of volleyball; and Sean Cleary, head coach of the WVU women’s track team.

“WVU is excited to provide this three-part leadership program,” said Luck. “The sports and business arenas have a lot of common ground, and this program applies concepts such as strengthening coaching and team-building skills, and development of a personalized leadership game plan into the world of business. The networking and training skills included in this program are ones that can be used in business every day.”

“The best leaders in the world will tell you that a portion of their most valuable learning experiences came from listening and watching,” Sartarelli said. “The speakers in this series are successful and inspiring individuals who exemplify outstanding leadership traits. Participants will get a look inside the life philosophies of these leaders and take away ideas they can implement in their own lives.”

For more information on “Developing Your Bench Strength,” including cost and other details, please visit or



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CONTACT: Patrick Gregg, (304) 293-5131