2012 April

Past President of the Black Coaches Association Visits the Academy

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Ron Dickerson, the first president of the Black Coaches Association who has 40 years of NCAA Division I football coaching experience, visited the United States Sports Academy on Wednesday, April 25.

Dickerson, who now is on the coaching staff of his son, Ron Dickerson Jr., who heads the Gardner-Webb’s football program in Boiling Springs, N.C., was in Alabama on a recruiting trip.

Dickerson, who was the first black head coach in the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A), has served as head coach at several universities, including Temple and Alabama State. He also served as secondary coach on the 1987 Penn State national championship team, and was the Clemson defensive coordinator when it had the No. 1 ranked defense in 1991 and won an Atlantic Coast Conference title. For more information on Dickerson, click here.

Pictured from left to right are: Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich, Dickerson and Academy Vice President Dr. T.J. Rosandich.

Academy Offers New Bachelor’s Degree in Strength and Conditioning

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The United States Sports Academy is now offering the only online bachelor’s degree in Strength and Conditioning that prepares students in all aspects of the field, as well as sports management.

Strength and conditioning job opportunities are expanding and the knowledge required for sports professionals in the field is also increasing. That’s why as part of its 40th anniversary, the Academy’s Board of Trustees Executive Committee approved the launch of the new program. It is the fourth bachelor’s major the school offers with the other three in Sports Management, Sports Coaching and Sports Studies.

Start your sports career today with the Academy's new bachelor's in Strength and Conditioning.

The Academy, also known as America’s Sports University, created the new bachelor’s in Strength and Conditioning so that students who complete this degree will be prepared to take national certification exams in the fields of strength and conditioning and personal training that are critical to advancement in the profession with groups such as the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and the American Council on Exercise (ACE).

Additionally, the sports university’s bachelor’s students will have both the physiological and sports management knowledge required to direct, develop and run a training facility.

Also among the new degree’s objectives are training students to work with athletes to improve their athletic performance, to understand nutrition, and to learn necessary kinesiology, anatomy and physiology to prevent and care for sports-related injuries.

To coincide with this new bachelor’s offering, the Academy is looking at enhancements to its master’s program in Sports Fitness and Health.

Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich says the faculty and board recognized the growing demand for such a program.

“Currently, there are a variety of compatible degrees taught by universities around the country, but none are more suitable for a job as a strength and conditioning specialist than our new program,” Dr. Rosandich says. “Our bachelor’s degree is practical and our students can be confident they will learn about the human body and how it works, as well as how the body responds to exercise.”

Academy graduates in Strength and Conditioning can expect rewarding careers working in high school and collegiate athletic departments, athletic clubs, training facilities and corporate health programs.

For more information or to enroll in this new bachelor’s program, please visit our bachelor’s page on the web, call an admission’s counselor at 1-800-223-2668 or email admissions@ussa.edu.

Former Trustees Chairman Dr. LeRoy Walker Dies

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Dr. LeRoy Walker, a former United States Sports Academy Board of Trustees chairman and legendary track coach at North Carolina Central University, died recently in Durham, N.C. He was 93.

Pictured are Olympic track and field coaches, the late Dr. LeRoy Walker (right), Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich (center) and the late Stan Wright (left).

During his coaching career that spanned four decades, Walker became the first black person in 1993 to be elected president of the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC). In 1976, he was named head coach of the men’s U.S. Olympic track and field team for the Montreal Olympics, becoming the first black to head a team in any sport. Walker was at the helm of the U.S. team when the 1996 Centennial Olympics were held in his hometown of Atlanta.

Walker inspired more than 100 All-Americans, 40 national champions and 12 Olympians in track and field. In 1983, he was inducted into the National Track & Field Hall of Fame, and four years later, he was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame for his many contributions to the Olympic movement.

Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich credits Walker for helping the sports university during his two stints on its Board of Trustees from 1984-88 and 1997-2000.

“He was a great man who had great ideas and contributed tremendously to the Academy,” Rosandich says. “Dr. Walker was a giant in American sport and he provided great leadership to us.”

Walker earned a bachelor’s degree from a historically black school, Benedict College of Columbia, S.C., in 1940. He wanted to become a physician but medical school spots for blacks were severely limited. Instead, a year later he received a master’s degree from Columbia University in health and physical education. He earned his doctorate from New York University in biomechanics in 1957.

He actually arrived to N.C. Central in Durham in 1945 to coach football and basketball but started a track team as a way to condition his athletes. He built a reputation as a demanding, detail-oriented coach, training athletes such as Lee Calhoun, who won the Olympic gold medal in the 110-meter hurdles in the 1956 and 1960 Games.

Walker was president of the Athletics Congress (now USA Track & Field), the sport’s national governing body, from 1984-88. He advised or coached Olympic teams from Ethiopia, Kenya, Israel, Jamaica and Trinidad-Tobago, helped organize an American-Pan African meet and took an American track squad to China.

“What happened to my athletes is what I remember. Not only the All Americans or the national champions or the Olympic medalists, I take pride in what all my athletes are doing now,” Walker, known as Doc, once said. “When I see them as doctors and lawyers and strong citizens in their community, I think that influence is what pleases me most.”

Walker’s survivors include his son, LeRoy Jr., and his daughter, Carolyn Walker Hoppe. His wife, Katherine, died in 1978.

Academy's 40th Anniversary Celebration

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The Academy celebrated its 40th anniversary on Thursday with a Distinguished Service Award to Dr. George Uhlig, who was one of six founders of the university, and with the unveiling of “Mr. Baseball” by sculptor Bruce Larsen, the 2009 Sport Artist of the Year.
Pictured in the photo from left to right are: Uhlig, Dr. Robert Campbell III, the Academy Board of Trustees chairman, Larsen and Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich.

‘Mr. Baseball’ Sculpture Unveiling to Mark Academy’s 40th Anniversary

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The United States Sports Academy is adding a sixth sculpture by Bruce Larsen, the United States Sports Academy’s 2009 Sport Artist of the Year, to its Sports Sculpture Park on its Daphne, Ala., campus.

Sculptor Bruce Larsen works on the "Mr. Baseball" sculpture.

The sculpture, “Mr. Baseball,” is being unveiled at 5 p.m. Thursday, April 19 to mark the 40th Anniversary Celebration of the Academy, which is the largest graduate school of sport education in the world. The event will also include the awarding of a Distinguished Service Award to Dr. George Uhlig, one of six founding members of the sports institution, for his education contributions.

Like the other works of the found object artist from Fairhope, Ala., Larsen’s latest sculpture reuses a lot of large metal, including old heating pipes from the Academy that were given to him. Larsen says he is happy that Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich asked him to do the sculpture to help commemorate the university’s 40th anniversary.

“For Dr. Rosandich to entrust me with this centerpiece for the Academy’s 40th anniversary is both an honor and life affirming,” he says.

“Mr. Baseball” also honors all the American League and National League Most Valuable Players dating back to 1911. The concrete platform the sculpture stands on has the MVPs’ names printed on brick pavers by year.

For the Academy’s 25th Anniversary in 1997, world renowned Spanish artist Cristóbal Gabarrón painted a mural, “A Tribute to the Human Spirit,” featuring Hall of Fame baseball player Jackie Robinson, who was the National League MVP in 1949. The mural also honored the 50th anniversary of Robinson breaking the color barrier in professional baseball. The mural is one of the largest public offerings of art in the United States.

Major league baseball teams honored Robinson league wide on Sunday, April 15, by wearing his uniform number, 42, on the anniversary of his barrier-breaking debut in 1947—65 years ago.

The Academy has marked both its 25th and 40th years with tributes to baseball in part because six baseball Hall of Fame players have come from the Mobile area. They include: Satchel Paige, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Billy Williams, Willie McCovey and Ozzie Smith.

The 40th anniversary artwork, “Mr. Baseball,” has been placed by Larsen in a classic pose of a home run slugger. He is in an old-style uniform with the pants tucked into the socks.

“I say I am attempting to do this because just making metal socks is difficult,” Larsen says jokingly.

Dr. Rosandich says the latest Larsen piece is a great addition to the Academy’s sport art collection.

“As always, Larsen did an outstanding job,” he says. “I’m absolutely delighted with the final product.”

"Mr. Baseball" by sculptor Bruce Larsen stands nearly 7-feet tall and weighs more than 500 pounds.

Larsen says he purposely chose to make “Mr. Baseball” look like a player from a bygone era, instead of a modern one.

“I am an old-school man and have great respect for the greatest generation,” he says. “It was a time when players did not require million-dollar contracts and lavish perks. I miss the optimism and the work ethic of those people, who were born into the Depression and who volunteered to fight in World War II.”

Already in the Sport Sculpture Park are other pieces Larsen fashioned from scrap metal, hubcaps, tractor gears, hydraulic cylinders and an assortment of other junk, including “Borzov the Sprinter,” “Arnold the Weightlifter,” “Jordan the Basketball Player,” “Nastia the Gymnast,” and the “Iron Bowl Monument.”

The sculptures can be viewed along with other works of art in the Academy’s American Sport Art Museum & Archives (ASAMA), which contains arguably the largest collection of sport art in the world. ASAMA is open free to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays.

Why Choose the Academy?

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The United States Sports Academy began its mission to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports 40 years ago.

Its first two graduates in 1979, were Carmen Charnook-Cellon (left center), whose first job was as an athletic trainer for the U.S. Secret Service, and Viki Ray (right center), who became the head athletic trainer for women’s sports teams at Louisiana State University. Both women graduated with master’s degrees in Sports Medicine.

Today, the Academy has grown into the largest graduate school of sport education in the world and has created sports programs with more than 65 countries across the globe. Now as then, it is the only freestanding school of sport education in the United States and has been called “America’s Sports University.” The school offers accredited programs at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels.

A celebration to mark the Academy’s 40 years of excellence in sports education is scheduled at 5 p.m. Thursday, April 19 at the Academy’s Daphne, Ala., campus. To mark the occasion, the Academy will award Dr. George Uhlig, one of the six founding members of the institution, a Distinguished Service Award for his contributions to education. In addition, the Academy will unveil the “Mr. Baseball” sculpture by Fairhope, Ala., artist Bruce Larsen, the Academy’s 2009 Sport Artist of the Year.

Why have thousands of students chosen the Academy? Read on below to find out answers from  a few of our alumni.

 

Linda Moore ‘89

ESPN Senior Business Director

Academy Board of Trustees

1989: M.S.S. Sports Management

2007 Alumna of the Year

 

“If you are looking to get into the sports industry, the Academy can give you what you want. It gave me the sports specific education that I wanted and helped me develop a network of sports professionals around the country and the world. I encourage you to check out the Academy.”

 

Mike Leach ‘89

Washington State football coach

Alumni Board President

1989: M.S.S. Sports Coaching

2003: Alumnus of the Year

 

“I wanted to be a football coach and I wanted to get a degree from a place that would put me in that position. I thought the Academy was the most practical way for me to get from point ‘A’ to ‘B.’ Instead of just memorizing facts and figures, the Academy sets you up to get a job. You learn by doing, rather than just talking about it.”

 

Dennis Lindsey  ‘94

San Antonio Spurs vice president and assistant GM

Alumni Board 1st Vice President

1994: M.S.S. Sports Management

2005 Alumnus of the Year

 

“The Academy has been a key component in my professional development. It has helped me grow my network at a crucial time in my life. More importantly, the USSA has facilitated personal friendships that will last a lifetime.”

 

China Jude ‘96

Queens College of The City University of New York

assistant vice president of athletics

1996: M.S.S. Sports Management

2011: Alumna of the Year

 

“I was coming from a parks and recreation background. I had no collegiate experience. I was very fortunate that by the time I completed the Academy and my mentorship with the Senior Bowl, I really had the ability to look at sports as a business. The Academy really prepared me and gave me confidence and the faculty supported and nurtured me. So when I graduated and started working in 1996, I was off and running. I would definitely recommend the Academy to anyone who really wants to work in sports management whether it’s in the college or the corporate world.”

 

James Vilade ‘03

Texas Rangers Double A coach and scout

2003: M.S.S. Sports Management

2010: Alumnus of the Year

 

 

“It was the best decision I ever made. It was priceless. I appreciated the platform to come to the Academy and study and dream.”

 

Terry Waldrop ‘93

Texas Wesleyan University men’s head basketball coach

1993: M.S.S. Sports Management

2006 Alumnus of the Year

 

 

“I was looking at different options for my master’s degree and came in to see the Dean of Students at the Academy. I realized half way through the conversation that the personal attention and care he showed made this the place I wanted to be. I’m very happy I did come to the Academy because it has opened a lot of doors for me.”

 

Dr. Howard Bartee Jr. ‘08

Belhaven University Chairman of the Department of Sports Administration

2008: Ed.D. Sports Management

“I’ve always had a passion for sports and all the faculty at the Academy were really supportive of my goals to get into sports management. The doctoral degree gave me the ability to increase my network with other alumni. You can have all the sports knowledge and all the work experience in the world, but the degree really brought it all together for me.”

 

Ryan Capretta ‘84

Proactive Sports Performance executive director

1984: M.S.S. Sports Management

“I was so glad to latch onto the Academy and go through the program, while I worked full-time as a strength and conditioning coach with the Arizona Cardinals. I could get my master’s and do it on my timetable. It’s a well-rounded program and the classes I took still apply to things I do every day. My education has been a very valuable tool in helping me in my career.”

 

Jeremy Cox ‘99

University of Nebraska assistant basketball coach

1999: M.S.S. in Sports Management

“As a young coach, my Academy education opened lots of doors for me. It gives you a solid foundation and prepares you to manage a program. People ask me all the time about the Academy and I tell them it will prepare them for collegiate coaching and administration. But the best experience was networking at the Academy, which was incredible. I was able to network and form lasting relationships with coaches my age like Greg McDermott (Creighton University head men’s basketball coach and 1994 master’s in sports management) and Scott Schumacher (North Dakota State College of Science athletic director and head men’s basketball coach and 1990 master’s in sports coaching).”

 

Derek Demperio ‘10

Onondaga Community College Ogres football team general manager

Current: M.S.S. in Sports Mangement/Sports Coaching Dual Major

2010: B.S.S. Sports Management

“I love it. I absolutely love it. I had wanted to enroll when I finished high school (in 1997) but the Academy didn’t have the bachelor’s program (until 2004). As soon as it did, I jumped on it. I like working online and at your own pace. I was never one to sit still in the classroom. Sometimes it was too fast, sometimes it was too slow. I’ve learned just as much at the Academy as I have at a traditional college.”

 

Mark Janas ‘11

In3 Inc. Managing Partner

2011: Ed.D. Sports Management

“I already had my MBA but I found in my early experiences working in sports that many business people, including me, were often not well trained, specifically in the business of sport. I really wanted to find a good, solid curriculum that was totally sports specific. The Academy has helped me a lot in my day-to-day business and even spawned a few ideas. The program lends credibility to whatever I do. I’m proud of the school.”

 

U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Tracy S. Lahr ‘11

2011: Sports Performance Certification

“The Academy’s online courses are beneficial to anyone in the military who has the desire to continue to learn and to improve themselves both mentally and physically. The Academy program provided me with a wealth of information relating to the fitness and nutrition industry. It will be a vital asset to me in both civilian and military life.”

 

Greg McDermott ’94

Creighton University head men’s baskeball coach

1994: M.S.S. Sports Management

“The United States Sports Academy afforded me the opportunity to earn my master’s degree at a time in my life when attending full-time graduate school was not a possibility. I couldn’t be more pleased with the well-rounded education I received, and the many relationships I developed as a result of the experience.”

 

Roy Patton ‘02

University of Mobile head men’s soccer coach

2002: Ed.D. Sports Management

“The Academy has been a tremendous help to me as a coach! Some courses immediately shaped my thinking and consequently my behavior as a coach. Other courses cemented my belief that college is a completely different animal from the professional sports entertainment industry. As a result of attending the Academy, I have a heightened commitment to the ideals of the NAIA student-athlete experience.”

 

Dana Toberer-Proctor ‘97

Fit 360 Personal Training and Sports Performance owner

WNSP Sports Radio talk show host

1997: M.S.S. Sports Management

“When I came to the Academy, I wanted to get into sport administration at a college. I was doing personal fitness training before I got there and it wasn’t working. I didn’t know how to make it happen. When I got back from my mentorship with Nebraska Wesleyan University, I was asked to help manage at the Rock Creek Golf Club (in Fairhope, Ala.). It led me back into personal training. My education at the Academy gave me training not just on the sport side but on the business side. Plus, I developed a lot of strong relationships in this area which helped me grow my business.”

 

LaTanya Sheffield ‘11

Canyon Del Oro High School (Tucson, Ariz.) track and field coach

1988 Seoul Olympics, 400-meter hurdles

2011: B.S.S. Sports Management

“Not having my degree always was a void for me. There are a lot of components you can’t control in life but education you can. When I was in college, athletics was the No. 1 thing. It was unspoken that you better produce on the field. But education can dictate your future far beyond the Olympics. You can walk on this earth being a gold medalist but that will not secure a career for you. It made sense for me to pursue my degree so I could coach at a whole other level. I would like to go on to coach at the NCAA level.”

 

Dr. Dave Shrock ‘09

Modesto Junior College track and field coach

USATF Pacific Association vice president and Coaching Committee chair

Academy National Faculty member

2009: Ed.D. Sports Management

“I got my degree later in life, at 57, and I have a lot of pride about earning it. I gleaned a lot on leadership and organizational dynamics. The things I’ve learned I apply every day and will apply them in the future.”

Academy Stops Charging Fees to Join the Alumni Association

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In honor of its 40th Anniversary, the United States Sports Academy has eliminated all fees to become a member of its Alumni Association.

The Academy, also known as “America’s Sports University,” has one of the largest network of sports professionals in the world.

Because the Academy’s alumni are very important to the university, please take a minute and update your latest contact information.

You can do this online by going to our main alumni page at www.ussa.edu/alumni/ or you can email us at alumni@ussa.edu. In addition, you can download a contact information form at http://assets.ussa.edu/files/documents/forms/student-information-change.pdf. Please fill it out and mail it back to the Academy at One Academy Drive, Daphne, Ala., 36526; or fax it to 251-621-2527.

We would also like to take this opportunity to invite you to join the Academy’s Alumni Association.  You can do this through the Alumni page on our website at www.ussa.edu/alumni/.

Membership is free. You can also keep up with what your fellow alumni are doing by periodically visiting there. We would also like to encourage you to send a “friend” request to the Academy’s main Alumni Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/groups/8529483235/.

It is a great way to stay current with the university.

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 by going to http://ussa.edu/bookstore.

As you continue to advance in your career, we encourage you to keep the Academy posted on your whereabouts. We are proud of all of our alumni and we always look forward to trumpeting their successes.

As always, we wish you the best in your future sport endeavors.


Academy Offers Free Sport Art Appreciation Course for the First Time

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For the first time in its 40-year history, the United States Sports Academy is offering the public a free course.

In 1984, the Academy established the American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA), which is believed to house the largest collection of sport art in the world, and named Ernie Barnes as the first Sport Artist of the Year. Barnes was honored again in 2004 as part of the 20th Anniversary selection. He was the Official Artist of the 1984 XXIII Olympiad. His work, “Olympic Finish,” won in the graphic works category in the 2004 U.S. Olympic Sport and Art Contest.

The first online course being provided free of charge is the university’s Sport Art Appreciation class. It is the first of three free classes that people can now enjoy. A course on coaching basics and Olympism will also be available soon.

The Sport Art Appreciation course explores the works of the Sport Artists of the Year chosen by the American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) since 1984. Today, ASAMA contains the largest collection of sport art from world-renown artists in the world. The sport art museum is located in Daphne, Ala., and open free to the public from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Once you’ve completed this free course, you will understand the sport artists’ contributions to contemporary sport art history. You will also have a deeper appreciation of the cultural context of sport, its relationship to art, and the masters of that art. You will recognize on the balance beam or the basketball court, athletic achievement is often a thing of artistic beauty.

Betsy Smith, Director of Academic Administration and Continuing Education, teaches a similar course at the bachelor’s level at the Academy, which is the largest graduate school of sport in the world.

“I hope this gives people an appreciation of the connection between the artist and the athlete,” she says. “Also, people can learn how easy our online courses are to navigate.”

The Academy, also known as “America’s Sports University,” offers its courses 100% online, allowing students to take courses when they want and wherever they want. Rolling enrollment allows them to begin the courses whenever they are ready.

The final exam in the free course is open book, which means you may use your text during the exam. The exam consists of 50 multiple choice questions. There is no time limit for completing the exam.

Those who score 70% or higher on the final test may purchase Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and receive a certificate of completion.

Begin the course now by simply going to the course’s main page. Enjoy!

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.

Master’s Students

  • Erica A. Beuhning (St. Petersburg, Fla.) – M.S.S. Sports Management
  • Bruce W. Haney (Southington, Conn.) – M.S.S. Sports Coaching Sports Psychology Emphasis
  • Craig Alan Harbin (Spring, Texas) – M.S.S. Sports Coaching
  • Demarcus Haskins (Lewisville, Texas) – M.S.S. Sports Management
  • Katie Emily Henry (Bonney Lake, Wash.) – M.S.S. Sports Management
  • Deedee Horton (Olympia, Wash.) – M.S.S. Sports Coaching
  • Brandi Rai Jenkins (Visalia, Calif.) – M.S.S. Sports Coaching
  • Robin Jaime Kamio (Clovis, N.M.) – M.S.S. Sports Studies
  • Stephen Kyle Logan (Hattiesburg, Miss.) – M.S.S. Sports Coaching
  • Roger Dale Nelson (Laurens, S.C.) – M.S.S. Sports Coaching
  • Travis Dewayne Nichols (San Diego, Calif.) – M.S.S. Sports Management and Sports Coaching Dual
  • Joshua Ray Pierce (Greenville, S.C.) – M.S.S. Sports Management
  • Thelma Jean Robertson (Conway, S.C.) – M.S.S. Sports Management
  • Hannah Margaret Sackett (Columbus, Ohio) – M.S.S. Sports Management
  • Frank James Shreve (Fayetteville, N.C.) – M.S.S. Sports Management and Sports Coaching Dual
  • Ryan Hansen Tracy (Fruitland, Idaho) – M.S.S. Sports Management
  • Robert John Wilkinson (Flemington, N.J.) – M.S.S. Sports Management NCAA Compliance Emphasis

40th Anniversary Timeline of the United States Sports Academy’s History

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April 22, 1972 – The United States Sports Academy was founded by Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich, the current President and CEO.

1972 – The original Board of Directors included:  Mr. Robert Block, media specialist; Mr. Charles Cape, attorney; Mr. Gerald Hock, finance; Dr. George Uhlig, educator; and Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich, sport administrator.

1972 – Board of Visitors established and included 33 members who were predominantly leading athletic directors and who were members of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA). Originally called the Board of Advisors, it played a key role in the development of the Academy.

1976 – Relocated from Milwaukee, Wis., to Mobile, Ala., and the Academy formally affiliated with the University of South Alabama.

1976 – Signed its first international agreement to deliver educational and training programs in Bahrain and formed the Bahrain Sport Institute (BSI). Since then, the Academy has delivered sport education programs in more than 65 nations around the world.

The first two Academy graduates in 1979 were Carmen Charnook-Cellon (left center), whose first job was as an athletic trainer for the U.S. Secret Service, and Viki Ray (right center), who became the head athletic trainer for women's sports teams at Louisiana State University.

1979 – Graduated the first two Master of Sport Science degree students, who were in Sports Medicine and who were both women. They were Carmen Charnook-Cellon, whose first job was as an athletic trainer with the U.S. Secret Service, and Viki Ray, who became the head athletic trainer for women’s sports teams at Louisiana State University.

1980 – Founded the “Operation Bounce Back,” which was the first cardiac rehabilitation program in the region and improved thousands of lives.

1981 – Became a candidate for accreditation by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

1981 – Signed a multi-million dollar contract with the Royal Saudi Air Force for a major Physical Fitness, Sports and Recreation program. This was the first of many in Saudi Arabia that included other groups, such as the Royal Saudi Air Defense Forces.

1982 – Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos became the first head of state in history to visit the Academy and the Mobile area. Since its founding, the Academy has brought five heads of state to the area, including Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao of Timor-Leste; His Excellency Najib Tun Razak of Malaysia; His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa of Bahrain; and Prince Albert Alexandre Louis Pierre Grimaldi of Monaco.

Dec. 13, 1983 – Master’s degree programs accredited by SACS, making the Academy the nation’s first and only free-standing, accredited institution dedicated solely to professional graduate studies in sport.

Pictured at the second annual Academy Awards of Sport in 1985 are (left to right) Bo Jackson, Auburn running back, Cheryl Miller, USC basketball player, Howard Cosell, sportscaster, Eddie Robinson, Grambling football coach, and Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich, Academy president and CEO.

1984 – Established the American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA), which is believed to house the largest collection of sport art in the world, and named Ernie Barnes as the first Sport Artist of the Year.

1984 – Established the United States Sports Academy’s Awards of Sport in conjunction with the Los Angeles Olympics. Howard Cosell, a legendary American sports announcer, won the inaugural Ronald Reagan Media Award and then acted as the emcee for the event for many years.

Summer 1986 – The Academy purchased a permanent campus on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay, in Daphne, Ala., which remains its current home.

1990 – All debt retired on the Academy campus.

1990 – Began offering a doctorate in sports management (Ed.D).

1993 – Introduced distance-learning education as a delivery system for its academic programs for the first time.

1996 – Accredited by SACS at the doctoral level, at which time the distance learning delivery system was also reviewed and approved.

1998 – Great Spanish artist Cristóbal Gabarrón painted a mural, “A Tribute to the Human Spirit,” on the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in professional baseball. The mural on the face of the Academy’s two-story building is one of the largest public offerings of art in the United States.

Great Spanish artist Cristóbal Gabarrón (left), the late International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio Samaranch (center) and Academy President and CEO Thomas P. Rosandich (right) pictured at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

2000 – Graduate programs approved by the North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM), an activity of the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE).  The Academy was again reviewed and approved in 2008 through 2015 and is now one of only three universities in the United States whose sports management degree programs are approved at all three degree levels—bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral.

2000 – ASAMA conducted the U.S. Olympic Sport and Art contest for the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) for the first time during the Sydney Games. It has conducted the national competition for American artists every Olympics since then, which includes Athens in 2004, Bejing in 2008 and London in 2012.

2001 – Introduced web-based course delivery.

2004 – Appointed as the official educational arm of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA).

2004 – Added an accredited upper-division bachelor’s degree to its programs.

2005 – Developed the College Football Game of the Year Award. The committee who selects the game reads like a “Who’s Who” in college football. It is led by chairman Jack Lengyl, who served as the longtime U.S. Naval Academy athletic director.

Late President Ronald Reagan (left) and Academy President and CEO Thomas P. Rosandich (center) present the Ronald Reagan Media Award to sportscaster Al Michaels (right) in 1988.

2006 – Abbot Shi Yongxin, the spiritual leader of more than 400 million Chan Buddhists, was awarded an honorary doctorate during his visit from the Shaolin Temple to the Academy. The Abbot and Academy agreed to deliver a Shaolin Kung Fu Philosophy course online to the world. It debuted last year.

October 2008 –Robert Wyland, America’s premier marine life artist, painted a 30-foot mural of three dolphins swimming, “Faster, Higher, Stronger,” on the Academy’s east entrance.

April 2012 – The Academy has grown into the largest graduate school of sport education in the world today. Known as “America’s Sports University,” it continues to be a recognized leader in sport education across the globe. The university’s degree programs are meeting the needs of physical educators, coaches, exercise scientists and sports administrators, awarding thousands of degrees throughout its 40-year history.

Click here to read a Q&A with the United States Sports Academy Founder, President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich.

 

Q&A with Founder Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich on the Academy’s Past, Present and Future

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The United States Sports Academy originated on April 22, 1972 but founder Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich began mulling over the concept two decades earlier.

Working with world-class athletes all over Southeast Asia in the 1950s and 1960s as a U.S. Marine Corps track and field coach and as an Ambassador of Sport for the U.S. State Department, he recognized a need for better training and better science for coaches and athletes.

Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich, United States Sports Academy founder, president and CEO.

Finally in 1972 while he was an athletic director at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Dr. Rosandich launched the Academy. The need for a university devoted to sports education became all the more clear with the United States team’s inferior performance at the 1972 Munich Olympics. It was attributed to poor administration, lack of medical support and unscientific coaching and training. The landmark Blythe-Mueller Report released in 1974 further emphasized this. It found that poor preparation by coaches caused an increase in the number and the severity of sports injuries.

Now, 40 years later, the Academy has grown into the largest graduate school of sport education in the world and has created sports programs with more than 65 countries across the globe. Now as then, it is the only freestanding school of sport education in the United States and has been called “America’s Sports University.” The school offers accredited programs at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels.

A 40th Anniversary Celebration is scheduled at 5 p.m. Thursday, April 19 at the Academy’s Daphne, Ala., campus. To mark the occasion, the Academy will award Dr. George Uhlig, one of the six founding members of the institution, a Distinguished Service Award for his contributions to education. In addition, the Academy will unveil the “Mr. Baseball” sculpture by Fairhope, Ala., artist Bruce Larsen, the Academy’s 2009 Sport Artist of the Year.

On the eve of celebrating 40 years of excellence in sport education, Dr. Rosandich, the Academy’s president and CEO, sat down for an interview with The Sport Update to talk about significant developments in the sport institution’s history. Among other things, he discusses the importance of the Olympics and coaching track and field in Southeast Asia to building the Academy’s network, the revelation of the need for scientific coaching and training in sports, and the key to the Academy’s continued success in its mission to prepare men and women for careers in sport.

Click here to review the 40th Anniversary Timeline of the United States Sports Academy’s History.

On the Academy’s connections with the Olympics: “The reason for the Academy’s success is the very network that I’ve built going on 60 years. Serving in the Marine Corps as the All-Marine coach, I had a stable of the greatest athletes in the world, like Bob Mathias, the world-class decathlete; Wes Santee, one of the best milers in the world; and Al Cantello, who held the world record in the javelin. Working with those people opened up a whole new world to me. As we prepare for the London Olympics, it works for us to this day. It is part of the Academy’s network.”

On being hired by the U.S. State Department as an Ambassador of Sport: “When I resigned from the Marine Corps, the U.S. State Department came and got me and made me an Ambassador of Sport. We were trying to spread goodwill through sport. I travelled to 42 countries, starting in the Kingdom of Laos, no less. I was the coach for them, Singapore, Malay—it wasn’t Malaysia back then—North Borneo and Indonesia from the Melbourne Olympics in 1956 to the 1964 Tokyo Games. We had great success. We had one triple jumper from Borneo—Gabuh Piging—who won several medals by jumping more than 50 feet. At the time, no American was jumping that far. Gabuh was from a headhunting tribe. I remember seeing those Long Houses filled with skulls on ridge polls.

“The State Department sent me all over Asia again and again. It helped me develop an international network. All those athletes I had coached grew up and became leaders in their countries in key positions. That’s how we’ve developed the international programs that we have. For example, Mohammed Sarengat, one of my athletes who won the 100 meters and 100-meter hurdles in the 1962 Asian Games, became the Secretary General of the Indonesia Olympic Committee.”

On why Indonesia was a key to the Academy’s development: “The president of Indonesia, Sukarno, who was one of the most powerful people in the world at the time, hired me as their chief national coach. It was during the height of the Cold War between 1961 and 1965 and they had the third largest Communist Party membership. While I was there, I managed to build my first sports academy in Indonesia. That’s why it is a very important key to the United States Sports Academy’s development.

Academy Founder Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich (bottom row, center right) and R. Maladi, Indonesia's Minister of Youth and Sports, pose for a picture with members of the 1962 Indonesia track and field team.

 

“About 70% of the track coaches in the country came from Eastern Bloc countries, such as Russia, Ukraine, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania. They were the most powerful sports nations in the world at the time. Indonesia hired the coaches in each sport from those nations that had the best results in the Olympics, so the U.S. for track and field, Russia for weightlifting, East Germany for cycling and so on. I soon learned that they knew more about the science of coaching than we Americans did. I put coaches from Eastern Europe on our faculty at the sports academy there. To be very honest, many of the scientific principles of the United States Sports Academy came directly from those people.

“Finally, I convinced President Sukarno to bring in Peace Corps volunteers. I recruited people who were physical education teachers and who had coaching backgrounds, and turned the Peace Corps into what I called the Sports Corps.

“The Eastern Bloc wanted to ‘woo’ Indonesia and therefore invited the track team and R. Maladi, who was the Minister of Youth and Sports, to East Germany. No American was allowed into the country because there were no diplomatic relations between the United States and East Germany. But Maladi said: ‘If Tom can’t come, then we won’t come.’ They assigned me a special visa and allowed me into the country with no passport. I visited one of the most famous sports science schools in the world—the University of Leipzig. From the visit to that school and its programs, I learned many interesting things. It convinced me that we had to build a school like that in the United States.

“I have kept up relations with many of those coaches from those former Communist countries for many years. One of those was Emil Zátopek from Czechoslovakia and known as the “Czech Locomotive.” At the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, he ran the 5,000 meters and won it, the 10,000 meters and won it. Incidentally, he had never run a marathon before but ran it and won it. Today, he is a triple gold medal winner and no one has ever done that and no one will ever do it again.”

On the founding of the Board of Trustees and Board of Visitors: “I started laying out a plan for the sports academy and resigned from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on my wife, Sally’s, birthday to build it. I chose five people who all came from UWM. Gerald Hock was the director of auxiliary enterprises. Dr. George Uhlig had an educational background as dean of education and he had headed continuing education at the University of Nebraska. I was there for athletics. Our legal counsel, who worked for the Milwaukee Bucks, was Charles Cape. He wrote the first charter for the Academy. Bob Block was the head of the booster club at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and became the first chairman of our Board of Trustees. He was a consummate marketer.

“I gathered $500 from all five men and used every cent to recruit a National Faculty. They were very impressive. I would call them and tell them or write them about the idea. I didn’t have anyone say, ‘No.’ Our National Faculty was the most distinguished group of sport educators ever assembled under one umbrella, the United States Sports Academy.

“Also, when we were starting the Academy, we selected 32 of the top directors of athletics from Divisions I, II and III and the No. 1 heart surgeon in America, Denton Cooley. We ended up with 33 members advising us. Thirty-three has always been my lucky number.”

On moving the Academy to South Alabama: “We went to six cities all in the south—San Diego, Phoenix, Albuquerque (N.M.), Houston, New Orleans and Atlanta. Then George Uhlig said, ‘Why don’t you come to South Alabama?’ We got an invitation and we did. I met with University of South Alabama President Dr. Frederick Whiddon and his Board of Trustees. We were very impressed with the people we met. We almost immediately signed a contract with Bahrain and it gave us the financial wherewithal to move forward and become what we are now—the largest graduate school of sport in the world.”

On creating sport programs for Bahrain: “It was the first international contract that we had and really is the basis for the whole development of the Academy. The monies granted us the time to hire faculty and staff and build our academic programs. We brought people into the country in January 1977 to teach sport and we’ve been there ever since. It was the first nation where we built a master plan for sports and built a sports academy, which is a sister academy to our own in Daphne, Ala. We have taken hundreds of people from Bahrain through our sport academic programs.

His Majesty King Hamed bin Isa Al-Khalifa of Bahrain (left) and Academy Founder Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich (right) have worked together to provide sports education programs to the nation for 35 years.

“Members of our faculty also coached their national team in basketball, track and field, tennis and other sports. We took them to the Asian Games, Arabic Games and the Olympics. In fact, in 1984 we took them to the Los Angeles Olympics in the United States.

“Bahrain participated in its first international competition when I took them to the Asian Games in 1970 in Bangkok, Thailand. They’ve had good success in sports. One of their athletes, Hamada Ahmad, won the gold medal in the 400-meter hurdles in the 1970 Asian Games, setting a new Asian Games record. The 400-meter hurdles is considered to be one of the toughest races in all of track and field. It combines hurdling, speed and endurance. It was a very important event in international competition for their little country in the Arabian Gulf.

“We also developed a physical fitness test in Bahrain using data from Bahrain high school youth to establish standards. It was the first time in the Middle East that such fitness standards were created based on their own population, instead of using data from American youth. We ended up developing physical fitness standards in 22 other Asian nations.”

On His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa of Bahrain: “He was fantastic. We just became in Arabic, ‘siddik,’ which just means good friend. When I first met him, he was the Crown Prince and commander of the defense forces. I’ve met a lot of good people and they all have one thing in common. They are all nice people and they are all salt of the earth. I’ve had great conversations with (former Philippine President Ferdinand) Marcos and (former United States President Ronald) Reagan. I’ve had in-depth talks that I’m thankful for with (the late International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio) Samaranch. I’ve sat in the desert and ate goat with the King of Bahrain. He is like a brother to me. Truly, the higher people are the nicer they seem to be.”

On the Academy’s academic programs being 100% online: “We used technology early on. Our commitment to technology is never ending. My concern right now is technology is moving so fast, how do you keep up with it? For 10 years, we tracked our online students and residential students at our school. Online students consistently had higher test scores, so that’s why we made the decision to go totally online.”

On his wife, Sally Rosandich, the founding Executive Secretary to the Board of Trustees: “I tell everyone that this Academy would not be in existence without Sally. She is smart and she is a thinker. She still proofreads everything that gets printed.”

On the Academy’s future:  “I’m asked about this all the time. At the end of every summer school, I used to have a dog and pony show. I would tell the students who were on campus then to go back into the room and I would give them a final test. I told them to relax because no one was going to flunk it. I would go down the rows and ask them things like if they played sports and what was their major. Then I would go down the rows again and ask: ‘What are the reasons you came to the Academy?’

“This was my informal survey but it was the best survey we ever had. The single best changes we’ve made have come from our students. One reason the Academy has gotten to where it is is because we listen to our students. We’ve gotten the best recommendations from them over the years. Because of our students, we changed our whole curriculum from quarter credit hours to semester credit hours and have added dual majors. When we started out there was nothing out there really like us. Now, there are more than 400 schools with sports degrees. I really want to do what we do but I want to do it better. I never stop looking for better ways to do what we do.”

Academy Founding Member Receives Distinguished Service Award for Education Contributions

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Dr. George E. Uhlig, who is one of the six founding members of the United States Sports Academy in 1972, will receive a Distinguished Service Award for all of his contributions to the university’s academic programs.

Dr. George Uhlig, one of six founders of the Academy in 1972, continues to serve on the Academy's board today.

As an original member of the Academy’s Board of Trustees, Dr. Uhlig continues to serve on the board. He is credited for the Academy relocating from Milwaukee, Wis., to the Mobile, Ala., campus of the University of South Alabama in 1976.

Dr. Uhlig, who served as the dean of the University of South Alabama’s College of Education for 26 years until January 2003, was also an expert in the application of technology in education. He was a strong advocate and supporter of the development and growth of distance learning courses at the Academy.

He is being honored with the award as part of the Academy’s 40th Anniversary Celebration, which is scheduled at 5 p.m. Thursday, April 19 at the current Daphne, Ala., campus. In addition, the Academy will unveil the “Mr. Baseball” sculpture by Fairhope, Ala., artist Bruce Larsen, the Academy’s 2009 Sport Artist of the Year.

Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich, an Academy founder and its current president and CEO, credits Dr. Uhlig with the move and says the new location helped make it possible for the sports university to flourish. In 1986, The Academy purchased a permanent campus on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay, in Daphne, Ala., which remains its current home today.

“We went to six cities all in the south—San Diego, Phoenix, Albuquerque (N.M.), Houston, New Orleans and Atlanta,” Dr. Rosandich says. “Then Uhlig said, ‘Why don’t you come to South Alabama?’ We got an invitation and we did.”

Also on the original Board of Directors with Dr. Uhlig was: Mr. Robert Block, media specialist; the late Mr. Charles Cape, attorney; Mr. Gerald Hock, finance; and Dr. Rosandich, sport administrator. Only Dr. Uhlig, Block and Dr. Rosandich continue to serve today.

Dr. Uhlig, who played catcher at the University of Nebraska, where he earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in education, met Dr. Rosandich at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Dr. Uhlig was the chairman of the Athletic Committee and Dr. Rosandich was the athletic director.

In a recent interview with The Sport Update, the 78-year-old Dr. Uhlig discusses his first meeting with Dr. Rosandich about forming the Academy, Dr. Rosandich’s leadership and the Academy’s move to the Mobile area.

The Sport Update: How did you become involved with Dr. Rosandich and the United States Sports Academy?

Dr. George Uhlig: In 1972, I was elected Athletic Board chairman at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. At that time, we were looking for an AD and one of the names that kept popping up was Rosandich. As a sideline, my father died exactly the same time he came aboard. The first two times I ran into him after he had become our new AD, he was making interesting statements that what people needed was a school of sport. The third time we talked about this I said, ‘Why don’t you start one?’

The Sport Update: How did the relocation of the Academy to the University of South Alabama come about in 1976?

Dr. George Uhlig: The Academy had some options. Tom (Rosandich) had discussions with people in several cities like San Diego and Atlanta. Once I got the education deanship at the University of South Alabama, I went to our president, Dr. Frederick Whiddon, because I knew we had some property available. I told him I thought bringing the Academy down was something we ought to do. I wasn’t sure how he might react but Dr. Whiddon supported it. The Academy almost immediately got its first contract with Bahrain and began building its program and first offices there.

The Sport Update: What do you think of the Academy’s growth and success?

Dr. George Uhlig: When I met Tom (Rosandich), I got to know him and his vision. I admired his energy for this idea. I never had any doubts about it. I was not sure how exactly it would happen but he had my support on it. It was a great idea and is a great idea. It has its place in the nation’s sports development and I think it will continue to succeed. It has come a long way in 40 years, thanks to Tom’s (Rosandich’s) leadership.

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