Mike Mravle ’97

Playing Field Gives Alumnus Leadership Skills Necessary for Success

Mravle’s favorite sport is soccer but he likes watching football and his favorite Chicago team is the Bears, with the Cubs coming in at a close second.

Former Fighting Saints soccer player Mike Mravle ’97 obtained his B.A. in Accounting and Mathematics from USF, and his degree has served him well. Mravle, who was recently named CFO of Wingstop Restaurants, Inc., loves his job and knows exactly what kind of determination it took to climb to the top.

One of the things that helped Mravle develop his leadership skills was sports. Mravle’s father introduced him and his older brother, Tony ’95, to the game of soccer when they were very young. Once they reached college, the brothers got the opportunity to play on the same college team at USF, led by coach Mario Dukovac. Dukovac encouraged his players to be leaders and to build enduring friendships.

Mravle fondly remembers the team’s annual fall trip—traveling to Florida twice and also visiting Boston and San Diego. He credits Dukovac for organizing the schedule so the team could play some competitive games but also enjoy some free time. “They were great times when we could bond and have some fun.”

Perhaps more a friend than a coach, Mravle feels Dukovac always cared about his players beyond athletic participation. He feels Dukovac helped him to get prepared for his career. The two of them still keep in touch today— 20 years later.

Though Mravle has “given up competitive sports due to getting old and having too many injuries,” he still plays sports with his kids and tries to coach their teams when possible. He also enjoys both cycling and mountain biking, which are his chosen forms of exercise these days.

In his career, Mravle is content.

“I get to manage great people, work in an outstanding and growing business, and interact with all kinds of stakeholders including franchisees, board members, shareholders, and bankers. One great thing about my job is that every day is different,” says Mravle.

Playing soccer not only enhanced his collegiate experience, but also helped him to learn the importance of hard work, preparation and adversity. He feels the lessons of leadership, teamwork and accountability that were learned through sports have remained applicable in all areas of his life—including his job.

Though he hasn’t lived in the Chicago area since 2006, Mravle remains involved at USF from afar as an alumni mentor—most recently giving guidance to Sebastian Thurner ’14, who is currently working on his graduate degree at USF. Thurner actually traveled to Dallas to do an internship with Mravle, who for obvious reasons was recently named “Mentor of the Year” within the student-alumni mentoring program.

He also keeps the Saints Connection alive through maintaining friendships with old friends from St. Francis—his two roomates, Eric Futterer ‘98 and Jim Hoff ’97—and great friends like Jason Swicionis ’98, DJ Birdsell Holmgren ’98, Shane ’97 and Shawn ’97 Green, Jason Blust ’98, Brian Sharp ’97 and Mike Kovas ’97.”

However, Mravle would have never gotten where he is today without the love and support of his family. He and his wife, Amy, will celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary this year and have three beautiful children. Mia (11) is in sixth grade and plays the flute and softball. Andrew (9) is in third grade, plays soccer, and just started playing flag football. Finally, Luke (4) will be head to kindergarten next year.

Fatherly advice from Mravle to current Saints who are playing sports and trying to maintain good grades: “It is challenging to focus on both but try to enjoy it. You will look back on your time in college and realize that it was one of the best times of your life. Give your best effort! Also, one of the things I loved about going to USF was the focus on Christian and Franciscan values. I encourage you to keep God at the center of your life, and through Him you will find happiness and salvation.