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The Art of the Deal 

Valrene and Roberto Vives on Let's Make a Deal. The segment is scheduled to run March 20, 2017. 

ALBANY, N.Y. (Oct. 7, 2016) – Roberto Vives and his wife, Valrene, were minding their own business, enjoying a quiet lunch with their daughter Ashley at an outdoor food court in Los Angeles when it happened.

A recruiter for the TV show Let’s Make a Deal approached the three of them to see if they wanted to be on the show. The show airs at 10 a.m. weekdays on CBS and is hosted by Wayne Brady. Ashley Vives, B.A. ’10, lives in LA and had to work the next day so she declined. Valrene and Roberto, UAlbany’s director of Men’s and Women’s Track & Field and Cross Country, decided to go for it.

When they showed up for the taping of the show on Aug. 18, they were chosen to make deals along with a few others out of about 100 people in the audience.

Roberto Vives was on his way back from Rio, where he coached UAlbany sprinter and hurdler Grace Claxton, who represented Puerto Rico. Claxton, UAlbany’s first female student-athlete Olympian, qualified to the semi-finals where she finished 5th in a personal best time of 55.85. Although she failed to qualify for the finals (8 qualify), she finished 14th in the world. She arrived to the Olympics ranked 42nd in the world.

“They did ask if I was in Rio since I was wearing the Puerto Rico Olympic shirt,” he said. “I told them in the screening process that I am a coach at the University at Albany and was coaching one of our student-athletes at the Games.”

Vives is now in his 32nd season at UAlbany. Under his leadership, the UAlbany track and field and cross country programs have won 43 America East Conference Championships and three IC4A Championships. The men and women swept the 2016 Indoor and Outdoor America East Championships. He served as Coach of Team USA at the 2015 North America, Central America and Caribbean Championship in Costa Rica. He also coached at the 2016 Indoor World Championships and Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.

During the screening, the show’s staff asked how he and his wife met.

It’s a pretty good story.

“My wife, Valrene, explained how we met only because I was doing a good deed for one of my athletes,” Vives said. “I was moving him from his mom’s home in New Jersey to temporarily live with me in NYC to get a job and hopefully go to college.”

The two made a stop at Vives’s alma mater, Seton Hall, because the student wanted to say goodbye to a friend. Vives also stopped to visit a friend, who happened to be in the same suite as his future wife.

At the time Valrene was under the covers in her bed, with her hair up in rollers.

“I graduated from Seton Hall a few years before so we would never have met if I were not helping the young man,” Vives said. “We have been happily married for 33 years.

Tune in to the show on March 20, 2017 at 10 a.m. on CBS to find out how Roberto and Valrene did on the show.

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