Former Ole Miss walk-on football player and motivational speaker Richie Contartesi speaks to students at Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College on Oct. 2.

MOUNT GAY — At a height of just 5’7” and weighing 150 pounds, Richie Contartesi was never supposed to earn a full D1 football scholarship at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss).  

But that’s exactly what happened in 2009, and on Wednesday, Oct. 2, he was in Logan to share his motivational tips for success to students at Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College.

During the assembly, Contartesi shared his struggles with stress, anxiety and depression, recalling his parents’ divorce that resulted in him failing fifth grade. Despite his academic and physical odds, he overcame the challenges to fulfill his lifelong dream of playing college football, and now travels the globe delivering motivational keynotes where he outlines a four-step strategy of turning stress into success.

“I’m excited to be (at SWVCTC) to share how I was able to kind of push through some of those challenges – anxiety, stress, depression, not feeling like I had what I needed size-wise, talent wise, not coming from the best background, parents getting divorces, and just finding ways to, regardless of challenges and circumstances, to get to that next level and really get to where I wanted to go,” Contartesi said.

“I’m excited to be here today because I know there’s a lot of students here that have different circumstances and challenges and almost become a victim to those things that are holding them back, as opposed to fighting back and saying, ‘Hey, I’m not going to allow these things to control my life.’ ”

Contartesi added that it’s important to be patient with the process in the age of social media, where everything is so fast-paced.

He said he hopes the students take with them from his address a feeling of encouragement and newfound passion.

“I want the students to leave here today feeling empowered,” he said. “… some of the things that they feel are holding them back aren’t really what’s stopping them from moving forward in their life, and they can have what they want, and they’re still at an age where they can go out and make some really good choices and decisions and get what they want, and I’m really excited to share that with them.”

To learn more about Contartesi, visit www.richiecontartesi.com.

Dylan Vidovich is a news reporter for HD Media. Contact him by phone at 304-896-5196.