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Many people enjoy watching professional wrestling on television for the entertainment value, but few realize that the men and women who commit their lives to the sport obtain real injuries in the process of entertaining. Larry Heck, a 1992 Waynesburg University graduate, addresses those injuries off camera.

 

For 12 years, he has traveled everywhere from Amsterdam to Afghanistan with the team of entertainers and has bandaged, stretched and rehabilitated hundreds of professional athletes. His work has built friendships with television superstars and has positioned Heck for a prosperous, fulfilling life doing what he loves.

 

“It's true what they say, ‘Find a job you love and you'll never have to work a day in your life,'” Heck said. “If that is the case I haven't gone to work in 12 years.”

 

When Heck visited his alma mater to speak to an athletic training class in March, he explained to students that his success has come as a result of hard work, humility and an attitude of continuous learning.

 

“I was in the very first class of athletic training at Waynesburg,” Heck said. “We were expected to come in and get our hands dirty from the very beginning.”

 

After graduating, Heck continued to “get his hands dirty” by taking every opportunity to learn from athletic trainers across the nation. He moved to Texas to take his athletic training licensure exam and volunteered at a local health sciences facility during the process so that he could continue networking and gaining experience. Connections from his volunteer work led him to accept a position within minor league baseball, then, minor league hockey.

 

Heck returned to the United States a few years later to coordinate outreach efforts about athletic training and health management for Health South, one of the nation's largest healthcare providers specializing in rehabilitation.

 

Twelve years ago, he received a call from the WWE and accepted a position training some of the world's best known entertainment athletes.

 

Now a veteran athletic trainer, Heck still remembers sitting in classes at Waynesburg University and wondering how he could build a successful career. When speaking to current students, he says that he wouldn't be where he is today without networking and continuously building his skill set.

 

Heck said he graduated with an amount of athletic training knowledge and skills that undergraduates at other Universities may never experience.

 

“One of the benefits of Waynesburg is the fact that it's not a large University; my biggest class was 24 students,” Heck said. “The athletic training program really helped me because I was able to start working immediately. In any field of athletic training, the more clinical knowledge and skills you have, the better it will help you to prepare for the future.”


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The Waynesburg University women's golf team finally opened the 2013 spring season Saturday, April 6, when it competed in the Thiel College Women's Spring Golf Invitational. This year's Yellow Jacket squad made team history, just by showing up in the team standings. For the first time since the spring of 2008, the Yellow Jackets competed as a full team and wound up placing fifth in the five-team field.

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Thomas Paulone resized 600

During the final 2012-13 meeting of the Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) Student-Athlete Advisory Council Tuesday, April 2, Waynesburg University junior football player and golfer Thomas Paulone was elected as the organization's vice president. The PAC SAAC is a committee made up of student-athletes assembled to provide insight on the student-athlete experience and to offer input on the rules, regulations and policies that affect student-athletes' lives on PAC member campuses.


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National Assembly resized 600

Excited to make a 1,700 mile journey across the country to benefit Waynesburg University's Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter, two students packed their bags and set out for Albuquerque, N.M., this spring.

 

Molly Winters, a sophomore public relations major from Beaver Falls, Pa., and Brittany Semco, a sophomore public relations and design major from Jamestown, R.I., attended the 2013 PRSSA National Assembly Thursday, April 4, through Sunday, April 7, hoping to bring valuable skills back to Waynesburg's Chapter.

 

The PRSSA National Assembly gathers every year to make influential, long-term decisions about the future of the Society. During this three-day conference, a new National Committee is elected, bylaws of the Society are reviewed and attendees are given the chance to participate in leadership training and networking.

 

Seeing their involvement with the National Assembly as a valuable resource for the Waynesburg Chapter, both Winters and Semco were eager to travel to the conference and experience everything the National Assembly had to offer.

 

“I was very honored to be able to represent Waynesburg University at a national event,” Winters said. “The opportunity left me with valuable ideas that I can share with our Chapter to better it and continue its growth. I made a lot of new friends in Chapters across the country that I can continue to share ideas with throughout the semester.”

 

Winters and Semco currently hold the positions of President and Public Relations Director, respectively, in the Waynesburg PRSSA Chapter, which was designed to enhance the education of public relations students.

 

“We are currently in only our third year as a Chapter, and we have become recognized by the PRSA Pittsburgh Chapter as one of the more aggressive and active Chapters in the region,” said Richard Krause Jr., chair of the department of communication and faculty adviser to Waynesburg University's PRSSA.

 




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John F. Wiley, the former Waynesburg University football coach who holds the highest career winning percentage in Waynesburg history, was a fundamental member of the Waynesburg community. In 1995, the late Yellow Jacket coach was forever immortalized on Waynesburg's campus when his moniker was used in the naming of John F. Wiley Stadium.

 

The beloved friend of the University passed away Monday, March 25, at the age of 92, leaving behind a legacy that will continue to inspire.

 

“He was one of the most important people in the development of Waynesburg University over the last century,” said Timothy R. Thyreen. “Without John Wiley, Waynesburg University would not be where it is today.”

 

Wiley grew up on a Greene County farm just along the West Virginia border. He attended Waynesburg University, where he played, and would eventually coach, football. During his time on the Yellow Jacket football team, Wiley played in the first-ever televised football game against Fordham University in 1939. That same season, he earned Little All-American Football honors.

 

In that first televised game, which took place at the New York World's Fair, Wiley kick-started his career with the NHL. Though noticed by a New York team, the talented young football player's plans to join the national league were interrupted by World War II.

 

After returning home from the Army, Wiley played tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1946 to 1950 and served as a scout for the team for a year. He traded his black and gold jersey for a black and orange one in 1951 by returning to Waynesburg University as the tenth football coach in program history.

 

As Waynesburg's head coach, Wiley instilled in his players the same values by which he lived his life. He coached with a smile and with an enthusiastic appreciation for the sport, but never let the game derail his sportsmanship or sense of perspective.

 

“He was more interested in the kids' development in academics,” said Thyreen. “All of his thoughts were on doing what was right; he had a profound sense of rightness.”

 

Thyreen remembers Wiley as a “Waynesburg man,” and said Wiley was the type of man that the University's 1849 founders envisioned students becoming upon graduation.

 

“There was no compromise in his integrity,” said Thyreen. “He was just a rock and steady, and yet he was a gracious gentleman. He would do what was right regardless of the consequences.”

 

Wiley compiled a 22-9-1 record in four seasons as head coach and his .710 winning percentage is the best in University history. He was also the first Waynesburg coach to defeat nearby rival Washington & Jefferson and is still one of only three coaches to accomplish that feat.

 

After his success at Waynesburg, Wiley took an opportunity to coach at another regional university, but his departure wasn't the end of his Waynesburg story: he served on the University Board of Trustees and as the Alumni Association president. He also received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University in 1989.

 

Thyreen, whose leadership has transformed Waynesburg University over the last two decades, said that without Wiley, Waynesburg's return to its original mission of 1849 would not have been possible.

 

“When people would want to put the brakes on [Waynesburg's] transformation, he simply said no. He would say, 'This is who we are and what we are – we are going back to 1849.'”

 

Much has transformed at Waynesburg since Wiley was a student and a coach – the stadium, for one, didn't bear his name back then – but he continued feeling a connection to the Waynesburg University community for his entire life.

 

“The college sure has grown, and it's getting bigger than ever – better than ever, too. I'm just so proud,” Wiley said in a 2009 interview. “My whole family went to Waynesburg; we all think of Waynesburg as home.”


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