Two years ago, George Mason men's basketball coach Jim Larranaga brought in Mr. Long to work with his team, and Mr. Long was just as surprised as everybody else when they made their magical run to the NCAA Final Four.
"They were noted for their play on the court and their wit and charm in the media room, which led some national sports reporters to dub them 'media darlings,' " Mr. Long notes. "When we did the training, most of the team had never even spoken to a reporter. Credit goes to Coach Larranaga for realizing he wanted to prepare his team for the glare of the national media. They exceeded all expectations on the court and in the press."
Recently, Mr. Larranaga brought back Mr. Long to preach to his new players. This week — wouldn't you know? — the Patriots qualified for the upcoming NCAA tournament by beating William & Mary. Since opening four years ago, MVP has trained dozens of professional, collegiate and Olympic sports teams, as well as Indy Car and NASCAR drivers.
"This year two dozen of our clients will have played in either the men's or women's NCAA or NIT basketball tournaments, played in a bowl game, won the College Baseball World Series, competed in the Beijing Olympics, or made it to the MLS soccer playoffs," he says. "While we can't take credit for their performance on the field, we give them one less thing to worry about off the field by getting them ready for the media spotlight."
And how does this job compare to working on Capitol Hill?
"I have the best job in the world. I have to watch 'SportsCenter' every night," Mr. Long answers. "Can it get any better than that?"
John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on Townhall.com and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .
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