Lesher Speaker Series


Joe Montana and Stephen A. Smith

September 9, 2015

Joe Montana & Stephen A. Smith
The State of the NFL

Joe MontanaJoe Montana
Legendary NFL Quarterback

Widely considered the best NFL quarterback of all time, Joe Montana personifies performance excellence and personal integrity both on and off the field. Yet the word most closely associated with him is not winner — it's leader.

Joe Montana and the San Francisco 49ers won four Super Bowls and were the team of the 1980s. What they accomplished in football may never be equaled. Montana won more than 70 percent of the games he started during his 16-year career with the team and he is the all-time NFL Leader in quarterback ratings. Known for his agility, his vision, his extreme accuracy as a passer, and his capacity to retain and act upon staggering loads of information, Montana's excellence as a player is legendary.

He is one of the toughest quarterbacks ever to play the game and his trademark was unflappable poise in the clutch. "Joe Cool," as he was sometimes tagged, played with the same calm determination whether it was a scrimmage or the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl.

Twice named the NFL's Most Valuable Player, Joe led the 49ers to four Super Bowl wins, earning three Super Bowl Most Valuable Player awards. He was selected to eight Pro Bowls and named All-Pro five times. Joe retired from professional football in 1995 and in recognition of his achievements he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000.

He now brings his lessons of preparation, teamwork and performance under pressure to large and small business audiences as a popular motivational speaker.  Montana also teamed up with performance coach Tom Mitchell to write a book, The Winning Spirit: 16 Timeless Principles That Drive Performance Excellence, which was released in September 2005.

Joe is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, where he received a Bachelor's Degree in Marketing. He lives with his family in California.


Stephen A. Smith

Stephen A. Smith
Sports Journalist, Talk Show Host and TV Personality  

Respected for his candid commentary and accurate reporting, Stephen A. Smith has established himself as an authority in sports analysis, uniquely interjecting life experiences and athletic references to effectively communicate sports information to his audience for more than 20 years. Pulling no punches, Smith commentates on sports, athletes, politics and current events with his trademark candor and humor. From high school sportswriter to one of the nation’s most respected sports analysts and preeminent voice in the African American community, Smith credits tenacity and staying true to himself, as he continuously converts challenges into opportunities. Through experiences and interviews with legendary sports icons, such as Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, he garners valuable insight into leadership, goal setting and tough decision making that he relays to audiences with his trademark candor.

Less than 10 years after high school basketball reporting, Smith became an NBA columnist and then began his career at ESPN as an analyst on its premier basketball show, NBA Shootaround. His signature commentary style and accurate analysis landed him a spot on SportsCenter, ESPNews, his own talk show, Quite Frankly, and The Stephen A. Smith Show on Sirius XM Radio. He is also a regular guest on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, The Ed Show, Hardball and Fox New’s Hannity, presenting his authentic views on race relations, politics and current events.

With lessons learned from career highs and lows, Smith offers valuable insight into what it means to work hard to define and achieve success. Lively and confident, he inspires and engages audiences with firsthand insight into leveraging individual personal strengths to pursue one's dreams.




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