Join us as the University of Mary hosts its annual Institute for Faith, Virtue, and Sport, bringing together coaches, administration, and others involved in athletics for three days of dynamic presentations and discussion on the characteristics and ingredients of success and greatness.

A Virtue-Based Approach to Athletic Excellence

The institute, held on the beautiful campus of the University of Mary, includes talks from experienced coaches, athletes, and clinical professionals from across the country. There are also panel discussions, meals, and socials which allow deeper conversations about the topics and to learn from others in the coaching profession.

The Institute for Faith, Virtue, and Sport offers:

  • Three-credit continuing education credit
  • Talks from accomplished coaches and athletes. In the past, we’ve had Matt Birk, former Minnesota Viking and Super Bowl champion, Dr. Larry Widman, psychiatrist and mindset coach, and Sabrina Little, professional trail and ultrarunner.
  • Networking opportunities.

2023 Institute — June 26-28

Monday, June 26

9 am — Registration
9:30 am — Welcome and Vision, Executive Cooper Jones, Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics; Executive Vice President, Jerome Richter
10 am — Virtue: So what, Fr. Jarad Wolf
10:45 am — Build Your Bench: Exploring coaching with a mentor-centered approach, Marcus Wagner
11:30 am — Discussion Groups
12 pm – Lunch at Crow’s Nest*
1 pm —
Dr. Link
2 pm — Wisdom from Coach Don Meyer, Jarrod Obering
3 pm — Discussion Groups
4 pm – Day Concludes

Tuesday, June 27

8 am — Mass at Benet Chapel (optional)
9 am — Keynote Speaker: Coaching 101 to 501: A Complete Survey, Coach John Stiegelmeier
9:45 am — 
Q & A with Coach Stiegelmeier
10:15 am — Running to Christ, Coach Alan Webb
11 am — Discussion Groups
11:30 am — Lunch at Crow’s Nest*
12:30 pm — 
Teaching Toughness, Coach Michael Silbernagel
1 pm — The Other 22, Kathryn Cooper
2:15 pm — Discussion Groups
3:30 pm — Coaches Social at Chestertons
4:30 pm — Day Concludes

Wednesday, June 28

8 am — Mass at Benet Chapel (Optional)
9 am —
Victory Beyond Competition, Coach Tracy Guerrette
10 am — Summary, Fr. Wolf
11 am — Lunch at Crow’s Nest
1 pm — Golf at Riverwood Golf Course (Optional)

*(all meals optional but complimentary with ticket)

Coach John Stiegelmeier
Coach John Stiegelmeier

Coach John Stiegelmeier, the winningest football coach in South Dakota State history, built the Jackrabbit program into a yearly contender within the Missouri Valley Football Conference and the Football Championship Subdivision, culminating with a national title during his final season in 2022.
Aside from coaching, Stiegelmeier is active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, serving on the state board of directors and as the organization’s SDSU faculty representative. He was presented with the organization’s Grant Teaff Award in 2016.
Stiegelmeier was further honored for his community service in 2019 as a Barefoot Coach of the Year honoree by Samaritan’s Feet International.

Coach Alan Webb
Alan Webb

Coach Alan Webb's credentials as a runner are unimpeachable. Webb is a three-time United States champion in the 1500-meter run, and represented the United States in the event in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. In 2007, he ran the mile in 3:46.91, a mark that still stands as the fastest mile ran by an American runner. He also possesses the mark for fastest mile run from a high schooler, clocking in at 3:53.43 in a 2001 race.
Webb also brings a bevy of NCAA Division I coaching experience, currently working as the new head coach of the Ave Maria cross country and track and field. His other coaching stops include the University of Virginia, Portland State University, and the University of Arkansas Little Rock.
Following his retirement from competitive running, Webb became a successful triathlete, ranking in the top 100 in the world in the International Triathlon Union World Triathlon Series in 2015, which included top-ten finishes in events in Tongyeong, South Korea, and Mooloolaba, New Zealand.

Kathryn Cooper

Kathryn Cooper has spent her professional career working with others as they pursue excellence. Most recently, she spent four years at a Power Five consulting student-athletes to create strategic alignment between their habits and goals while minimizing internal and external barriers towards their holistic development. Her focus interest in elite performance lies in leadership development and organizational design, namely by creating systems and cultures of success.  Cooper earned a Bachelor of Arts in Theology from Providence College and a Master of Nonprofit Administration from the University of Notre Dame.

Tracy Guerrette Headshot

Tracy Guerrette played Division I at the University of Maine while majoring in biology/pre-medicine. Upon graduation, she began teaching and coaching varsity sports at the high school level. Guerrette became the head women's basketball coach at UMaine Presque Isle, a NCAA Division III University. She also served as sports information director for the athletic department during this time. In 2011, She became an assistant coach at her alma mater, the University of Maine, serving as the director of women's basketball operations for the Black Bears. Guerrette has served in many capacities of ministry throughout the Diocese of Portland, Maine, and also played/coached on several missionary basketball teams which traveled throughout the United States and the world. In 2021, she earned a Master's in Theology from the Pontifical John Paul II Institute in Washington, DC. Guerrette is currently the director and manager of FIERCE Coach, a ministry that promotes true femininity in sports.

Dr. James Link

Dr. James Link is a licensed psychologist who operates a private practice in Bismarck. At the University of Mary, he serves as an associate professor of psychology as well as the Endowed Chair of Catholic Studies and coordinates o the university's Catholic Anthropology program. Link's professional area of interest has been in the integration of theology and psychology - both in theory and in clinical practice. His practice has focused primarily on individual and marital therapy, along with performing a wide range of psychological assessments and evaluations for numerous referral agencies and Catholic Dioceses in the upper Midwest.

If played as they should be, sports become... an ideal context for practicing many virtues.