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Virginia coaches go back to school to learn business strategy from Darden

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The Darden Workshop provided a collaborative effort between Darden and Athletics, as well as between the various sports programs.

Virginia Media Relations

Several University of Virginia coaches put themselves in the shoes of their student-athletes this week, electing to attend a one-day class at Virginia’s Darden School of Business to discuss business strategy as it pertains to sport.

According to UVA Today, the program was the idea of Executive Associate Athletics Director Jon Oliver. Oliver’s main goal was to create and promote a strong bond between Darden and the Athletic Department, as well as create an opportunity for some of the University’s top coaches to share ideas. Michael Lenox, a professor of business strategy and a double Hoo (who also holds a PhD from MIT, so clearly a real slacker) led the classroom discussion.

In attendance were representatives from:

  • Women’s Lacrosse: Head Coach Julie Myers and assistant coaches Lindsay Rogers and Colleen McCaffrey
  • Men’s Lacrosse: Head Coach Lars Tiffany and assistant coaches Sean Kirwan and Kip Turner
  • Men’s Basketball: Head Coach Tony Bennett and assistant coach Ron Sanchez
  • Women’s Basketball: Assistant Coach La’Keshia Frett Meredith and Assistant Athletic Director for Operations Sarah Holsinger
  • Track and Field: Assistant Coach Martin Maric
  • Women’s Rowing: Head Coach Kevin Sauer
  • Field Hockey: Head Coach Michele Madison

Intern Kyle King and Senior Associate Athletic Director for Progress Jane Miller were also in attendance.

Lenox related discussion on business strategy to their experience in their specific sport, as well as introducing and analyzing a case study on the Chicago Blackhawks organization. The ability to study and assess an outside program allowed coaches to collaborate, while also providing insight that they could later apply to their respective sport and practices.

For many of the coaches, the opportunity at the Darden School of Business was a chance to hear how peer coaches addressed and solved problems, as well as helping build upon the bond they have within the athletic department.

The experience was invaluable for Tiffany, who along with Kirwan and Turner, took over the Men’s Lacrosse program just a few months ago after the legendary Dom Starsia parted ways with the University. Being able to meet and share ideas with his new co-workers and learn more about his new home was something that will benefit Tiffany and his staff as they look to promote the University to new recruits going forward.

The experience didn’t only benefit Tiffany, however, as Sanchez told Jeff White:

“So that was the good thing about it,” said Sanchez, who noted that the group included not only longtime Virginia coaches such as Myers and Sauer, but newcomers such as Tiffany, who came to Charlottesville this summer after 10 seasons as Brown’s head coach.

Tiffany is still “trying to figure some things out [about UVA],” Sanchez said, “but then he’s bringing things from other places, other institutions that he’s been at that were all really good academic schools. I think there was a back-and-forth there that was good.”

For more information and more quotes, check out this video from VirginiaSportsTV on the event: