Coach Neal Brown rolls our character development program

West Virginia football coach Neal Brown on Thursday unveiled a new program to help players bridge into college, care for them while at WVU and then help them transition into life after being a Mountaineer.

MORGANTOWN — Coach Neal Brown is not only building football teams in his program as it enters its second year at West Virginia, but he plans to build men, too, out of his players as he introduced the “The 5th Quarter Program.”

This is an initiative that is at building the culture of the program by serving and developing “total Mountaineers,” according to the announcement that came on Thursday afternoon.

“We are here to develop young men,” Brown said in the release. “The 5th Quarter Program is an integral part of the WVU football student-athlete experience. We want to position our players for success on the playing field and for life beyond graduation.

“We want to develop the whole person in the mental, physical, tactical, technical and behavioral areas of their lives,” Brown concluded.

The plan has five parts, a couple of which have already been initiated. WVU recently announced an affiliation with brand marketing expert Jeremy Darlow to educate the athletes and develop their skills in growing their personal brands in an era when the NCAA is about to allow them to profit from their name, image and likeness.

The program also works with INFLCR, a program that assists the athletes with creative content to build their brands.

Here are the five areas of emphasis in the program, according to the release:

Character Development– WVU football student-athletes work to discover and develop their personal beliefs, habits, morals and ideals.The education areas include but are not limited to academic integrity, core value training, drugs and alcohol, healthy relationships and mental health and well-being.

Leadership Development– WVU football student-athletes discover their leadership style and develop a personal leadership philosophy.The education areas include but are not limited to accountability teams, individual development plan, speaker series, team culture building and a training retreat.

Real Life– WVU football student-athletes are educated on issues and topics they will encounter in everyday life.The education areas include but are not limited to agent education, financial literacy, nutrition, personal branding and time management.

Career Development –WVU football student-athletes are exposed to career paths, major exploration and practical career experience. The education areas include but are not limited to alumni engagement, internships, interview preparation, networking and resume building.

Social Responsibility – WVU football student-athletes positively impact society through civic engagement, social awareness and community service. The education areas include but are not limited to campus involvement, community engagement, cultural education, current events and youth programs.

WVU football is also offering as part of The 5th Quarter a program called the Bridge Program, whose goal is to introduce athletes to the college experience when they first enter WVU and then gives them their final training to prepare them to embark into life after graduation.

The Bridge program provides student-athletes with structured programming to assist in their transition to college and ultimately into their lives after college athletics. The Freshman Bridge program prepares the student-athletes to navigate college and educate them in the areas of college transition, academic preparation, campus resources, social development and more.

The Senior Transition Bridge program prepares the student-athletes to navigate life in the areas of mentorship, career preparation, identity development, personal finance and more.

“Football has given these student-athletes a valuable opportunity that is not afforded to everybody, but it is up to them what they do with it,” Brown said. “We are coaching them on the field to develop their physical skills within the team. With the 5th Quarter program, we are going to give them the tools and knowledge to build their confidence in a variety of areas while they earn their degrees. We are hopeful that the end result will allow them to be successful, productive and valuable alumni once they leave Morgantown.”

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel

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