2012 March

Portraits of NCAA Basketball Champion Coaches Being Painted by Opie Otterstad

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Over the next year, artist Opie Otterstad will paint a portrait of the head coach who has won the National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball championship every year since 1939.

The NCAA commissioned Otterstad, the United States Sports Academy’s 2006 Sport Artist of the Year, to do 74 paintings in all. During an announcement of the art project at the Final Four in New Orleans, Otterstad revealed the first completed painting of former North Carolina Tar Heels coach Dean Smith as the coach looked on.

Opie Otterstad, 2006 Sport Artist of the Year, donated this portrait of former legendary North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith to the American Sport Art Museum and Archives.

Smith is pictured cutting down the nets—a basketball tradition—after guiding his team to a 63-62 victory over Georgetown for the national title 30 years ago, which was played in the Superdome in New Orleans. North Carolina’s Michael Jordan made a last-second shot for the first of two Tar Heel championships under Smith, whose 1993 team also won the national title.

“It’s a big project,” says Otterstad, who donated a black and white sketch of the Smith portrait to the Academy’s American Sport Art Museum and Archives. “I’ll have to do about a painting and a half a week. It’s taking up a whole year.”

Once Otterstad has finished painting each coach by April 2013, the 2-foot by 3-foot portraits will go on display at the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in Kansas City. The NCAA also plans to sell posters and prints of Otterstad’s pieces.

Otterstad says the NCAA first became interested in him doing an art project for the organization after he did a 50th anniversary painting for the California Angels that had 36 panels total.

“I’ve been on the NCAA’s radar for a while,” says Otterstad, who also has commissions from Major League Baseball and other sports teams and organizations.

Otterstad already has begun meeting and interviewing the college basketball coaches who are still living. Recently, he met with Florida Gators basketball coach Billy Donovan and former Villanova Wildcats coach Rollie Massimino, while in Florida for baseball’s spring training. Donovan’s Florida teams won back-to-back championships in 2006 and 2007 and Massimino’s Villanova team pulled off one of the greatest upsets in history by beating Georgetown 66-64 in 1985.

Otterstad says he wants to capture the essence of the winning coaches with unique and original works. He isn’t interested in copying any past images that were done.

“I don’t want someone to say, ‘Oh yeah, I loved that photo,’” he says.

In addition to the painting, the NCAA has hired an official photographer/research assistant to chronicle Otterstad’s progress on the paintings. The NCAA then plans to create a coffee table book about the yearlong project.

Academy Unveils Bronze Pelé Bust Created by Renowned St. Louis Sculptor Harry Weber

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The United States Sports Academy unveiled a bronze bust of legendary soccer player Pelé done by renowned St. Louis sculptor Harry Weber.

Retired U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Paul Hankins (left), the president of the Alabama Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (AAICU), and Mr. Robert Campbell III, Esq. (right), the Chairman of the Academy’s Board of Trustees, unveil the bronze bust of legendary soccer player Pelé done by renowned St. Louis sculptor Harry Weber. Also attending the event on Wednesday at the American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) in Daphne, Ala., were United States Sports Academy faculty and staff.

The unveiling Wednesday, March 28 at the Academy’s American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) in Daphne, Ala, was led by retired U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Paul Hankins, the president of the Alabama Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (AAICU), and Mr. Robert Campbell III, Esq., the Chairman of the Academy’s Board of Trustees.

“The sculpture is an inspiration to all soccer players and everyone young and old who knows of Pelé,” said Hankins, who worked to build a major soccer complex in Montgomery, Ala., that is scheduled to open this summer. “It is very special to have a replica of the Pelé bust here.”

The original bust of a smiling Pelé created by Weber, the Academy’s 2011 Sport Artist of the Year, was commissioned by Gabon President Ali Bongo and is now featured in the VIP section of the West Africa nation’s new national stadium in its capital city, Libreville.

Pelé was on hand for the unveiling of the sculpture in Gabon, which was part of a Feb. 9 dedication ceremony of the country’s new 40,000-seat Friendship Stadium during the African soccer championships. A photograph of “King Pelé” kissing the bust of him on the cheek circulated in newspapers around the globe after that ceremony.

A replica of the Pelé bust now also greets all entrants to ASAMA. Fairhope, Ala., artist Bruce Larsen, the Academy’s 2009 Sport Artist of the Year, constructed a pedestal for the bust that was installed by the university’s Matthew Cope and Robert Kline.

Weber’s sculptures of famous sports figures are prominent features at more than a dozen different professional and college stadiums, including Busch Stadium in St. Louis. He has installed monumental works in 12 different states and the Bahamas.

Hankins, who has grown AAICU into one of the best state independent college organizations in the country, is a longtime athlete and advocate for youth sports. Hankins recently put together a public-private partnership to build a major soccer complex in Montgomery, Ala., which is scheduled to open by the summer of 2012. He is also a member of the Central Alabama Sports Commission charged with promoting the growth of sports and sporting events in the central part of the state.

The Academy honored Hankins with a 2011 Distinguished Service Award for his leadership of an association that serves 14 independent higher education institutions in Alabama and for his tireless involvement in various non-profit and public organizations.

Campbell, who has served on the Academy’s Board of Trustees since 1993, is a senior partner for the law firm of Campbell, Duke and Prine in Mobile, Ala. He is recognized as one of the top education lawyers in the country and has argued cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Please Complete the Short Alumni Survey and Receive a Free T-shirt

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One of the most important events at the United States Sports Academy, as we reach the milestone of the institution’s 40th anniversary, is to get an idea of what our alumni are doing in the profession. YOU are what the Academy is all about.

The Alumni Survey is a simple one and should take you less than 10 minutes to complete. It has also been designed in two parts: 1) an anonymous first part seeking details of your professional development; and 2) a second part that is attributable, so we can reach out to you when the survey is done and send you an alumni T-shirt that we promised you for your participation.

The closing of the survey is April 3. You can reach the survey sent out on March 20 by clicking here or copying and pasting this link in your web browser: http://jotformpro.com/form/20676228204955

The Institutional Effectiveness Committee conducts an Alumni Survey every five years. It provides vital data so that the Academy can better understand and meet student expectations, and to assess our academic programs for our students.

This is also an opportunity for alumni to update their contact information and to help continue to grow the Alumni Association. Membership to the association is free. Once you join the Alumni Association, you are entitled to an Alumni discount of 10% on Academy branded apparel and other merchandise. You can shop online with our secure shopping cart at our online bookstore.

By doing these two easy things, graduates can receive future alumni updates and connect with other alumni and current students, while also informing the Academy of post-graduate successes.

Please update your contact information by:

Website: www.ussa.edu/alumni/

Email: alumni@ussa.edu

Phone: (251) 626-3303

Fax: (251) 621-2527

Smart phone:

 

Please join the Alumni Association by:

Website:  www.ussa.edu/alumni/

Alumni Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/groups/8529483235/

U.S. Olympic Sport and Art Contest Finalist Donates Sculpture to Academy’s Museum

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She has been called the “Woman of Steel” for all the muscle she uses to transform various types of metal into magnificent works of art.

"World Connected" by sculptor Betty Hoenshell Younger.

Betty Hoenshell Younger recently donated one of her latest stainless steel sculptures, “The World Connected,” to the United States Sports Academy’s American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA). The shiny piece was a runner up in the sculpture category of the recent U.S. Olympic Sport and Art Contest, which  ASAMA ran for the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) for the fourth straight Olympiad.

Younger’s latest Olympic artwork has a shiny silver color. It is cylindrical, like a vase, with one ring rising out of the top. There are five rings, or circles, on the piece representing the five intertwined rings used to symbolize the Olympics. The Olympic rings stand for the five parts of the world.

The piece is now on display in ASAMA’s main gallery in Daphne, Ala.—the largest museum of sport art in the world. It sits alongside another sculpture Younger did in 2008 for the U.S. Olympic Sport and Art Contest called “Olympic Spirit,” which she also donated.

The prominent Bakersfield, Calif., artist earned a Silver Medal in the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) international  art competition in 2000. Her sculpture “The Flame,” is on display at the Olympic Art Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland. It was purchased by the late IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch, for the permanent art collection of the museum.

Now in her 70s, Younger is as busy as ever finding pieces of scrap metal and molding them into art with her industrial strength welding equipment and by cutting, shaping, polishing and painting the different types of metal that include stainless steel, bronze and copper.

“I like to challenge myself. My art is a mental challenge for me. It’s stimulation,” Younger explains. “I have always loved metal. It’s the most lasting form of art.”

Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich with Betty Younger's two donated Olympic pieces.

Her major works of steel sculptures have been done for architects, builders, businesses, cities, malls, shopping centers, museums and private homes. More than 20 of her sculptures are displayed prominently around the city of Bakersfield. She also created a permanent sculpture garden there and runs a gallery as well.

Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich says Younger’s works are brilliant. Dr. Rosandich, who sits on the IOC’s Culture and Olympic Education Commission, has been selected by the IOC to be on the jury in June for the international art contest that includes entries from more than 40 countries. The winners will be displayed at the 2012 London Games.

“Betty (Younger) is an outstanding artist and obviously a great human being,” Dr. Rosandich says. “We thank her very much for her generosity. We are ecstatic that her beautiful sculpture is now a part of our permanent collection of art.”

Congratulations to Our Newest Graduates!

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With rolling enrollment, the Academy’s students start their courses as soon as they are accepted without having to wait for the next semester to begin. The Academy is proud to announce its latest monthly graduates.

Bachelor’s Students

  • Jonathan Toriano Edwards (Silas, Ala.) – B.S.S. Sports Coaching
  • Robert Kyle Headrick (Hattiesburg, Miss.) – B.S.S. Sports Coaching
  • Valerie L. Taylor (Virginia Beach, Va.) – B.S.S. Sports Studies

Master’s Students

  • Latasha Shunnette Bailey (Atlanta, Ga.) – M.S.S. Sports Medicine
  • Marvin V. Harris (Shreveport, La.) – M.S.S. Sports Management
  • Lloyd L. Longeway (Sonora, Calif.) – M.S.S. Sports Coaching

Doctoral Students

  • Timothy P. Devinney (Akron, Ohio) – Ed.D. Sports Management Human Resources Management 

ESPN Multimedia Journalist Rick Reilly Receives the Academy’s 2011 Ronald Reagan Media Award

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Rick Reilly, a longtime sportswriter for Sports Illustrated and ESPN.com, author of 10 books, ESPN and ABC sportscaster and television host, and sports connoisseur, received the United States Sports Academy’s 2011 Ronald Reagan Media Award.

Rick Reilly (right), an ESPN writer and sportscaster, recently received the Academy's 2011 Ronald Reagan Media Award from Dr. Gary Cunningham, an Academy Board of Trustees member.

During his 30-year career, Reilly’s insightful sports commentary has informed millions of readers often making them laugh out loud and sometimes angry, but always entertained.

Reilly received the award Tuesday, March 13 in a presentation at his Hermosa Beach, Calif., home from Dr. Gary Cunningham, an Academy Board of Trustees member and former University of California, Santa Barbara director of athletics.

Reilly said he felt undeserving of the award given all of the prominent media representatives who have won it in the past but was honored. “It is my pleasure and privilege,” Reilly said. The always humorous Reilly added: “Although, when I wear my medal to the grocery store, people might give me funny looks.”

The Academy’s Ronald Reagan Media Award, named in honor of the 40th President of the United States, is presented annually to an individual for outstanding contributions to sport through broadcasting, print, photography or acting. The individual, like this year’s award winner, should exhibit imagination, excitement and genius in kindling a keen public interest and appreciation for the role of sport in modern society.

Currently, Reilly writes the “Life of Reilly,” column for ESPN.com and hosts ESPN’s “Homecoming,” a unique TV show that is a one-on-one interview shot in the hometown of an A-list athlete, such as Magic Johnson, Michael Phelps and John Elway, in front of a few thousand of the athlete’s closest friends, family and teammates. In addition, he is a television essayist for all of ESPN and ABC’s major golf coverage and is a contributor to SportsCenter. Reilly recently authored his tenth book, “Sports from HELL,” which was his quest for the stupidest sport in the world.

Reilly’s career included 23 years with Sports Illustrated, including the last 10 years there writing the first signed weekly opinion column in the magazine’s long history. His work has earned him numerous awards, including being voted National Sportswriter of the Year 11 times and the New York Newspaper Guild’s Page One Award for Best Magazine Story. He also won the 2009 Damon Runyon Award for Outstanding Contributions to Journalism, an honor previously won by Jimmy Breslin, Tim Russert, Bob Costas, Mike Royko, George Will, Ted Turner and Tom Brokaw, among others.

He not only writes about sports, he participates. Reilly survived (twice) the running with the bulls of Pamplona, Spain, in July 2010. He has flown upside down at 600 miles per hour in an F-14, jumped from 14,000 feet with the U.S. Army Parachute Team, driven a stock car 142 miles per hour, piloted the Goodyear blimp, competed against 107 women for a spot in the WNBA, worked three innings of play-by-play for the Colorado Rockies, bicycled with Lance Armstrong, driven a monster truck over six parked cars, worked as a rodeo bullfighter, and found out the hard way how many straight par 3s he’d have to play before he made a hole in one (694).

Besides his many other projects, Reilly is the founder of the anti-malaria effort Nothing But Nets (NothingButNets.net), which in partnership with the United Nations Foundation has raised nearly $32 million to hang mosquito nets over kids in Africa, where 3,000 children die every day of the disease.

People, Places and Programs

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Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich has been reappointed by Jacques Rogge, the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), to the IOC’s Culture and Olympic Education Commission. Dr. Rosandich continues to be the only American serving on any of the IOC’s commissions.

Dr. Jordan Moon, the Academy’s Department Head of Sports Fitness and Health, made a presentation, “Are all calories created equal?” which looked at how human bodies treats different foods, at the 2012 Arnold Sports Festival and Strength Training Summit in Columbus, Ohio.

Mina Papatheodorou-Valyraki, the Academy’s 2002 Sport Artist of the Year, pictured with some of her paintings. The National Art Museum of Sport (NAMOS) in Indianapolis will exhibit her Formula 1 works in April.

Betsy Smith, the Academy’s Director of Academic Administration and Continuing Education, earned the Professional Tennis Registry (PTR) Member of the Year for Alabama during the 2012 PTR International Tennis Symposium in Orlando, Fla.

Dr. Dave Shrock, an Academy national faculty member and 2009 doctoral alumnus, was selected by USA Track & Field to coach the men’s distance runners at the 2012 IAAF World Indoor Track and Field Championships in Istanbul, Turkey. Shrock is a long-time professor and former track coach at Modesto Junior College in California.

Judy Sweet, one of the first women to serve on the Academy’s Board of Trustees and who holds an honorary doctorate, was recently selected by the Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal as one of  six of its magazine’s “The Champions: Pioneers and Innovators in Sports Business.” The award recognizes leaders who have devoted their careers to building and shaping the sports industry.

Mina Papatheodorou-Valyraki, the Academy’s 2002 Sport Artist of the Year, will have an exhibit of her Formula 1 paintings featured at the National Art Museum of Sport (NAMOS) in Indianapolis beginning in April and running through the Indianapolis 500 race.

Ng Ser Miang, who was presented the Academy’s Distinguished Service Award last year for his role in the successful staging of the inaugural Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Singapore, is considering running to replace Jacques Rogge as the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 2013. The 62-year-old Ng Ser Miang was elected as a member of the IOC in 1998 and is currently one of the organization’s four vice presidents.

Ann Meyers Drysdale, the 2006 winner of the Academy’s Ronald Reagan Media Award, served as the keynote speaker for the week-long National Girls & Women in Sports Day Celebration at the University of Texas at El Paso. Meyers Drysdale was a four-time All-American basketball player at UCLA and she is a standout broadcaster, having worked four Olympics during her TV career.

Academy Meets with Henan University Delegation on Creating Sports Programs in China

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The United States Sports Academy and Henan University officials recently met to discuss the creation of sports programs in China as part of the physical education and sport department at the school, which is one of the oldest in the country.

Pictured from left to right are Audrey Liu, the Academy’s liaison in China, Yang Jun, president of Henan's College of Physical Education and Sport, Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich, and Hong Hao, vice president of the Henan college.

Henan, the Shaolin Temple and the Academy are working together to create a new sports education program.  Henan University, which is one of the most prestigious universities in China and is celebrating its 100th anniversary, would provide the land for a new sports academy, while the Shaolin Temple would fund the endeavor. The Academy would be responsible for providing the academics.

“I thought our meetings were meaningful as we explored the many ways that we could and should work together,” says Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich. “It is clear that both of our universities have a desire to move forward across a very broad front, along with our mutual friends at the Shaolin Temple.”

Development of a sports program with Henan University started following the Academy’s work since 2006 with his Holiness Abbot Shi Yongxin, leader of the 400 million Chan Buddhists, and the Shaolin Temple to develop a course that introduces Shaolin philosophy and history to people online across the globe. That course, “The Philosophy of Shaolin Kung Fu,” which is based on a 1,500-year-old manuscript that the Abbot gave to the Academy during his visit to the Academy’s campus in November 2006, is available as a continuing education or bachelor’s course to students interested in learning more about Shaolin’s key tenets.

Henan’s Yang Jun, president of Henan’s physical education and sport college, and Hong Hao, vice president of the college, report that one of the interests would be in establishing a Shaolin Kung Fu program. In fact, at Yudo University in South Korea, four deans there who have Academy doctorates teach martial arts in such a program.

In addition, the Academy and Henan are working on other programs at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels. For example, the Academy could begin sending professors to Henan to teach Sports Management, which the Academy has done in more than 65 countries throughout the world.

The Academy is also currently working with both Zhengzhou University and Jack Guo of WorldTeam Sports on the development of other sport education programs or sports institutes in China.

Sport Artist Opie Otterstad Donates Two Paintings to Academy’s Museum

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Opie Otterstad, the Academy’s 2006 Sport Artist of the Year, donated two unique pieces of artwork to the American Sports Art Museum and Archives during his recent annual trek to baseball’s spring training in Florida.

This portrait of legendary golfer Ben Hogan by painter Opie Otterstad is done on thousands of tees.

The donated works include a portrait of American golfer Ben Hogan, who is considered one of the greatest players in the history of the game. Otterstad uniquely painted Hogan on golfing tees. Hogan won nine career professional major championships to rank fourth all-time and he is one of only five golfers to have won all four major championships currently open to professionals. The Hogan piece was the first of 27 similar portraits of golfers on tees that Otterstad created.

Another painting donated by Otterstad, “The Take,” is painted on fence posts and depicts the eight Black Sox players involved in throwing the 1919 World Series to the Cincinnati Reds. In “The Take,” Otterstad painted the players according to their heights to coincide with the first eight notes of the unofficial anthem of baseball, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” The players appear like bar notes on a sheet of music of the song, whose first and eighth words are “take.”

Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich thanked Otterstad for the clever pieces that came from the artist’s Austin, Texas, home. Both works are currently on display in ASAMA’s Main Gallery in Daphne, Ala., which holds the largest collection of sport art in the world with nearly 2,000 pieces. The sport art museum is open free to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays.

Rosandich says Otterstad’s paintings will become part of an exhibit beginning in August at the Wiregrass Museum of Art in Dothan, Ala. It will feature seven of the Academy’s Sports Artist of the Year who are from the South.

Opie Otterstad (left) and Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich (right) hold, "The Take," painting of the eight Black Sox players who were involved in fixing the 1919 World Series.

“The art pieces of the great golfer Ben Hogan and the Black Sox Scandal that almost brought down baseball are very special,” Dr. Rosandich says. “This is a very significant donation, and I sincerely thank Otterstad for his generosity.”

Otterstad, who was born in Texas in 1970, is a prolific painter of historic athletic events.  His career includes more than 800 paintings since 1993 of the world of professional sports stars and celebrities that include portraits of individuals and teams alike at their most celebrated moments.

As part of his visit to the Grapefruit League for spring training, Otterstad reports he will unveil in Jupiter, Fla., to the St. Louis Cardinal a 70-foot by 50-foot commissioned painting depicting the team’s championship in the 2011 World Series over the Texas Rangers.

Otterstad, who is a huge baseball fan, says his idea for “The Take” came about during his ongoing research on his favorite player of all-time, Hall of Famer Tris Speaker. Otterstad is known as one of the top experts on the legendary centerfielder who played for the Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians. Otterstad even named his son, Tris.

“I’ve done a lot of research on that time period of baseball,” Otterstad says. “The history is fascinating to me.”

 

The Academy is Celebrating 40 Years of Excellence in Sport Education

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As the United States Sports Academy enters its 40th year as the only free-standing, accredited sport university in the United States, it is also significant to note that this year will see the college confer its 4,000th Master of Sport Science degree. Both milestones are truly remarkable and a cause for celebration.

Celebrating 40 years of excellence in sport education.

The Academy was founded in 1972 in the wake of two seminal events in the history of American sport—the U.S. Olympic team’s dismal performance in the Munich Olympiad and the publishing of the Blythe-Müeller Report. The result was the realization by the leadership of the Academy (the founding CEO and three of the five founding board members still serve the institution) that the answer to improving the skill levels of coaches and the performances of athletes was better sports education. Thus, the Academy was born on April 22, 1972.

The Academy began as a special-mission graduate institution, offering master’s degree programs in sport disciplines and quickly became known around the world as “America’s Graduate School of Sports.” It had a Master of Sports Science degree in Sports Coaching, Sports Fitness, Sports Management, Sports Medicine and Sports Studies.

While the course content of these programs has evolved over time, the overall structure of the master’s degree programs has remained remarkably unchanged and true to its founding principles. The philosophical underpinning was the integration of sports science theory taught in the classroom combined with a strong experiential component called the “mentorship.” This allowed students to apply these principles under the guidance of an established professional in the field.

While the mentorship remains the preferred means for Academy students to prepare for the profession, the university also accepts a research thesis and a “three-course emphasis,” which allows students to receive additional online education in a specialized area of sport.

From day one, the Academy has always had a non-traditional orientation. Students could take traditional classroom-based instruction, experiential education through the mentorship, and correspondence study for those who could not relocate or give up employment to purse their educational aspirations. Then more than a decade ago, the Academy became among the first colleges in the nation to embrace the web for distance learning. The university became recognized for its innovation in this area, becoming among the few, for example, that were selected to participate in the U.S. Department of Education’s Distance Learning Demonstration Project. Today, virtually all of the Academy’s students pursue their degrees through web-based instruction.

The Academy has grown into “America’s Sports University” with the addition of both bachelor’s and doctoral degree programs. With more than 4,300 graduates total at all three degree levels and thousands more who have benefited from its non-degree programs, the Academy has had a profound impact on sports in this country during its 40 year history. Even more gratifying is the fact that more than 75% of Academy graduates work in the sport profession. The Academy is proud of the accomplishments of its alumni and looks forward to many more years of excellent service in the future.

Please visit our website for more information on the Academy’s academic programs.

Academy Seeking Athletes to Undergo Free Body Composition Testing for Major Study

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Stephen Okai is a two-time NAIA All-America soccer player but the University of Mobile midfielder always wants to improve his game.

That meant spending four hours on a recent Friday afternoon at the United States Sports Academy’s Human Performance Lab where Okai and about 20 of his Rams teammates received comprehensive testing to learn detailed information about their body fat and muscle mass, as well as the precise amount of calories they should be consuming to gain muscle or lose fat.

The testing is part of a major study by the Academy on body composition. The sports university is offering more than $500 worth of free testing to about 420 recreational, amateur and elite athletes who are interested in their fitness. All male and female athletes between the ages of 14 and 65 are eligible for testing at the Daphne, Ala., school.

The 22-year-old Okai says he was excited about getting the results of his study.

“I’ve never done anything like this before,” says Okai, a junior who is from Accra, Ghana. “I’m interested in knowing the consequences of the supplements we take. It’s definitely worth it to me to find out more about my body.”

Mobile men’s soccer coach Dr. Roy Patton was even more interested in analyzing the in-depth body composition data that each athlete receives immediately following the completion of the tests. Patton, who earned his doctorate in Sports Management in 2002 from the Academy, plans to use the information to evaluate the Rams’ training regimen and to help create individualized programs for his players. The team finished the season ranked No. 4 in the country and reached the Round of 16 at the 2011 NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championships.

Dr. Jordan Moon (left), the United States Sports Academy’s Sports Fitness and Health department head, weighs University of Mobile goalkeeper Kyle Buxton (right) in preparation for using the BodPod Body Composition Tracking System to measure his body fat and lean body mass. The Academy is offering $500 worth of free testing to 420 recreational, amateur and elite athletes for its body composition study

“This is high-quality testing that will help us reinforce and design our training program,” says Patton, who is in his first year as coach of the elite NAIA team after successful stints at the University of South Alabama and other colleges. “Any coach worth his salt must stay up-to-date with sports science. This helps us and our athletes understand their own strengths and weaknesses.”

Dr. Jordan Moon, Department Head of Sports Fitness and Health, and Dr. Enrico Esposito, Chair of Sports Medicine, are heading up the Academy research that is examining more than a dozen devices and techniques that measure body composition to determine which ones are the most accurate.

“This data will help those athletes, and athletes all over the world, to choose which devices are more accurate measurements of body composition,” Moon says. “The validity and accuracy of many devices are unknown for most athletes because athletes’ bodies are more developed and different from the average persons.”

For instance, the Mobile soccer players, like other volunteers, go through tests at eight stations. They include, for example, the newest high-tech version of the BodPod Body Composition Tracking System. The BodPod uses the same principle as underwater weighing—the accepted gold standard for measuring body composition. However, with the BodPod no one gets wet because it uses air displacement. The BodPod performs three tests, each lasting about 40 seconds, to glean information regarding body fat and lean body mass.

Kyle Buxton, a 22-year-old senior goalkeeper for Mobile, says that he enjoyed the testing.

“I’m a biology major, so it’s very cool to me to see this whole process,” Buxton says. “Plus, I’ll do whatever I have to do to figure out how to be as fit as I can.”

At another station that is definitely low-tech, researchers take 66 measurements from the shoulder down. The measurements include using a Lange Skinfold Caliper, which is widely used by healthcare and fitness professionals. The calipers measure the thickness of fat and skin that is pinched and pulled away from the muscle. This technique is performed on eight different places on the body: triceps, chest, subscapular, axilla, abdominal, suprailium, thigh and calf.

Besides learning detailed information about their body fat and muscle mass, those who volunteer for the study will receive information on segmental fat and muscle mass, such as the amount of muscle in their legs, arms and trunk, Moon points out. He says the detailed results can greatly assist in determining and developing effective nutrition and training regimens.

So far, the University of South Alabama track and cross country teams both have gone through the testing, as well as triathletes from TeamWorks Community and the Gulfcoast Triathletes. Although mostly local college athletes have participated so far, youths and seniors are needed for the study, too.

University of Alabama sprinter Camilla Armstead says all the testing is invaluable to her and that she feels she knows her body much better now. She recommends that others make sure to take advantage of this great opportunity.

“The testing procedures were very thorough and included some of technology’s most advanced equipment and devices to assess body composition,” says the 21-year-old senior. “As an athlete, this testing is critical to me. I will definitely use all the information to help determine the nutrition in my diet and my exercise routines.”

Slots are filling up fast but more volunteers are still needed to complete the study that ends in April. Groups, teams and individuals interested in their fitness are encouraged to come in for the testing that can be arranged any day of the week at the university’s lab in Daphne.

For more information or to sign up for the Academy’s study, please contact research@ussa.edu or call 251-626-3303, ext. 7155. To view or download a flyer about the study, please visit http://goo.gl/kKNh8.

Rising Sports Stars Lin and Korda Selected as the Academy’s Athletes of the Month for February

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The sensational play of new phenoms Jeremy Lin, a 23-year-old New York Knicks point guard, and Jessica Korda, an 18-year-old who won her first women’s golf tournament, earned them selection as the United States Sports Academy’s February Athletes of the Month.

New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin.

Lin, who is of Asian descent, became an unlikely National Basketball Association star. The former Harvard standout cut by two NBA teams scored 25 points and dished 7 assists in his first start Feb. 4. He then led the Knicks on a seven-game win streak. In his 13 starts in February, Lin averaged 22.3 points per game and 9.8 assists per game. He scored 38 points and added 7 assists against the Los Angeles Lakers and totaled 28 points and 14 assists against the Dallas Mavericks. Lin’s play has been called “Amasian” and sparked worldwide interest that has been labeled “Lin-sanity.”

Meanwhile, Korda recorded a breakout win in the Women’s Australian Open at Royal Melbourne. The teenager won her first Ladies Professional Golf Association tour title by making a 25-foot birdie putt on the second extra hole of a six-player playoff. After losing the lead, Korda fought back to take the last spot in the six-player playoff, which matched the largest in LPGA tour history. Korda closed with a 1-over-par 74 to finish at 3-under 289 for the tournament. Her victory in only her 16th start as an LPGA member made her the sixth-youngest winner in LPGA history and the fourth youngest to win a 72-hole event.

American golfer Jessica Korda.

The public is invited to participate in the worldwide Athlete of the Month nomination and ballot voting processes. Visit the Academy website at www.ussa.edu to submit your nominations each month, and then return to the website between the first day and second Tuesday of each month to vote on the male and female Athletes of the Month. The votes along with the Academy’s selection committee choose the winners and they are announced on the Academy’s website and in the online edition of The Sport Update.

Finishing second in the men’s category was New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who won his second Super Bowl Most Valuable Player award. He led the Giants down the field on an 88-yard, game-winning drive to help  his team win the Super Bowl, 21-17, over the New England Patriots. Manning completed 30 for 40 passes for 296 yards, with one touchdown pass and zero interceptions in the championship game.

The runner up to Korda on the women’s ballot was American skier Lindsey Vonn, who won a super-G on a demanding course in Bansko, Bulgaria, to become the World Cup career leader in the discipline. It was her 10th World Cup victory this season and the 51st of her career. By winning her 18th super-G, Vonn overtook Austria’s Renate Goetschl for the record. Vonn won in 1 minute, 15.66 seconds to take a commanding lead in the overall points total in her quest to reclaim the overall World Cup crown she lost last season.

Third place winners for February were American golfer Phil Mickelson, who came from a six shot deficit in the final round to win the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, and American Jillian Camarena-Williams, who set an American track and field indoor record in the shot put with a throw of 19.89 meters or 65 feet and 3.75 inches.

The winners of the Academy’s male and female Athletes of the Month will be considered as candidates for the 2012 Athlete of the Year ballot. In December 2012, the Academy will name the male and female Athlete of the Year for the 28th consecutive year.  The recipients of this prestigious award are selected annually through worldwide online balloting hosted by the Academy in conjunction with USA Today and NBC Sports.

In 2011, the Male Athlete of the Year was No. 1-ranked tennis player Novak Djokovic of Serbia and the Female Athlete of the Year was No. 1-ranked golfer Yani Tseng of Taiwan. Both of them dominated 2011’s ballot that drew as many as 50,000 votes a day from across the world.

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