NFL Player Engagement and Why Not Sports, Inc. hosted more than 500 local high-school students at Loyola University in New Orleans on Wednesday for the Super Bowl XLVII NFL PREP Sports Career Expo.
The program was intended to educate local youth on the sports industry and present viable career options for their futures. The speakers discussed leadership and the qualities of leaders, balancing athletics and academics and how to find a specific passion in the sports industry.
Why Not Sports, Inc. first hosted a Sports Career Expo in New Orleans in line with the Super Bowl in 2002 and has since joined up with NFL Player Engagement.
"It's such an honor to have the opportunity to come back to New Orleans and host this event leading up to the Super Bowl in New Orleans," said CEO and Founder of Why Not Sports, Inc., Nenette Chambliss. "These students have such a passion for athletics and we want to teach them that there are so many other careers in sports. If they don't make it on the field, they can pursue their passion for the game in many other ways."
The program was hosted by 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame Finalist Aeneas Williams and included remarks by William A. Smith, Board President of Why Not Sports, Inc., while the keynote address was given by former New York Giants wide receiver, and NFL Player Benefits Assistant, David Tyree.
Former Saints defensive back Leigh Torrence and Walter Smith held a trivia session before the students were able to attend a panel featuring six sports professionals with different backgrounds and experience moderated by Williams.
The panel included F. David Coleman (Director of Officiating, NFL), Darrell Guy (Executive Director, NFL YET), Shoshanna B. Engel (Assistant Provost for Student-Athlete Compliance, Tulane University), Dr. Michael F. Giorlando (Director of Athletics and Wellness and Head Men's Basketball Coach, Loyola University), Jim Garofalo (Director of GSSI Marketing, Gatorade) and Jarvis Green (Former NFL Player and CEO of Jarvis Green Foundation).
Students had plenty of opportunities to ask questions to both Tyree and the panelists about their job and responsibilities, how to make positive career choices and the paths they took. Mostly though, Tyree wanted to impart the importance of making good decisions for their futures and "working hard while nobody is watching."
"It's very difficult for young athletes to perceive that it is just for a very, very short time," said Tyree. "It's important for us to reach these kids at the high school level and teach them how to channel those pure emotions towards the sport to make them productive young men and women in the industry. We're hoping that today's event helped remind them to be diligent about pursuing life. If we're fortunate, sports will be a part of that equation."