Want a free trip inside a Super Bowl team’s locker room? On Tuesday night, Penn’s undergrad student body got as good a glimpse as possible.
Aided by Penn Athletics, the University’s Undergraduate Sports Business Club held a panel discussion titled “Leadership Development Through Sports,” featuring a bevy of names headlined by two-time Super Bowl champion and current Wharton MBA student Justin Tuck. The panel — which also featured Wharton Sports Business Initiative director Kenneth Shropshire, Penn men’s basketball head coach Steve Donahue and 2007 Penn sprint football alumnus and current PNC Senior Vice President J.T. Hutchinson — covered topics ranging from how sports can teach leadership traits in other fields to how the desired traits in non-athletic job markets have changed over time.
“To pull this together, I was reached out to by [Penn Sports Properties Client Services Coordinator] Adam Goldberg. ... It was really his brainchild; he asked if I wanted to do something as kind of a talk for student development through sport,” junior and USBC President Jared Faust said. “So between him and working with Michael Hamann, who’s a senior here and also works in the athletic department, we were able to pull this together. We got a great group of speakers, and I really think it went pretty well.”
With such a star-studded cast of names — the two-time Pro Bowler Tuck being the most noteworthy — the crowd was thoroughly engaged the entire way, as all four figures shared some behind-the-scenes input on their respective careers.
Perhaps the highlight — or lowlight, depending on one’s NFL loyalties — came when Tuck talked a bit of smack to local fans, saying: “Not only were the [best leaders] motivated to get kids to be the best athletes, but also to be the best people, something I’ve always tried to emulate ... to all you Eagles, Cowboys, Redskins fans, there’s two Super Bowl rings in my closet because we did it the right way.”
But despite his surplus of jewelry, Tuck was far from the only accomplished sports figure in the room, as the USBC successfully managed to create a strongly balanced field of panelists. In addition to Donahue’s coaching experiences at Penn, Cornell and Boston College, all four speakers played college sports — Donahue played basketball at Ursinus and Shropshire played football at Stanford — giving the audience a diverse group of esteemed figures.
“It was [Penn Athletics] who reached out to Tuck and Hutchinson, and we were also looking for someone to come in and give the coaching side to counter Justin’s playing side, and given coach Donahue’s wealth of experience, he was a really good get,” Faust said. “The biggest thing is just making sure students get here, and when you have names like that on the panel, that was fairly easy to do.”
With approximately 60 students in the crowd, Tuesday was only the latest example of what’s been a fantastic semester thus far for the USBC. With events in recent months including talks with Atlanta Hawks assistant Taylor Jenkins, FOX MLB reporter Ken Rosenthal, 2000 Olympic wrestling gold medalist Brandon Slay and many more, it’s obvious that the rapidly growing club is on the rise.
“I think we’re going in a great direction. ... When it comes down to it, one of our main goals is to make sure that students know about the opportunities available in sports,” Faust said. “If we’re able to grow our club, fight that ‘Wharton mentality’ that it’s either consulting or banking, and make students realize that they really can do what their dreams are, it’d be awesome.”