Brownsville native Elko gives Packers a pregame speech
The Green Bay Packers turned to another great team to help them prepare for Sunday's Super Bowl.
West Virginia University alumnus Kevin Elko, a native of Brownsville, earned multiple degrees and is a member of two of the school's Halls of Fame.
Elko delivered a pregame motivational speech to the Packers on Saturday night.
A frequent consultant to pro and college teams, coaches and players along with businesses, he's also a regular guest on Chris Mortensen's ESPN "Mort Report." Elko developed a relationship with Packers coach Mike McCarthy during the regular season after Green Bay's upset loss to the Detroit Lions on Dec. 12.
Elko's relationship with WVU has deeper roots. A member of WVU's College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences Hall of Fame and its College of Human Resources and Education Hall of Fame, he turned to his alma mater for help with his Super Bowl message. Ian Connole, Jesse Michel, Pete Kadushi and Olivier Schmid, who are earning doctorates in sport and exercise psychology and masters' degrees in counseling, participated in several brainstorming sessions to help Elko shape his message. Obtaining a master's degree in counseling is a component to the CPASS doctorate.
"Those guys have been great; they know their stuff," Elko said.
Collaborating with the students provided a refreshing perspective, he said. Although he has extensive experience in public speaking and crafting motivational messages, the students' ideas were forged from the latest sport and exercise psychology publications, trends and research.
Their input was invaluable to his speech, Elko said, but not a surprise. WVU is recognized as a national leader in sport and exercise psychology training, he noted.
"What you find across the country is that certain schools are strong in certain things -- like Harvard Law is known as the premier law school," Elko said. "WVU is one of the leaders in the country and is well-known around the country in sport psychology. (CPASS Dean) Dana Brooks has really focused on developing the program and has made it special."
Ed Jacobs, an associate professor and coordinator of counselor education in WVU's College of Human Resources and Education, connected Elko with the students and remains a close friend and mentor to his former student. Jacobs is a frequent sounding board for his ideas and a valuable colleague, Elko said.
Rather than a traditional locker-room rant designed to prime the players' adrenaline, Elko's speech was geared more to calming the players and making sure their minds were focused on performance and team goals.