2013 August

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
Terri L. Adams (Allentown, Penn.) – B.S.S. Sports Management
Julia A. Carrasco (Colorado Springs, Colo.) – B.S.S Sports Coaching
Michael Wayne Golden (Buna, Texas) – B.S.S. Sports Coaching

Master’s Students
Chadwick S. Ashley (Richlands, N.C.) – M.S.S. Sports Coaching
Garrett A. Bacher (Ontario, N.Y.) – M.S.S Sports Coaching Personal Training Emphasis
John Virgil Bundrick (Batesburg, S.C.) – M.S.S. Sports Management
Zachary W. Landers (Lawndale, Ill.) – M.S.S. Sports Management
Joseph Allen Lawson (Plum Branch, S.C.) – M.S.S. Sports Management
Tien-Sheng Lee (Irvine, Calif.) – M.S.S. Sports Management
Art Mota (Albany, Ore.) – M.S.S. Sports Coaching Sports Psychology Emphasis
Christopher Michael Myers (Waterboro, S.C.) – M.S.S. Sports Coaching Recreation Management Emphasis
Eric Ryan Ruffer (Bryan, Ohio) – M.S.S. Sports Management
Brielle E. Sautter (Bellville, Ohio) – M.S.S. Sports Management
Derek J. Sola (Hamburg, Penn.) – M.S.S. Sports Studies
Lynn Stogner Tucker (University Place, Wash.) – M.S.S. Sports Fitness and Health
Christopher L. Wells (Decatur, Ala.) – M.S.S. Sports Coaching
Drew E. Wilcox (Russell, Penn.) – M.S.S. Sports Studies

Learn more about Academy programs at USSA.edu

Academy Signs Protocol to Create Shanghai Olympic Training Program

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United States Sports Academy Vice President and COO Dr. T.J. Rosandich recently signed a new protocol with the Shanghai Sports Administration (SSA) that calls for the Academy to create an elite coaching program. 

Academy Vice President and COO Dr. T.J. Rosandich (right) and Liu Li Ping, Deputy Chief for the Shanghai Sports Administration Foreign Affairs Office, sign a protocol that calls for the Academy to help train their elite athletes as coaches.

The Chinese Sport Authority plans to select 100 of its most elite athletes and Olympians, who have recently retired and are between the ages of 25-30 and put them into a special training program with one of their sport universities for a period of 10 months. At the end of those 10 months, 20 of the best students will be selected and sent to the Academy’s campus in Daphne, Ala., for two months of special sports training in November 2014.

After attending training sessions at the Academy in Daphne, the elite coaching group will begin basketball, track and field, and swimming mentorship programs with local sports organizations.

The SSA requested the Academy to submit a proposal for this program following Academy Vice President and COO Dr. T.J. Rosandich’s meeting with Dr. Guo Bei, SSA Deputy Director General, and Liu Li Ping, Deputy Chief for the SSA Foreign Affairs Office.

“We are delighted with this opportunity to work with some of the best athletes in the world,” Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich said.

In May, the Academy hosted a group of more than 20 swimming coaches from Shanghai who traveled to the United States for sports training. The Shanghai Swimming Coaches Sports Study Tour included attending seminars on sports psychology and sports medicine, as well as going to swim practices both at the youth and collegiate level to learn more about swimming techniques and training methods. Besides the Academy and Auburn University, a college powerhouse in swimming, they also worked with both Bishop State Community College and TNT Swimming, an elite youth swimming team based in Daphne, Ala.

Ping, the Shanghai Swimming Coaches Study Tour group leader who won a bronze medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics in women’s Team Handball, said she and other Shanghai members learned a lot of useful information during the Study Tour that they can use to be better coaches and to help their athletes improve.

Academy Partners with StraighterLine Giving Students A Fast and Low-Cost Path to Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Sports

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For more than 40 years, the United States Sports Academy has served as a leader in higher education in sports degree programs. The sports university has aided hundreds of college students in completing their bachelor’s degrees.

Now the Academy offers a pathway for college students coming out of high school or starting college for the first time to complete required general education courses, so they can go on to earn a bachelor’s degree from the Academy.

The Academy has become a Partner College with StraighterLine that offers quality online general education college courses at a low cost. StraighterLine’s courses are recommended by the American Council on Education (ACE). They also meet all the requirements for students to then transfer to the Academy and take sports-specific coursework for a bachelor’s degree. 

“We are very excited about this new, low-cost option that allows bachelor’s students to get to the Academy by taking general education classes with StraighterLine,” said Dr. Tim Foley, the Academy’s Dean of Student Services. “StraighterLine’s courses are online, similar to the Academy’s programs, where students can work at their own pace.”

StraighterLine’s online courses are self-paced, flexible and convenient, and offer a quicker and less expensive alternative to attend the Academy. Whether you’re a new student or a transfer student who takes StraighterLine’s 12 general education courses, the Academy will waive its $50 application fee.

StraighterLine general education courses accepted for transfer by the Academy include: Accounting I, English I, English II, College Algebra, Computer Science, Intro to Communications, Intro to Nutrition, Intro to Psychology, Intro to Sociology, Personal Fitness & Wellness, U.S. History I, and U.S. History II.

For more traditional students, the Academy announced earlier this summer its partnership with Alabama Southern Community CollegeASCC students can now seamlessly earn a bachelor’s in Sports Management from the Academy after earning their associates degree.

The schools agreed to establish a so-called 2+2 program. It allows students at the multi-campus community college in southwest Alabama to take two years of study that will prepare them to attend the Academy. Once they earn an associate’s degree, students can then enroll in the Academy’s bachelor’s program in Sports Management and get their degree in as little as two years.

The Academy, known as “America’s Sports University,” has been a leader in sports education for more than 40 years. The university, which is regionally accredited at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels, added an upper-division bachelor’s degree to its programs in 2004.

To learn more about the Academy’s partnerships with StraighterLine and ASCC, call 251-626-3303 or email academy@ussa.edu.

 

Training Prepares Academy’s Faculty for 2013-14 Academic Year

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The United States Sports Academy gathered 27 of its residential and non-residential faculty members for training on Canvas, the university’s new learning management system, and other improvements to its sports education programs for the 2013-14 academic year.

The Academy, the only freestanding university of sport education since its inception in 1972 and the largest graduate school of sport education in the world, plans to launch Canvas Sept. 3.

The Academy's faculty met at the Daphne, Ala., campus on Aug. 9 to begin preparation for the new academic year.

Faculty were also introduced in-depth to ProctorU, a new reliable and a convenient alternative testing solution that allows students to take their tests in the comfort of their own homes and at their own computers while a human proctor monitors them via the web.

In addition, faculty members reviewed the Academy’s new partnerships with Alabama Southern Community College, which also uses Canvas, and StraighterLine. Both institutions give new college students two unique ways to transfer into the Academy’s bachelor’s programs faster and at a lower cost.

Dr. T.J. Rosandich, the Academy’s vice president and COO, also provided an overview of the data that’s collected for measuring institutional effectiveness and judging of outcomes learned by Academy students as they go through the program. The data are critical to the Fifth-Year Report required for accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

During his welcome speech to kick off the day-long training Friday, Aug. 9, Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich also covered a number of issues currently impacting higher education, such as state authorization, ebooks, financial aid and student debt, tuition hikes, MOOCs and President Barack Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act.

Dr. Rosandich also congratulated the current faculty for their hard work and dedication to the Academy’s students. He emphasized how critical both the residential faculty chairs and distance learning faculty are to the school’s retention of students.

“There are a lot of challenges in higher education and our faculty is critical to helping us meet them,” he said. “Our current group of faculty members are certainly the best we have ever had. I’m thankful to them for their outstanding performances.”

The Academy's recent faculty training included several past academic department chairs and deans. In this photo are (left to right): Dr. Ric Esposito, Dr. Donn Renwick, Dr. Craig Bogar, Dr. Jordan Moon, Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich, Dr. Bryan Wallace, Dr. Lawrence Bestmann, Dr. Brett Simmermacher, Dr. Mike Spino, and Dr. Tedd Phillips.

One challenge the Academy faced this year was upgrading its online education to Canvas. Begun in 2008, the Utah-based company, boasts 300-plus colleges, universities and school districts as users. Some benefits Academy students will notice:

• Students can access their sports courses on any computer device, including smartphones or tablets through Mobile Apps. Through the Apps, students can view grades, check course progress, participate in discussions and post and receive text, audio or video messages.
• Students can choose how to receive notifications or messages from faculty, other students and the school, such as through texts, Facebook, Twitter or emails.
• Canvas’ SpeedGrader allows students to receive better and quicker feedback on assignments from faculty because there are more tools and the system is integrated with the rubrics. All this is done without downloading or uploading files.
• Students will never have to worry about Canvas shutting down Academy courses for maintenance or upgrades because the company hosts the system.
• Canvas employs a modern, intuitive design that is easy to navigate and use for the Academy’s students, faculty and course developers.

Faculty members, such as Edward Sakiewicz, who has more than 25 years experience in the business of sport, were impressed with Canvas after an afternoon of training.

“Canvas is critical to helping the Academy stay ahead in education,” he said. “It gives us a lot more ability to serve our students and the ability to serve them almost in real time.”

Jordan Moon, a former chair of sports exercise science who now serves on the distance learning faculty, also praised the Canvas platform.

“This is definitely better and students will notice a big difference,” he said.

United States Sports Academy Summary of International Projects

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The following is a list of coaching and teaching projects undertaken by the United States Sports Academy in about 20 countries around the world. This list does not include the one-time seminars and special studies undertaken in a consulting role (i.e. facility consulting, feasibility studies, etc.) that were conducted in more than 45 other countries since it opened in 1972. Today, the regionally accredited university is the largest graduate school of sport education in the world.

1977 – 1980, State of Bahrain: Full- charge conduct of the nation’s national sports effort. Provided national coaches in six sports along with the development, equipping, staffing and operation of the first sport medicine center and human performance lab in the Arabian Gulf region. Developed the Physical Fitness test used until this day (with some modifications) and tested every school age child in the country.

1979, Mexico: Ministry of Sports (via The University of Chihuahua). Delivered the International Certification in Sport Coaching (ICSC) and the International Certification in Sport Management (ICSM) on the campus of the University of Chihuahua; the venue selected by the Ministry of Sports utilizing twelve instructors.

The United States Sports Academy has conducted its fitness test in the Kingdom of Bahrain, Malaysia and elsewhere during its more than four decades working with 65 nations around the globe.

1980 – 1983, Kuwait: Supreme Council for Youth and Sport. The Academy provided a team of six coaches to work with the national teams as well as sports medicine and strength coaches to support the national sport effort.

1981 – 1989, State of Bahrain: General Organization for Youth and Sports. Provided a full-time advisor to the President of Goys as well as taught the ICSM and ICSC programs for almost a decade. In addition to those programs, conducted a wide variety of specialized clinics and seminars to support the national sport effort.

1981 – 1986, Philippines: Office of the President; University of Life. The President of the Philippines contracted directly with the Academy to provide training various sports coaches with terms of service varied. Additionally, the Academy delivered its ICSM and ICSC programs which typically required 12 faculty annually.

1983 – 1986, Malaysia: Yayasan Sabah. Provided a team of four coaches and a sport medicine specialist who worked in
the Likas sport complex, coaching the provincial team. Also, taught the ICSM and ICSC programs in Kota Kinabalu during this period.

1984 – 1987, Brunei: Darussalam Ministry of Culture Youth and Sport. Provided six coaches to work with the national teams.

1984 – 1987, Singapore: Singapore Sport Council. Taught the ICSM and ICSC programs which typically required 12
faculty during the course of the year.

1984 – 1987, Indonesia: Komite Olahraga Nasional Indonesia. Provided a team of four coaches to work with various
national teams.

1986 – 1989, Malaysia: Majlis Sukan Nationale. Provided various coaches for varying lengths of time and taught the ICSM and ICSC programs annually.

1985 – 1990, Thailand: National Olympic Committee. Taught the ICSM and ICSC programs which typically required 12 faculty annually.

1981 – 1990, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Royal Saudi Air Force. Conducted a physical fitness sport and recreation program at 5 Air Force bases which at its peak required approximately 200 full-time coaches and approximately 300 maintenance staff. The sport program typically had 20 different sports or activities. Additionally, the Academy did physical fitness testing on thousands of military personnel annually utilizing the test developed in 1977 for Bahrain.

1986 – 1994, Kingdom of Saudi: Arabia Royal Saudi Air Defense Force. At its peak the Academy had approximately 120 coaches working in seven different cities in the Kingdom coaching approximately 20 sports and activities. The Academy also conducted physical fitness testing on thousands of military personnel per year during this period and reduced and reported the results.

1984 – 1994, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: General Presidency of Youth Welfare. Recruited and provided national coaches for various sports including tennis, athletics, and swimming. Also arranged training camp in the United States for Saudi Olympic Teams in preparation for the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles and conducted various clinics and seminars of varying lengths during this period.

1984, Sultanate of Oman: Ministry of Education. Arranged training camps in the United States for Oman Olympic teams in preparation for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. Also, prepared a master plan for sport development for the country.

1988 – 1989, Egypt: Supreme Council for Youth and Sport. Taught the ICSM program in Cairo which required 6 faculty.

1990 – 1996, Malaysia: KL City; BAM – Taught the ICSM and ICSC programs for various organizations such as Kuala Lumpur Majlis Sukan and the Badminton Association of Malaysia. These were taught annually and typically required at least 12 faculty.

1993 – 2000, Korea: The Academy organized the Korean Special Project that ultimately awarded over 50 doctoral degrees to Korean students who represented virtually every Dean of Physical Education in the university system of that nation.

1995 – 2003, Singapore: Taught the ICSM program annually on behalf of the USSA Alumni Association who organized and marketed the program in Singapore.

1996, Panama: University of Panama. Taught the ICSM program in Panama which required six faculty.

1997, Mexico: University of Tamaulipas. Taught the ICSM program on the campus of the University of Tamaulipas which required six faculty.

1997 – 1999, Hong Kong: Sport Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong China. Taught the ICSM and ICSC
programs annually which required between 6 and 12 faculty.

1997 – 2000, Brunei: Darussalam Ministry of Culture Youth and Sport . Provided the national swimming coach to work with the national swimming team of Brunei.

1998 – 1999, Aruba: National Olympic Committee. Taught the ICSC program which required six faculty.

1998 – 2001, Botswana: Botswana National Sports Council. Taught the ICSM and ICSC programs annually which required 12 faculty. We also did a feasibility study for the establishment of a Botswana National Sports Academy.

1998 – 2012, Kingdom of Bahrain: General Organization for Youth in Sports and the National Olympic Committee. Taught the ICSM, ICSC and/or diploma programs annually for 14 years. Additionally, during this time, the Academy conducted specialized clinics and seminars, undertook studies and other consulting work to support the national
sport effort.

1999 – 2000, Kingdom of Bahrain: University of Bahrain. The Academy provided adjunct faculty to teach sports management on the campus of the University of Bahrain. Additionally, the Academy accepted 3 doctoral students into our doctoral program in Sport Management who upon graduation became the nucleus of the faculty of sport management at the University of Bahrain.

2000 – 2007, Taiwan: The Academy conducted a special doctoral program similar to that of the Korean Special Project which ultimately resulted in more than 20 Taiwanese students receiving doctoral degrees from the Academy.

2002 – 2005, Kingdom of Bahrain: Ministry of Education. Provided a team of 4 faculty to rewrite the physical education curriculum at the primary, intermediate, and secondary school levels. The Academy also developed a plan for a seasonally based, year long interscholastic sport program and did physical fitness testing, data analysis and reporting on more than 35,000 Bahrain school children.

2003 – present, Thailand: Sport Authority of Thailand. The Academy annually teaches it ICSM and ICSC programs in
Bangkok and arranges an annual sport study tour of sports in America for the best of the students in these programs.

2003 – present, Singapore: International Sport Academy – Singapore. Is teaching Academy ICSM, ICSC and diploma
programs in Singapore and periodic seminars utilizing USSA faculty.

2006 – 2008, Kingdom of Bahrain: Ministry of the Interior. The Academy provided a team of four faculty to deliver the physical fitness sport and recreation program to the nation’s police forces, as well as training exercise and fitness leaders. Additionally, the Academy did physical fitness testing on thousands of police officers, reduced and reported the results.

2007 – 2010, United Arab Emirates: Various groups. The Academy taught its ICSM and ICSC programs in Dubai and Abu Dhabi to various groups including individuals from the municipal sport councils, general organization for youth and sports welfare, sports clubs and sports associations.

2010, Jamaica: University of Technology. The Academy delivered its ICSM program on the UTech campus which required six faculty.

2008 – present, Malaysia: Various groups. The Academy has delivered a variety or certification and diploma programs to different groups such as the Institute Sukan Nacional (ISN) and the Ministry of Education. In the latter program, the Academy utilized as many as a dozen faculty at a time to teach over 1,000 teachers of which over 600 attained the diploma. In addition the Academy reduced and reported the results of physical fitness testing on almost 50,000 Malaysian school children.

2013, Gabon: Office of the President. The Academy completed an assessment of the National Sport Effort of the Republic of Gabon and based on the findings is currently planning the development of a National Sports Academy, which will be implemented in 2014.

People, Places & Programs

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Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich has been selected to receive the Mobile Arts Council’s Art Patron of the Year Award. He will be honored with the award during a ceremony at the Mobile Saenger Theatre Aug. 29.

Academy Vice President and COO Dr. T.J. Rosandich recently met with Dr. Tim Fok, President of the Hong Kong National Olympic Committee, President of the Hong Kong, China, Football Association, and Vice-President of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), to discuss possible sports programs that the Academy could run in Hong Kong like it did for more than 30 years prior to the city’s return to mainland China.

Dr. Tim Fok (left), the head of the Olympic Committee in Hong Kong, recently met with Academy Vice President and CEO Dr. T.J. Rosandich to discuss possible sports programs in Hong Kong.

The Academy’s Dean of Academic Affairs Dr. Stephen Butler attended the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Institute on Quality Enhancement and Accreditation that was held July 21-24 in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Dr. Tim Foley, the Academy’s Dean of Student Services, recently attended the Noel-Levitz National Conference on Student Recruitment, Marketing, and Retention July 15-18 in New Orleans, La.

With the help of an Association of Applied Sport Psychology grant, Dr. Arthur Ogden, the Academy’s Chair of Sports Management, and Brandon Spradley, a doctoral teaching assistant at the Academy, recently presented concussion awareness, education and training to the Southern Youth Sports Association in Pensacola, Fla. The two also trained the coaches on how to use and apply the King-Devick Test in youth sports.

Dr. William Steffen, the Academy’s Chair of Sports Coaching, directed the National Soccer Coaches Association of America National Diploma course held July 29-Aug. 4 in Rome, Ga. Dr. Steffen also conducted coaching, player and parent workshops for the FC Soccer Club in Indianapolis on Aug. 10.

Academy National Faculty members Dr. Reggie Overton and Dr. Pete Mathiesen traveled July 26 through Aug. 3 to Thailand to teach courses that were the sixth in a six-part series to be hosted by the Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT) for the Academy’s International Certification in Sports Management.

Jordan Moon, an Academy Distance Learning Faculty member, was recently elected as a 2013 Distinguished Alumni-in-Residence by the College of Arts and Sciences at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich.

The Academy’s 2000 and 2013 Sport Artist of the Year Charles Billich will be featured in a New York Exhibition being held Oct. 4 to Nov. 5 in Whitney, N.Y.

Grandmaster Steve DeMasco, who earned an Honorary Doctorate from the Academy in 2012 and played a major role in the Academy’s creation of its online course, “The Philosophy of Shaolin Kung Fu” (CEB 205), led a recent pilgrimage of 39 Shaolin disciples from the United States to the Shaolin Temple in China.

Major Program Events

Olympic Legacies: International Conference – The event, themed “Impacts of Mega-Events on Cities,” will be held Sept. 4-6 at the University of East London.

The Shaolin Temple Cultural Festival – Sept. 8-15 in Los Angeles, Calif.

Academy Director of Student Information Systems Greg Rosandich Remembered as a Family Man

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Gregory “Greg” Scott Rosandich, the United States Sports Academy’s director of student information systems, was remembered for his dedication to his family, especially as a devoted husband and father.

The 55-year-old from Semmes, Ala., who was the youngest of Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich’s four sons, passed away peacefully on July 29, 2013 surrounded by his family. He was married to Reba Griffin of Mobile, Ala., in 1994 and they have one son, Thomas Gregory.

Greg Rosandich

Born June 13, 1958 in Sheboygan Falls, Wis., Greg Rosandich became an All-Conference quarterback at Nicolet High School in Glendale, Wis., where he graduated with honors. He also excelled in diving, gymnastics and the pole vault.

At the age of 11 in 1969, Rosandich completed the inaugural Paavo Nurmi Marathon, which was founded by his father and is still run today. By the time he finished the race in Hurley, Wis., five hours later, the crowds had long since vanished.

“That he was tenacious was perhaps best personified when he ran the Paavo Nurmi,” said Greg’s brother, T.J. “As the race progressed, he would come to the water stations only to find that they had packed it in. But still he ran on, getting water from garden hoses along the route. What was overlooked in all of this, I’m willing to bet, was that he could have very well been the youngest ever finisher of a marathon at that point in time.”

In 1981, Greg Rosandich went to work in the oil fields for Halliburton. In Saudi Arabia, he became foreman of a crew that pumped chemicals down oil wells. In 1985, while on a rig near Abqaiq, the oil well blew out. He was knocked over the side of the platform and fell about 35 feet to the desert floor.

However, he recovered and worked right up to the day that he was taken to the hospital for the last time. At the time of his death, he was employed at the Academy in Daphne, Ala., where he worked with his father and brother, T.J.

Well-liked and respected at the Academy and in the community, his Aug. 8 memorial service in Fairhope, Ala., attracted many people, including Board of Trustees Emeritus Jerry Hock and his wife, Patty; Trustee Emeritus Bill Jeansonne, and his wife, Stephanie; former Academy Dean of Academic Affairs Skip Applin, Ron Dickerson, former faculty member and the first black football coach in NCAA Division I at Temple University; Mike Marshall, statewide director of commentary for al.com; and the President of CIBA Geigy Sven Mansfeld and his wife, Sybil. Among many other people, there was a large contingent from the local Jessie Andrews Marine Corps League Detachment.

“We sincerely appreciate everyone’s wonderful expressions of sympathy for Greg,” said Dr. Rosandich, Greg’s father. “He simply is in a better place now. We will carry him always in our hearts.”

Greg is survived by his father Dr. Thomas Peter Rosandich (Sally); his wife, Reba and son, Toma; his three brothers, Dr. T.J. Rosandich, Capt. Steve Rosandich (Jayne), and Capt. Mark Rosandich; and two sisters, Nicki Rosandich (Matthew), and Michele Rosandich; mother-in-law Betty Arnold (Jeff) and numerous nephews and nieces.

Toronto Blue Jays' R.A. Dickey Receives Academy’s 2013 Jackie Robinson Humanitarian Award for Work in India with Sexually Abused Women and Children

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R.A. Dickey, 2012 Cy Young Award winner and Toronto Blue Jays knuckleball pitcher, earned the United States Sports Academy’s 2013 Jackie Robinson Humanitarian Award for his inspiring work with Bombay Teen Challenge (BTC) in India to help sexually abused women and children.

Dickey began serving the BTC—a Christian organization that has rescued women and children from sex trafficking for nearly 23 years—because he was sexually abused growing up. He shared about his wounded past in his stirring autobiography, “Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball.”

Academy Board of Trustees member Tom Cafaro presented R.A. Dickey the 2013 Jackie Robinson Humanitarian Award during a Blue Jays pregame ceremony Aug. 10 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.

Academy Board of Trustees member Tom Cafaro, a longtime executive at Nichols College and NCAA Division I Lacrosse Player of the Year for West Point in 1971, presented the Humanitarian Award Aug. 10 to Dickey during a pregame ceremony at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.

The Jackie Robinson Humanitarian Award is presented annually to an individual, like Dickey, who has demonstrated a concern for mankind. This individual exhibits the qualities of dedication, grace under pressure, personal sacrifice, compassion, hope, and dignity that characterize the promotion of human welfare and social reform.

Jack Roosevelt Robinson broke the baseball color barrier by displaying his skills, while at the same time subjugating his pride, to prove an awareness of our failings, as well as his abilities. Had he lacked the discipline, not to mention the dedication, America and sport would be spiritually and athletically poorer.

This January, Dickey traveled to Mumbai, India, where he saw firsthand the redemptive work of BTC. During the trip, Dickey also helped celebrate the opening of a clinic in the midst of Mumbai’s red-light district—a clinic he helped pay for by raising more than $100,000 by climbing Mount Kilmanjaro last winter.

“If the organization rescues one human life from that hell, then it’s done its job in some way,” Dickey said. “You’re talking over the last 23 years over 1,000 lives being rescued, given a second chance to have a life, rescuing children, people who were left for dead on doorsteps of these brothels. How do you measure success? I think it’s one life at a time.”

Dickey is known as one of baseball’s most successful pitchers and the only knuckleballer to ever be awarded Major League Baseball’s top pitching honor—the Cy Young Award. But Dickey didn’t get to that success without overcoming his own challenges.

Dickey recently shared stories about his difficult journey climbing to the top of professional baseball and the lessons he learned along the way in a film posted online by I Am Second, a movement meant to inspire through stories of hope and transformation.

Having been molested and raped as a child, Dickey faced feelings of unworthiness as he coped with his abuse, hiding it from the world.

“Within sports I found I could control my destiny,” Dickey said. “If you followed the formula as an athlete, you would be rewarded for that. So, that was not only how I escaped, but found a lot of validation and identity as I grew up.”

Dickey has not only identified himself as a distinguished baseball player, but as a selfless individual who truly cares in helping better the lives of others.

“The knuckleball can be a metaphor for what it’s like to let go,” Dickey said. “When you throw a knuckleball well, the only thing you care about is releasing the ball toward its target without spin. To release a ball that doesn’t spin, you have to surrender to the outcome in a way that you don’t with other pitches. For me personally, God’s in my mechanics, too. The surrender for me doesn’t happen when I release the pitch, it happens when I wake up in the morning—having to surrender to every moment from then until I close my eyes at night.”

 

Academy Capturing Oral History of Notable Black Athletes from Era of Segregation

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The year 1963 was a defining one in the civil rights movement. It was highlighted by Martin Luther King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech Aug. 28 in Washington, D.C., where about 200,000 people gathered at the Lincoln Memorial in the March on Washington. It came after major unrest over segregation erupted in Birmingham, Ala., and spread across the South.

Now, 50 years later the United States Sports Academy in conjunction with alumni of the Mobile County Training School, an all-black school dating back to the 1880s, have begun an oral history project to capture and preserve the experiences of well-known black athletes from Mobile, Ala., during that tumultuous era of segregation beginning in the 1950s.

Football players on the sideline, preparing to play during the December 1966 state championship football game between Carver High School of Montgomery, Ala., and Mobile County Training School, at Hartwell Field in Mobile, Ala.

Despite the landmark, unanimous Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kans., declaring that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional, change came slowly to Mobile and the South.

Players attended all-black schools, played on all-black teams and competed for state championships from the Alabama Interscholastic Athletic Association, the black counterpart of the Alabama High School Athletic Association.

The oral history project is led by Brandon Spradley, a doctoral teaching assistant at the Academy, and Anderson Flen, a MCTS alumnus who was a star quarterback at the high school. They have lined up 15 black athletes for interviews who were notable in the black community but rarely gained acclaim across racial lines. The Academy, the only freestanding university of sport education in America, plans to make their stories available to the public through its website later this fall.

So far, the team has interviewed eight men. They include:

• Rev. Julius Ceasar Hope, a star high school quarterback, runner-up in the middleweight division in the Golden Gloves program and a one-time San Francisco Giants prospect;
• Washington Taylor, a standout football player;
• Gabe Coleman, a top wide receiver on County’s 1966 state championship team;
• Theodore Spradley III, a three-sport start in basketball, football and track and field who went on to coach Blount High School to six state championships;
• Larry Shears, one of the top running backs in the state at County who went onto play in the NFL and former World Football League;
• Bill Kidd, a baseball player and coach for the all-black Plateau Bay Bears;
• Charles Hope, a defensive wizard at second base who went on to play in the Chicago Cubs organization; and
• Norman Hill and A.C. Mosley, the first two black baseball players to play on a historically all-white area team in 1969.

Those athletes had to cobble together used equipment, such as cleats and broken baseball bats held together with tape and nails. They played in second-rate facilities and sometimes even on makeshift fields on cow pastures.

Despite poor playing conditions, Mobile County Training School teacher Valena McCants and head football coach Charles Rhodes wrote a letter in 1967 to then University of Alabama coach Paul Bear Bryant about recruiting Shears and Coleman, who were considered elite high school players in the state. As the story goes, Bryant wrote back that the South just wasn’t ready for black athletes yet. It would be 1971 before the university had its first black football players.

Shears and the others have emphasized that they played for the love of the games. They said sports taught them many lessons, such as hard work, determination and how to deal with adversity, which helped prepare them for success later in life.

Shears recalled that he and his teammates in eighth grade had to run through a white neighborhood in Prichard, Ala., to get to their football games and to return home.

“As soon as we finished playing, we had to gather all our stuff, and we had to run from Prichard Park all the way to about Larry’s Drive-In,” Shears said. “You couldn’t stop. You had to keep going. It was an experience that taught me if you wanted to do something, sometimes you have to take chances. I don’t know what would have happened if we had gotten caught, but I wasn’t worried about getting caught. My main objective was getting back to the house, and I did.

“That was one of the things that really kind of made me understand that athletics is more than just getting out there on the field. Sometimes you have to go through other stuff just to even get an opportunity to play. A lot of times, you have to deal with things you don’t want to.”

Because many of their exploits were ignored by the white mainstream newspapers and rarely gained coverage elsewhere, the Academy’s preservation of this history is seen as important in a community rich in sports tradition. Plus, many of the athletes are in their 60s, 70s and 80s and want to educate future generations about their playing days during a period of rampant inequality.

“As a former student-athlete, I didn’t have to deal with a lot of the racism, as they did,” said Spradley, a former Alabama track star. “We need to know that, and we need to be appreciative of the things that our grandparents and parents went through, so we can be appreciative of playing competitive sports.”

Flen, who is helping conduct the project’s interviews of athletes, added that he has learned a lot already that he didn’t know.

“I have a real strong interest in preserving this history and talking about the legacy of sports in Mobile, but in the African-American community in particular, especially the phenomenal athletes who played sports in the Africatown community,” Flen said.

For more information about the oral history project, you can read two stories about it that appeared Aug. 10 on AL.com: “U.S. Sports Academy oral-history project preserving experiences of Mobile’s black athletes,”  and “Larry Shears: A Mobile sports star lifts back the curtain of segregation.”

Wimbledon Champion Andy Murray and American Swimmer Katie Ledecky Voted Academy’s Athletes of the Month for July

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The No. 2-ranked tennis player in the world Andy Murray and 16-year-old American swimmer Katie Ledecky both gave electrifying performances in the spotlight of major worldwide sporting events. 

Andy Murray

Murray became the first British man to win Wimbledon in 77 years by beating No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 in the finals. The 26-year-old Scotsman’s victory was the first since Fred Perry won Wimbledon in 1936. It was Murray’s second grand slam title, which helped him achieve the three goals he had set for himself — win a Grand Slam title, win an Olympic title at home, win Wimbledon.

Meanwhile, Ledecky set two world records in five days, won four gold medals and was named the top female swimmer at the world swimming championships in Barcelona. Ledecky dominated the 1,500-meter freestyle, clocking a time of 15 minutes, 36.53 seconds, which beat the six-year-old mark by 6 seconds. In the 800-meter freestyle, she finished in 8:13.86, shaving nearly a quarter of a second off the old world record set at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Ledecky also won gold in the 400-meter freestyle where she missed setting a world record by 0.67 seconds with a time of 3:59.82. She also won gold in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay.

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 during the first two weeks of each month to vote for the male and female Athletes of the Month. The votes along with an Academy committee choose the winners who become candidates for the Athlete of the Year. The monthly and yearly winners are announced on the Academy’s website and in the sports university’s online edition of The Sport Update. 

Katie Ledecky

Finishing second in the men’s category was American golfer Phil Mickelson, who shot a 5-under, 66—the lowest score of the week—on the final round of the 142nd British Open Championship at Muirfield in Gullane, Scotland. It was the 43-year-old’s first British Open title in his career. Mickelson made birdies on four of the last six holes to claim the claret jug given to the winner. His 3-under 281 total made him the only player to finish below par.

The runner-up to Ledecky on the women’s ballot was South Korean golfer Hee Young Park, who equaled the LPGA Tour record for lowest total score for a tournament at 26-under 258. Park and Angela Stanford were tied at the end of regulation in the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic in Waterloo, Ontario. However, Park birdied the third playoff hole for the victory to earn her second career LPGA victory.

Third place winners for July were British cyclist Chris Froome, 28, who won the 100th Tour de France by the largest margin since 1997 at 4 minutes, 20 seconds; and 16-year-old Lithuanian Ruta Meilutyte, who set world records in both the women’s 100-meter breaststroke (1:04.35) and 50-meter breaststroke (29.48).

Murray and Ledecky are now eligible for the Academy’s male and female 2013 Athlete of the Year Award. For the 29th consecutive year, the Academy will oversee the worldwide online voting that will take place in December. This prestigious award is currently done in conjunction with NBC Sports.

In 2012, the male Athlete of the Year was Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, who became the first man ever to win both the 100- and 200-meter races in successive Olympics. The female Athlete of the Year was American tennis player Serena Williams, who became the singles champion at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the Olympics. Both Olympians dominated 2012’s online ballot in December, which drew tens of thousands of votes a day from across the world.

Academy Assists in Verifying Guinness World Record Attempt for the ‘Fastest 10K Run on Sand’

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A new Guinness World Record attempt—the fastest 10-kilometer run on sand—was witnessed and verified by Matthew Cope, the United States Sports Academy’s director of operations.

Cope was asked to help assist in certifying the inaugural event for Guinness because his role at the Academy requires him to help put on large scale sports and other events at the university.

Matthew Cope, the United States Sports Academy’s director of operations, poses with Marie Bader, who went home with the Guinness World Record for the "Fastest 10KM Run On Sand"

“It was a great event and well run,” Cope said. “The runners thoroughly enjoyed themselves, even though some said afterwards that they would rather run 10 miles on asphalt than two miles in the beach sand.”

Marie Bader, a 26-year-old from Mobile who teaches and coaches cross country at McGill-Toolen, was the first individual runner across the finish line in 55 minutes, 1 second. She came in 2:49 ahead of the 18 other individual runners.

The race started at Gulf State Park’s Cotton Bayou Beach Complex in Orange Beach, Ala., and ended just east of the main public beach in Gulf Shores, Ala. The entire course followed the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico.

“It was incredibly hard,” Bader said in an interview with al.com. “A couple of times I was just, ‘I give up.’ I felt like I was stuck in there.”

The Guinness World Record beach race was the brainchild of Joe Moore, who organized the so-called “The World-Beater All-Beach 10K.”

“We wanted to go ahead and do this, get it established and, hopefully, in the not-too-distant future have another one here and maybe even have a challenge between here and somewhere else,” Moore told al.com.

Toronto Blue Jays' R.A. Dickey Earns Academy’s 2013 Jackie Robinson Humanitarian Award for Work in India with Sexually Abused Women and Children

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R.A. Dickey, 2012 Cy Young Award winner and Toronto Blue Jays knuckleball pitcher, earned the United States Sports Academy’s 2013 Jackie Robinson Humanitarian Award for his inspiring work with Bombay Teen Challenge (BTC) in India to help sexually abused women and children.

Dickey began serving the BTC—a Christian organization that has rescued women and children from sex trafficking for nearly 23 years—because he was sexually abused growing up. He shared about his wounded past in his stirring autobiography, “Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball.”

R.A. Dickey is the Academy's 2013 Jackie Robinson Humanitarian Award winner.

He is scheduled to be presented the Humanitarian Award in a ceremony before the Blue Jays host the Oakland A’s at 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10. Dickey will receive the award from the Academy’s Board of Trustees member Tom Cafaro, a longtime executive at Nichols College and NCAA Division I Lacrosse Player of the Year for West Point in 1971.

The Jackie Robinson Humanitarian Award is presented annually to an individual, like Dickey, who has demonstrated a concern for mankind. This individual exhibits the qualities of dedication, grace under pressure, personal sacrifice, compassion, hope, and dignity that characterize the promotion of human welfare and social reform.

Jack Roosevelt Robinson broke the baseball color barrier by displaying his skills, while at the same time subjugating his pride, to prove an awareness of our failings, as well as his abilities. Had he lacked the discipline, not to mention the dedication, America and sport would be spiritually and athletically poorer.

This January, Dickey traveled to Mumbai, India, where he saw firsthand the redemptive work of BTC. During the trip, Dickey also helped celebrate the opening of a clinic in the midst of Mumbai’s red-light district—a clinic he helped pay for by raising more than $100,000 by climbing Mount Kilmanjaro last winter.

“If the organization rescues one human life from that hell, then it’s done its job in some way,” Dickey said. “You’re talking over the last 23 years over 1,000 lives being rescued, given a second chance to have a life, rescuing children, people who were left for dead on doorsteps of these brothels. How do you measure success? I think it’s one life at a time.”

Dickey is known as one of baseball’s most successful pitchers and the only knuckleballer to ever be awarded Major League Baseball’s top pitching honor—the Cy Young Award. But Dickey didn’t get to that success without overcoming his own challenges.

Dickey recently shared stories about his difficult journey climbing to the top of professional baseball and the lessons he learned along the way in a film posted online by I Am Second, a movement meant to inspire through stories of hope and transformation.

Having been molested and raped as a child, Dickey faced feelings of unworthiness as he coped with his abuse, hiding it from the world.

“Within sports I found I could control my destiny,” Dickey said. “If you followed the formula as an athlete, you would be rewarded for that. So, that was not only how I escaped, but found a lot of validation and identity as I grew up.”

Dickey has not only identified himself as a distinguished baseball player, but as a selfless individual who truly cares in helping better the lives of others.

“The knuckleball can be a metaphor for what it’s like to let go,” Dickey said. “When you throw a knuckleball well, the only thing you care about is releasing the ball toward its target without spin. To release a ball that doesn’t spin, you have to surrender to the outcome in a way that you don’t with other pitches. For me personally, God’s in my mechanics, too. The surrender for me doesn’t happen when I release the pitch, it happens when I wake up in the morning—having to surrender to every moment from then until I close my eyes at night.”

The United States Sports Academy is an independent, nonprofit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and the world with programs in instruction, research and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy, call 251-626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu.

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