Brett Mouron


Alumna Ivana Rich Makes Great Strides in Volleyball Career

Posted by | News & Events | No Comments

The credo “invigorated, zealous and energized” written on the insignia of Ivana Rich’s Delta Sigma Theta Sorority membership also reflects the coaching association she belongs to and embodies the volleyball teams for which she has played. Rich keeps good company as she passionately pursues her goals while maintaining balance in her life.

After returning from recruiting players at the 2014 Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association Girls Volleyball Championship in Las Vegas, Rich explained that in addition to skillful physicality, passion is the quality she looks for in new players.

Rich played middle blocker and right-side hitter for four seasons on the Division I women’s volleyball team at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). During her senior year, she served as team captain and led the Lady Rams to their first regular-season conference championship in the university’s history. Finishing with a total of 384 blocks in 117 career matches, Rich became the lead blocker in VCU history, in addition to achieving a VCU chart-topping, single season hitting percentage of .332.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at VCU in May 2009, Rich served as the volunteer assistant women’s volleyball coach at Division II Chowan University. In 2010, she helped lead them to a Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) championship.

In 2011, Rich was hired as the head volleyball coach at Division II Virginia State University (VSU). In 2012, Rich led her team to a 13-3 conference record finishing second in the CIAA Northern Division and guided her team to 14 wins during the regular season, the most wins by a VSU volleyball team since the 2004 season. Rich was subsequently named the recipient of the 2012 American Volleyball Coaches Association Minority Scholarship, which helped her earn a Master of Education in Counselor Education from VSU in July 2012.

In her final year at VSU, she led the team to a 17-11 record. In addition to winning a CIAA Northern Division title, the team also had five all-conference selections, including the 2013 Rookie of the Year. Rich was also named the 2013 CIAA Coach of the Year. During the 2013 season, she and her team also managed to focus on the community by dedicating 30 hours to community service per week.

After influencing many people while spiraling through the Virginia sports network, Rich set aim at her alma mater and as of Thursday, 16 January 2014, she became the assistant volleyball coach at Division 1 Coastal Carolina University.

Continuing to keep good company among the elite in the world of sports, Rich enrolled at the Academy in the fall of 2013, where she is seeking a Doctor of Education in Sports Management. She says the Academy experience is a perfect fit because the program’s flexibility affords her the opportunity to address her busy professional schedule and personal life-style while pursuing her degree online.

Rich said her philosophical approach of using volleyball as an instrument to coach student-athletes to becoming better people on and off of the court is grounded in her up-bringing. She attributes her work ethic and goal-seeking characteristics to her mother, Dr. Michelle Belle, who was the recipient of the first doctoral degree from VSU. Her father, Alfonso Belle, served as a football coach at the high school and semi-professional levels for more than twenty years.


UNC Coach Sylvia Hatchell named 2013 C. Vivian Stringer Coaching Award Winner

Posted by | News & Events | No Comments

Sylvia Hatchell accepts 2013 C. Vivian Stringer Coaching Award presented by Dr. Mark Janas during half-time of the last home basketball game on Sunday, 2 March 2014.

The Academy is proud to announce Sylvia Hatchell, University of North Carolina’s (UNC) head women’s basketball coach, as their 2013 C. Vivian Stringer Coaching Award winner.

Hatchell was presented the award on Sunday, 2 March 2014, by UNC and Academy alumnus Mark Janas at the last regular-season game in Chapel Hill, NC.

With a long career of coaching success, Hatchell earned her way to more wins than any other active head coach, holding a record of more than 900 victories over a 39-year reign as a head coach.

As result of her great success, she was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2013, accomplishments all contributing to the Academy’s decision to honor her with this award. The three-time national coach of the year became the tenth UNC Coach to become a member of the Naismith Hall of Fame, all other nine being men.

Likewise, in 2013 Hatchell became the third women’s basketball coach in history to reach 900 wins, second to former University Tennessee coach Pat Summitt.

While serving as the head coach of women’s basketball at the University of North Carolina for 28 years, Hatchell has led the Lady Tar Heels to a 1994 National Collegiate Athletic Association National Championship, three Final Fours, eight Atlantic Coast Conference titles, and six 30-win seasons.

In 1994, Hatchell led the United States to a gold medal in the R. William Jones Cup and the silver medal at the World University Games in 1995. She also served as an assistant coach to the United States team that won a gold medal in 1988, along with numerous other successful coaching roles. In addition to her coaching positions, Hatchell served as the 1996-1997 Women’s Basketball Coaches Association president.

In 1994, Hatchell’s alma mater, Carson-Newman, named her the Distinguished Alumna of the Year and she was later inducted into the college’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999. Similarly, she was honored with her induction into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2005 and the North Carolina and South Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 2009.

Although Hatchell was raised in Gastonia, North Carolina, she traveled to Jefferson City, Tennessee to obtain her bachelor’s degree in physical education and health from Carson-Newman in 1974 and her master’s degree the following year at the University of Tennessee.


Distinguished Service Award Presented to Longtime Track and Field Coach

Posted by | News & Events | No Comments

Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich, Academy President and CEO, presented Mr. Vic Godfrey (right) with a Distinguished Service Award in Daphne, Ala., on Thursday, 6 March 2014.  A longtime track and field coach, Godfrey was the first National Faculty member to serve the Academy internationally when he went on assignment to the Kingdom of Bahrain in 1977.  Godfrey, currently the cross country coach at Watertown High School in South Dakota, continues to serve on the Academy’s National Faculty.

People, Places and Programs

Posted by | News & Events | No Comments

Joe Castiglione, the Director of Athletics at the University of Oklahoma and the Academy’s 2012 Carl Maddox Sports Management Award recipient, will be recognized as Oklahoma City University’s (OCU) 2013-14 recipient of the Abe Lemons/Paul Hansen Award for Sports Excellence. Castiglione will receive the award during the annual OCU Sports Spectacular dinner and auction on Wednesday, 2 April 2014, at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Okla.

Trustee Joan Cronan was recently recognized by Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal’s “The Champions: Pioneers & Innovators in Sports Business.” Cronan was recognized for her role as the administrator of what arguably became the most successful women’s athletic department in history at the University of Tennessee.

Goldman_thumbAcademy Trustee Dr. Robert Goldman (left), the Founder and Chairman of the International Sports Hall of Fame (ISHOF), recently co-hosted the 2014 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.  The ceremonies were held on Saturday, 1 March 2014, during the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, Ohio, with more than 175,000 spectators in attendance.

A delegation of coaches from Jones County Junior College (JCJC) in Ellisville, Miss., visited the Academy on Friday, 14 February 2014. This delegation, which was led by Dr. Jim Walley, JCJC’s Vice President of External Affairs, visited to discuss the Academy’s academic degree programs and ways the two organizations may be able to collaborate in the future.

The Academy’s former Curator and current Art Committee member Robert Zimlich will have his photographs included in Dr. Arthur Evan’s “Beetles of Eastern North America,” which will be released on the 23rd of May 2014. While the majority of the 1,406 photographed species are Dr. Evans’, four of Zimlich’s beetle photographs were chosen for inclusion in what will be the first beetle handbook produced in 30 years.

The 2014 International Surfing Association (ISA) World Junior Surfing Championships will be held from 5-13 April 2014, in Salinas, Ecuador.

The 2014 International Olympic Committee (IOC) World Conference on Prevention of Injury and Illness in Sport will be held from 10-12 April 2014, in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

“WISE – Work In Sports Exhibition” has announced that it will host the first ever International Convention for Careers in Sports from 7-8 May 2014, in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The 3rd Annual International Surfing Association (ISA) World StandUp Paddle and Paddleboard Championships will be held from 3-11 May 2014, in La Boquita and Granada, Nicaragua.

The 2014 World Leisure Congress will be held from 7-12 September 2014, in Mobile, Ala.

The 2nd Strength, Conditioning, and Sports Therapy Research Symposium will be hosted by Coventry University on Thursday, 5 June 2014, in Coventry, United Kingdom.

The 19th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science entitled, “Sport Science Around the Canals,” will be held from 2-5 July 2014, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

The Fifth International Conference on Sport and Society will be held from 16-17 July 2014, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The 2014 International Society for the History of Physical Education and Sport (ISHPES) Congress, “Global Perspectives on Sports and Physical Cultures: From Past to Present,” will be held from 22-25 September 2014, in Doha, Qatar.

The 3rd World Scientific Congress of Combat Sports and Martial Arts will be hosted by the University of Rzeszow from 15-17 October 2014, in Rzeszów, Poland.

The 12th International Symposium for Olympic Research will be hosted by the International Centre for Olympic Studies (ICOS) from 30-31 October 2014, at Western University in Ontario, Canada.

The 2016 Summer Olympic Games will be held from 5-21 August 2016, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

NACDA Names The Corbett Award and the Hall of Fame Class Recipients

Posted by | News & Events | No Comments

The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) announced Bill Byrne, the former director of athletics at Texas A&M, as their 2014 James J. Corbett Memorial Award recipient.

Byrne served as a director of athletics for 29 years and now serves as the special advisor to the President at Texas A&M.

Given annually since 1967, the James J. Corbett Memorial Award is named in honor of the former Louisiana State University director of athletics and the first president of the NACDA and given “to the collegiate administrator who through the years has most typified Corbett’s devotion to intercollegiate athletics and worked unceasingly for its betterment.”

Also, the NACDA recently announced their 2014 Hall of Fame Class.

The 2014 Hall of Fame Class consists of Jim Livengood of the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, Bill Bradshaw of Temple University, Gene DeFilippo of Boston College, Kathleen Brasfield of Angelo State and Bob Myers of Solana Community College.

Jim Livengood became the director of athletics at the University of Las Vegas in Nevada (UNLV) in December of 2009. Livengood hired a new head football coach within two weeks of accepting the position. Before he was the director of athletics at UNLV he spent 15 years serving the athletics program at the University of Arizona. The student-athlete graduation rate continued to be superior to the overall student rate during his tenure at the University.

Bradshaw, former director of athletics for the Temple University Owls, served 11 years before retiring in June of 2013. Under his advisement, the Owl’s Athletic Department set several records including that of 15 teams earning above a 3.0 cumulative grade point average, increasing corporate sponsorship, and fundraising ticket sales to $11.4 million. Thirty-eight teams from Temple University attended NCAA Tournaments under his advisement.

Gene DeFilippo, former director of athletics at Boston College, helped redeem the name of the University after a gambling scandal injured the College’s reputation prior to his fulfilling this position. He retired in 2012 after serving the University for 15 years. While under his tenure, DeFilippo led the College from the Big East Conference to the Atlantic Coast Conference and won four NCAA men’s hockey championships.

Angelo State University won their first two NCAA Division II championships under the direction of Kathleen Brasfield, the University’s former director of athletics. Brasfield announced her retirement in 2012 after serving 33 years at the University. Brasfield was hired in 1978 as the women’s volleyball coach and advanced to the position of the women’s director of athletics in 1982.

Director of Athletics for Solano Community College Bob Myers has over 15 years of college coaching experience. Myers has approximately 33 articles published in Physical Education and Athletics Professional Journals internationally. Myers coached three NCAA national champions, 27 NCAA all-Americans, and three Olympians. Myers was awarded the Western Regional Community College Athletics Director of the Year from the NACDA in 2004.

The recipients of these awards will be honored at the annual NACDA and Affiliates Convention Week 5-12 June 2014 in Orlando, Fla. Last year’s Corbett winner was Jim Jones of Ohio State University. The previous class of the NACDA Hall of Fame consisted of Dorothy ‘Dot’ Casey of Wake Forest University, Bob Goin of the University of Cincinnati, Jim Harris of the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Jack Martin of the County College of Morris; Arthur McAfee of Morehouse College, Larry Schiner of New Jersey City University and Gerald Stockton of Midwestern State University.


Bruce Larsen's Art of Life_Cover Image

Bruce Larsen’s Art of Life

Posted by | News & Events | No Comments

Bruce Larsen’s steel seahorse rises above a bluff in Fairhope overlooking the bay. A thin wasp nest hangs from a gear in the curve of the chest and pine needles stick out of the roller chain tail. As the metal pieces rust in the salt air, the seahorse that Larsen made with John Rezner was inspired by nature and becomes a part of it. Larsen’s larger-than-life sculptures of animals and athletes are coastal landmarks that give identities to parks, museums, restaurants, and festivals. There is a connection and life in each piece that comes from the sculptor’s imagination and his generous soul. It is the tilt of a head, the stretch of fingers, or the swish of a tail. Details observed by a man with an awareness that this day is the only day he has and there may not be another. 

Larsen moved from Atlanta to Fairhope because living close to the water gives him peace of mind to hear the voices in his head. “I had to be near water, and Fairhope draws in artists and people who appreciate the arts,” says Larsen. “It is also a good place to drop off the map and raise a family. I can make the art and do the movies and still be normal.”

His art is owned by Bill Clinton, Sting, Robert Plant, Philippe Cousteau, and the Crown Prince of Bahrain, but he will drop everything to help local students interested in art. He built animatronic movie horses for “The Patriot” and “Black Knight,” mangled bodies for Civil War battlefield scenes in “Lincoln,” and special effects for many commercials, movies, and television shows, but he helps friends construct sets for local plays and recitals. His sculptures are given as the prestigious “Big Fish” awards at the annual Riverkeepers gala in New York City, but he calls his three children his greatest creations.

He has airbrushed boats and surfboards for the mafia and motorcycles for the Commodores.  He built the gorilla suit for the movie “Dumb and Dumberer” and played the role of the gorilla.  His movie horses are so lifelike that the police were called when he threw the pieces away.

“Bruce gives energy and life to every day objects that everyone can recognize and relate to,” says the artist Nall, who divides his time between studios in France and Fairhope.  “He knows the anatomy and animation of animals and people. Bruce is one of the most important artists in Alabama as well as the US and he should be better known.”

Larsen’s studio is his garage below his home on Fish River. It is stacked from floor to ceiling with shelves of odds and ends and the tools to bring them together.  White plastic buckets are filled with doorknobs, driftwood, finials, twisted spindles, curved iron balusters, bald doll heads and a chestnut on a branch.  Red Coca-Cola crates hold rusted wrenches, hooks, bells, tubing, and scraps of steel. Tables are covered with heads, torsos, and feet from the molds of his latest creature in the movie “Somnia.” A slimy green body cavity stands over bloodied fingers that stretch out from white plaster arms. Walls are lined with Craftsmen toolboxes. Extension cords and power tools hang from the ceiling.  In the yard, chickens peck around a garden surrounded by a cemetery fence.

“Bruce makes his art just to share it with the public,” says Mac Walcott, principal at WAV Architects who owns Windmill Market in Fairhope with his wife Gina. “I met him when he brought his ‘Nefertiti’ into our office and left it there. We now have his work all over the Windmill Market and it creates conversation, community, and interest. He tells me he has a piece that would be perfect and the next day he walks in with eight screws and it is up. He also has a booth there where people can buy his work. He is very clear about who he is and his art.”

Larsen calls himself a modern archeologist assembling pieces of the past. “It starts with a knowledge of history and looking for signs,” he says. “I find things wherever they call me. From sewing machines and farm implements to arrowheads and hubcaps, these are parts of people’s lives. I feel these stories and the ghosts of each piece and think about the people who used it.  I am aware of their pasts, but I also dance with them in the present.“

The spontaneous discovery of two pieces that fit together is the reward of his work. He connects each piece with hands that are scarred by cutting blades and splintered with steel shavings.  “When you look at Bruce’s art or his monsters, you see his life, the things he has learned, and what he is going through,” says Scott Lumpkin, a film director from Fairhope who hired Larsen to create monsters and effects for his movies ‘Oculus’ and ‘Somnia.’ “He puts so much of himself into his work that you look at it and see him. He takes chances and has a cool creative energy that makes you want to go home and create something. His perception and interpretation of the world is a gift that most of us don’t have.”

 As Larsen gives his creativity to the coast, the coast gives opportunities to him.  The Academy unveils a new sculpture by Larsen at almost every annual board meeting. The campus is filled with his football players, a baseball player, weightlifter, basketball player, and gymnast. It will soon add a cyclist.  His art is also featured each year at The Hangout Music Festival and this year he is working with the Flaming Lips lead singer Wayne Coyne to create a large sculpture for the festival.

“Bruce is a genius, and his work brings attention and visitors to the coast,” says Dr. Thomas Rosandich, President and CEO of the United States Sports Academy in Daphne. “People come to the Academy to photograph his sculptures and they take the pictures back to their homes all over the country. He has a work ethic like no one else in the world, but he is also giving with his time and art. He donated the Sprinter sculpture to us, voluntarily makes birds out of driftwood as gifts for VIPs that visit the Academy, and gives tours whenever I ask him.”

Bruce Larsen's Art of Life_Body Image

“I am the monster guy and the junk art guy,” says Larsen. “I have been putting things together since I was a kid and glued rocks together for my mother’s Christmas presents. When I was in college I saw the movie ‘Alien’ and I knew I wanted to make monsters. I have fun making things that interest or scare me. It makes me feel alive.”

Larsen’s need to feel alive has led to close calls with death. He has soared the jet streams on the wings of a glider, raced motorcycles, and parachuted out of planes. He gave those up to be around for his family and now channels that adrenaline into his art. “I know what it feels like to fall and to fly,” says Larsen. “I am constantly beating myself up, but that is a part of paying the piper. If you are going to live a big life you are going to have to pay emotionally and physically. I have always felt like I was living on borrowed time. I make angels because I feel like they are watching over me.”

Knowing that life is short pushes Larsen to work in two different worlds, creating art that will outlive him. “Movies are a different form of creating because it is storytelling in the here and now,” he says. “‘Somnia’ was shot quickly and making a monster out of silicone was new to me. I averaged two hours of sleep each night over the two months of the shoot but everything you do at four in the morning had better work. It was stress with a gun to your head. It was one of the hardest things I have done in my life, but I have to chase the movies. Monsters and special effects can be fine art and I want to merge the two together. I don’t know what is out there or how far I can go, but I have to try.”

To Larsen, beauty is a passion for life. “I had to wait 13 billion years to live this life and I am going to make the most of it,” says Larsen. “I know I am a bit of a gypsy blowing in the wind, but it is my personality to make order out of chaos. I question reality all of the time but while I am here I am going to push and have as much fun and as many experiences as I can. Making art for movies or making art out of junk, I am lucky that I get to do what I want to do and support my family doing it. “

 “One of my effects was pulling the nail off of a finger in the movie ‘Oculus’,” says Larsen. “During that scene the director came out of his tent cringing. Just watching him get the horror out of his spine was great. I knew I got it right. “

This story originally appeared in “The Southern Rambler” magazine January 20, 2014 by Lynn Oldshue.

Black History Beyond Sport: Julius Caesar Hope

Posted by | News & Events | No Comments

by Brandon Spradley

The Academy highlights Reverend Julius Caesar Hope, a graduate of Mobile County Training School (Plateau, Alabama) in 1950.

Hope graduated from Alabama State University, where he was a quarterback on the football team and a catcher on the baseball team. He served in the United States Air Force for four years and was a member of the Alaskan softball team that won the Worldwide Championship in 1953.

Julius Hope has played an integral part in organizations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He served as the President of the Georgia State Conference of NAACP Branches for 18 years. His efforts and leadership caught the eye of then Governor Jimmy Carter who appointed him the Human Relations Council for the state of Georgia. In addition, Hope was the recipient of The Medgar Evers Award, one of the NAACP’s most prestigious awards. This award recognized Hope’s outstanding service to the NAACP and devotion to the cause of civil rights. The NAACP has also established two awards in Hope’s honor, “The Reverend Julius C. Hope Hall of Fame Award” and “The Julius C. Hope Champion of Social Justice Award.”
Reverand Julius Caesar Hope

Reverand Julius Caesar Hope

Hope was the first person interviewed for the Black Sports History Project developed by the United States Sports Academy and the Mobile County Training School Alumni Association. This project captures the historical significance of the memories and feelings of African Americans athletes who competed in sports during the time of segregation. Former athletes such as Reverend Hope recall their experiences in sport through the 1950s, 60s, and 70s.

Black Sports History Link:


Joan Cronan Joins Academy’s Board of Trustees

Posted by | News & Events | No Comments

The United States Sports Academy is pleased to welcome to the Board of Trustees Joan Cronan, the senior advisor to the chancellor and the women’s director of athletics emerita for the University of Tennessee.

Under Cronan’s supervision for nearly 30 years, she is credited with leading the program to its most successful stretch under the management of one director. Cronan helped direct the Lady Vols to 10 National Championships and 29 Southeastern Conference titles during her reign as the Women’s Director of Athletics from 1983 through 2012. While holding this position, she added four women’s sports to the university, while also increasing the program budget to nearly $30 million.

Among other roles, Cronan was named the interim vice chancellor and director in 2011, making her the first in the state’s history to hold this title, which helped her earn the Academy’s Carl Maddox Sports Management Award that year. Cronan’s major role in this position was to administer the consolidation of the men’s and women’s athletic departments. She is also the first female in the SEC to manage a full athletics department.

In addition to her roles at the University, Cronan is the former president of both the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics and also the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators, an organization in which she was named the 2005 Athletic Director of the Year. She has also served many roles within the National Collegiate Athletic Association Organization, such as a member of the Division I Leadership Council, Management Council, Executive Committee and the Championship Cabinet.

In 2008, Cronan was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame and the Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame in 1998. She was furthermore honored in the Louisiana State University’s Alumni Hall of Distinction in 1995 and the College of Charleston Hall of Fame in 1990.

Cronan, a graduate of Louisiana State University, earned her bachelor’s in 1966 and her master’s in 1968, both in physical education. After graduation, Cronan became the women’s head basketball coach and a professor of physical education at the University of Tennessee in 1968. She held these titles until she left to become the Director of Women’s Athletics at the College of Charleston, where she remained for 10 years before returning to the University of Tennessee in 1983.


Sculpture by Chair of Academy’s Art Committee Unveiled

Posted by | News & Events | No Comments

“Original,” the first oyster sculpture in a series that will compose the Oyster Trail along the Eastern Shore, was unveiled at the Original Oyster House in Mobile, Ala., on Wednesday, 12 February 2014. “Original” was painted by Nancy Raia, the Chair of the Academy’s Art Committee and the Community Outreach Director for the Eastern Shore Art Center. Joe Roszkowski and David Dekle, co-owners of the Original Oyster House, sponsored the Oyster Trail Sculpture, which helps sustain oyster reefs. Pictured from left are Joe Roszkowski, Nancy Raia, David Dekle, and co-coordinators of the Oyster Trail P.J Waters and Marie Dyson.


Jones County Junior College Delegation Visits Academy

Posted by | News & Events | No Comments

A delegation of coaches from Jones County Junior College (JCJC) in Ellisville, Miss., visited the Academy on Friday, 14 February 2014.  This delegation, which was led by Dr. Jim Walley, JCJC’s Vice President of External Affairs (far right), visited to discuss the Academy’s academic degree programs and ways the two organizations may be able to collaborate in the future.

The Academy is an IRS-designated 501(c)(3) charitable organization able to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions. Your donation today is deeply appreciated. Donate Today
U.S. Sports Academy