News & Events

Auburn Quarterback, Sprinter Named Academy's Alabama Athletes of the Year

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Cameron Newton

Cameron Newton

Two of Auburn University’s athletic teams dramatically improved their performances by acquiring 21-year-old junior college transfers in 2010. And those two transfers were named Male and Female Alabama Athlete of the Year by the United States Sports Academy.

Cameron Newton, the Academy’s Alabama Male Athlete of the Year, is the quarterback who won the Heisman Trophy in dominant fashion and was named Associated Press College Football Player of the Year, along with many other accolades.

Sprinter Sheniqua Ferguson was named Alabama Female Athlete of the Year after winning the 200 meters at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships, becoming the second Auburn woman to win the 200 meters at the NCAA indoor meet, joining Kerron Stewart, who won the title in 2007.

Newton, who started his career at the University of Florida before transferring to Blinn (Texas) Junior College and leading them to a National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) championship, transferred to Auburn this past year and took over a starting role for a team that was 8-5 in 2009 and 5-7 in 2008. In the 2010 regular season as a Tiger, he completed 67.89 percent of his passes for 2,254 yards, 24 touchdowns and six interceptions, a passer rating of 185.57 (No. 2 in the nation). He carried the ball 228 times for 1,336 yards (111.33 average per game, No. 11 nationally). This led to a 13-0 season and a berth in the BCS National Championship Game against Oregon, which will take place in Glendale, Ariz. 10 January 2011.

Sheniqua Ferguson

Sheniqua Ferguson

Ferguson transferred from Southwest Missouri Junior College this past year and helped the Tigers improve from 41st in the 2009 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships to sixth in 2010. They were tied for 25th in the 2009 NCAA Outdoor Championships, and finished 12th in 2010. In the outdoor season, she placed sixth nationally in both the 100 and 200 meters and ran on the seventh-place team in the 4 x 100-meter relays. She was named SEC Female Runner of the Year after she won the SEC title in the 100 meters by clocking a season-best time of 11.19 seconds, which ranks fourth in Auburn history. In the 200 meters, she had a time of 23.09 in the finals, after posting a mark of 23.08 in the preliminaries, tying for fifth in school history. She helped the 4 x 100-meter relay team win its second straight SEC crown in that event, with a time of 43.38, the third best in school history. She earned the Commissioner’s Trophy as the high female point scorer at the meet.

The Alabama Athlete of the Year award is given to an athlete beyond the high school level who was either born in, is currently playing in, or has previously participated in sports at any level within the state of Alabama.

The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, 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.

Haitian Men's Amputee National Team Visits Academy

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Haitian Men's Amputee National Soccer Team

During a trip organized by Dr. Fred Sorrells, the President of the International Institute of Sport (IIOS), the Haitian Men’s Amputee National team visited the United States Sports Academy on Tuesday, 14 December.

Sorrells helped put Haiti’s amputee soccer team together after an earthquake devastated the country earlier this year. He was seeking a therapeutic way to help the disabled in Haiti when he discovered the Amputee World Cup being held in Argentina.

The soccer team gained international recognition when they competed in the Amputee World Cup in October, despite not winning the championship. With only a month of training before the first championship game, the world marveled at their pure athletic ability and sheer determination.

The team is now touring America to spread their message — that those who face disabilities are capable of great things, if given the chance.

Local Ceramic Potter Wins Academy Distinguished Service Award

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John Rezner, a ceramic potter known for his “face jugs,” will receive a Distinguished Service Award from the United States Sports Academy.

The Fairhope, Ala.-based artist makes pottery from clay he digs from his own land but is seen all over the world. Baldwin County clay is highly prized for its aesthetic qualities.

A member of the Academy’s Art Committee, he created a face jug – jug shaped with an individual’s facial features – of the Abbot of the Shaolin Temple, leader of millions of Shaolin Buddhists.

“I presented (the jug) as a symbol of our two cultures merging,” Rezner said.

The jug is now in China as part of the Shaolin Temple’s Museum collection. The Abbot received it when he visited the Academy’s Daphne campus in 2006 to receive an honorary doctorate.

Rezner has now been commissioned to make face jugs of famous baseball players for the Academy’s “Mr. Baseball” campaign, a world-wide online vote to name a new baseball statue that is to be erected in front of the Academy next year.

Rezner’s pottery is the combination of three of his greatest passions: his family, the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay and traditional pottery techniques. His work is fired using an anagama kiln, which is an ancient Japanese cave-like pottery kiln that uses the flame from burning wood as an artistic element. For generations, the anagama techniques have been adapted into Southern pottery.

The Academy’s Distinguished Service Award is given annually to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to national or international sports through instruction, research, or service. Each nominee must possess an extensive background in sports. This means that the individual must have had significant dealings in his or her area of sports for more than 10 years. While the DSA is separate from the Academy’s Awards of Sport, its recipients also receive the coveted Order of the Eagle Exemplar for their achievements.

Academy President Attends IOC's 7th World Conference on Sport

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Photographed from left: Jean Durry, Founder of the French National Sport Museum, France; Professor Konstantino Georgiadis, Honorary Dean of the International Olympic Academy, Greece; Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich, President of the United States Sports Academy, United States; and Dr. Franco Ascani, President of the International Sport Cinema and Television Federation (FICTS), Italy.

Photographed from left: Jean Durry, Founder of the French National Sport Museum, France; Professor Konstantino Georgiadis, Honorary Dean of the International Olympic Academy, Greece; Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich, President of the United States Sports Academy, United States; and Dr. Franco Ascani, President of the International Sport Cinema and Television Federation (FICTS), Italy.

United States Sports Academy President Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich recently traveled to Durban, South Africa, to attend the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) 7th World Conference on Sport, Education, and Culture, as a member of the IOC Commission for Culture and Olympic Education.

The theme of the conference, “Giving a Voice to Youth,” allowed Commission members and young people alike to discuss ways to add value to the Olympic experience, education for sustainable development, developing a culture of healthy lifestyles, and other related topics in an open forum.

Serving as one of the conference moderator was the United States Sports Academy’s 2010 Eagle Award recipient, Her Royal Highness Princess Haya Al Hussein, the President of the International Equestrian Federation. Princess Haya was selected to receive the Eagle Award, the Academy’s highest honor, in recognition of her contribution to equestrian sports and the Olympic Movement.

Academy Toys for Tots Campaign Concludes

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Toys for Tots at the US Sports Academy

The United States Sports Academy’s faculty and staff gathered with Marines from Spanish Fort and Toys for Tots regional coordinator Shinora Redmond on Friday, 10 December, as they retrieved the toy donations collected at the Academy.

Children from Spanish Fort Elementary School smile while gathered around their donations to the Academy’s Toys for Tots campaign.

Long considered the region’s largest collection center for the Toys for Tots program, the Academy teamed up with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Foundation to help underprivileged children in Mobile and Baldwin Counties enjoy a memorable Christmas for the 16th consecutive year. In spite of the struggling economy, contributions from local residents and businesses made this years collection the largest ever.

People can still drop off toys at the Academy, One Academy Drive in Daphne, throughout the holiday season. The Academy is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Toys donated between now and Christmas will be given to the Salvation Army for distribution.

The primary goal of the Toys for Tots program is to deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate children that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens. Since the inception of Toys for Tots, more than 400 million toys have been distributed to more than 188 million needy children.

Arizona State's Two Blocked Extra Points Leads to College Football Game of the Week

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Arizona State vs. Arizona
Arizona State vs. Arizona
Arizona State vs. Arizona
Arizona State vs. Arizona

Arizona State junior defensive end James Brooks blocked a potential game-winning extra point, then blocked a would-be game-tying extra point to give the Sun Devils bowl eligibility and a 30-29 victory over Arizona in United States Sports Academy’s College Football Game of the Week.

Visiting Arizona State rallied from an eight-point deficit in the fourth quarter, only to allow the Wildcats to march down the field for a tying touchdown, one point from ending the Sun Devils’ season.

The 6-foot-5 Brooks came through when his team needed him most, sending a groan through Arizona Stadium and the game to overtime by high-jumping to get Luis Zendejas’ kick.

After matching field goals by Zendejas and ASU’s Thomas Weber—his fifth—in the first overtime, Arizona State’s Cameron Marshall bulled his way through for a 2-yard score. Arizona had a quick answer, with David Douglas taking a back pass in from 9 yards out.

Just when the game seemed headed to a third overtime, Brooks sprang again, leaping up to get a chunk of another of Zendejas’ kicks, sending it wobbling just past the right upright.

The College Football Game of the Week, voted upon by a national panel of experts, is nominated for the College Football Game of the Year at the end of the regular season.

Daniel Moore, the American Sports Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) 2005 Sport Artist of the Year, is commissioned by the Academy each year to create a painting honoring the selected College Football Game of the Year. The Academy donates the painting to the winning university, along with $5,000 for its general scholarship fund.

Daniel Moore, the American Sports Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) 2005 Sport Artist of the Year, is commissioned by the Academy each year to create a painting honoring the selected College Football Game of the Year. The Academy donates the painting to the winning university, along with $5,000 for its general scholarship fund.

Daniel Moore, the American Sports Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) 2005 Sport Artist of the Year, is commissioned by the Academy each year to create a painting honoring the selected College Football Game of the Year. The Academy donates the painting to the winning university, along with $5,000 for its general scholarship fund.

Decathlete/Heptathlete Eaton Earns All-Around Athlete Award

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Photo credit: Kirby Lee

Photo credit: Kirby Lee

Decathletes are always considered all-around athletes, but five-time NCAA Champion Ashton Eaton has been named winner of the Jim Thorpe All-Around Award by the United States Sports Academy because of his accomplishments in the decathlon and heptathlon.

The decathlon is the track and field competition that combines 10 events, and the heptathlon is a combination of seven events and involves male competitors in indoor track meets and female athletes in outdoor meets.

Eaton set a new world record for points when he won his second straight national heptathlon title at NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas on March 13. He surpassed then-University of Idaho student Dan O’Brien, who won the gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta and three consecutive world titles in the decathlon. Ashton, a senior at Oregon at the time, acquired a total score of 6,499 points in the heptathlon, passing O’Brien’s 6,476 points.

Eaton capped his illustrious career at Oregon in June by becoming the first athlete to win three consecutive NCAA championships in the decathlon.

The two-time United States Track & Field and Cross Country Association Athlete of the Year (both indoor and outdoor) has also won five Pac-10 Conference championships: three in the decathlon, one in the 110-meter hurdles and one in the long jump.

The Jim Thorpe All-Around Award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in multiple sports and/or multiple events of the same sport. This individual should exhibit the qualities of versatility, strength, speed, flexibility, conditioning and training that exemplify superior athletic prowess.

Past winners of the Thorpe All-Around Award include Deion Sanders, Herschel Walker, Willie Gault, Danny Ainge, Julius Peppers and Brian Clay.

Academy Helps Promotes Mobile Bay Area to World Leisure Congress

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Left to right: Jack Agrios from Alberta, Canada; Secretary General Dr. Chris Edington from the University of Northern Iowa; Thomas P. Rosandich, Academy President; Chairman of the Board Derek Casey from Edinburgh, United Kingdom; and Dr. Ricardo Uvinha from Sao Paulo, Brazil.<br />

The United States Sports Academy participated in the effort to bring the World Leisure Organization (WLO) to Mobile, Ala, for its 2014 World Leisure Congress. Academy President Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich (center) met with members of the WLO Board of Directors who visited the Daphne campus this past summer, including (left to right) Jack Agrios from Alberta, Canada; Secretary General Dr. Chris Edington from the University of Northern Iowa; Chairman of the Board Derek Casey from Edinburgh, United Kingdom; and Dr. Ricardo Uvinha from Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Everyone Can Submit Nominations to Name "Mr. Baseball"

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Nominations are being accepted online for the United States Sports Academy’s “Mr. Baseball” competition. The purpose of the ballot will be to determine the greatest baseball player of all time, and to name the impending new addition by Fairhope sculptor Bruce Larsen to the Academy’s Sport Sculpture Park.

Baseball fans can submit their nominations by visiting Greatest Baseball Player of All Time nomination form. Nominations will be accepted until Friday, 4 February, 2011. Larsen’s new sculpture will be named after the winner.

Larsen, the American Sports Art Museum and Archives’ (ASAMA) 2009 Sport Artist of the Year, Sculptor, is well known for his found object art. Believing that “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” Larsen uses scrap metal and other salvage materials to create masterpieces, including some that are displayed on the Academy’s Daphne campus. These include “Borzov” (named after Valeri Borzov, the Russian Olympic sprint champion), “Michael” (named after Michael Jordan, the renowned American basketball player), “Iron Bowl” (depicting American football players), and “Nastia” (named after Nastia Liukin, the Russian Olympic gymnastic gold medalist in the All-Around event).

Founded in 1984, ASAMA, a division of the United States Sports Academy, is dedicated to the preservation of sports art, history, and literature. The ASAMA collection is composed of more than 1,500 works of sport art across a variety of media, including paintings, sculptures, assemblages, prints, and photographs.

The museum is free and open to the public from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Auburn Turns the Tide in College Football Game of the Week

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Auburn’s 24-point comeback, the largest by any Alabama opponent, resulted in a 28-27 victory over the Crimson Tide to make the Iron Bowl the United States Sports Academy’s College Football Game of the Week.

In the 75th edition of one of the most celebrated rivalries in sports, Tigers’ quarterback Cameron Newton threw for three touchdowns and ran for one as the Tigers eked out a victory over Alabama and squeaked ahead of Oregon for the No. 1 BCS ranking. Auburn, now ranked No. 1 for the first time in the 13-year history of the Bowl Championship Series, was down 24-0 with five minutes to go in the first half before rallying.

The victory, the Tigers’ 34th in the Iron Bowl series, leaves Auburn one win away from playing for its first BCS National Championship and second AP National Title. The Tigers face South Carolina for the Southeastern Conference championship this Saturday in Atlanta.

The College Football Game of the Week, voted upon by a national panel of experts, is nominated for the College Football Game of the Year at the end of the regular season.

Daniel Moore, the American Sports Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) 2005 Sport Artist of the Year, is commissioned by the Academy each year to create a painting honoring the selected College Football Game of the Year. The Academy donates the painting to the winning university, along with $5,000 for its general scholarship fund.

The United States Sports Academy is a True American Original

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In 1974, when I was President of FOX Sports, I was also involved with Dr. Ernie Vandeweghe on the president’s Council of Physical Fitness. The great NFL coach George Allen was our chairman and he had a dream, which we shared, of building a Sports Academy in California. George never realized that dream. However, my friend and mentor Bob Block, a founder and the first chairman of the United States Sports Academy, introduced me to a true sports visionary, Dr. Tom Rosandich, who did get the Academy built.

Located outside of Mobile, Alabama, it is a bastion of all that is good in sports. It is an academic Mecca! It does not train athletes to become better at their chosen sport. Instead, the USSA trains sports leaders. Sitting on its board is a legendary group of men who have been athletic directors, coaches and academicians from America’s top universities.

I feel it is very important for me to write this story at this time. All around us we are seeing the bastardization of what it means to get an education. Unscrupulous agents pay monies under the table to induce young men to play athletically for various schools while coaches and athletic directors pretend to be oblivious to what is going on around them.

True, I am of the opinion that to get a scholarship and enjoy an education is an award well earned. It should be enough! However, I also believe that many young men from impoverished families should receive a legitimate stipend over and above their sometimes all too-meager scholarships. This fee would be for services rendered in helping the school fill their stadia and fielding a winning team. A team, which in turn directly relates to alumni gifts and monetary awards based on pride.

However, like so many other Sports fans, I am appalled at what is going on.

Then there is the USSA standing tall amidst all the chaos. Under Dr. Rosandich’s leadership and guidance, they have stayed true to their mission statement for almost 40 years.

When the five men first founded the Academy in 1972 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, (they originally were the Board of Directors — today, they comprise the Board of Trustees), they set out to achieve the following goal: They wished to become an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university that would serve the nation and the world with programs in instruction, research, and service. They have achieved this and more. Today, it is the world’s foremost sports university. It is an American original!

Since the Academy’s inception they have awarded many Bachelor, Master’s and Doctoral degrees. Where there were none before, sports-specific courses are now part of the curricula in over 200 accredited American colleges and universities. Academy graduates, like religious missionaries, have spread the word.

The courses taught range from Bachelor and Master’s Degrees in Sports Science, to Doctorates of Education in Sports Management, Sports Coaching, or Sports Studies. No facet of the Sports environment is left unattended. Sports Fitness and Health, Sports Medicine and Sports Psychology round out the available curricula. Also, among the courses taught are NCAA Compliance, Olympism and Personal Training.

It is interesting to note that the five founders who banded together at Milwaukee in 1972 were spurred on by the disastrous showing of the American team at the tragic Munich Games just weeks earlier. They looked around and saw that the powerhouse nations of the Eastern Bloc all had national sports academies and were turning out gold medal winners by the carload. Something had to be done and they did it.

With old-fashioned American ingenuity and without government funding they set about making their dream a reality. They started in a single office donated by Dr Block. Today, the academy occupies countless acres and its graduates hold many important positions in not only academia, but also in the worlds of amateur, collegiate and professional sports. They represent all that is good about athletics.

A visit to the Academy means the visitor will see a Walk of Fame featuring legendary sports figures, as well as the world’s greatest gallery of sports art. A 40-foot mural of Jackie Robinson hangs in a place of honor and is one of the many highlights. The academy is also the home for the world’s most complete sports sculpture garden.

Americans know well the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown; N.Y. Many have visited Springfield, MA and the birthplace of Basketball. Still others make pilgrimages to the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. All these trips are great, but in order to be a complete fan, the USSA in Daphne, Alabama, just outside of Mobile should be a “must see.”

We all know and admire Annapolis, West Point and the United States Air Force Academy. Now, we should add the United States Sports Academy to the list. It is an American Academy institute of higher learning.

Among the many things the academy does is to give awards in countless area of Sports. For example, one of the recipients of the Art Award is LeRoy Neiman. Among the awards, one is named for a former sportscaster named “Dutch” Reagan who became the 40th President of the United States. The “Ronald Reagan Media Award” was among the things that gave the late President the utmost pleasure in bestowing. High among that lists that gratified him was the one he gave to his friend Vin Scully, the venerated and revered voice of the Dodgers.

So, when you next visit the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, CA, think about putting the USSA on your list of places to visit.

For more than 60 years, Shelly Saltman has been a force in sports journalism, starting as a high school play-by-play announcer to eventually becoming the President of FOX Sports. He has worked in 52 countries as an event producer, TV show creator, author, lecturer, and a member of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness. The recipient of numerous industry and education awards, he was a team executive at the highest level and in on the founding of three professional league in three different sports. He represented the NFLPA during the 1981-82 strike and he counts Muhammad Ali, Wayne Gretzky, and Tommy Hearns among his closest associates.

Originally authored by Sheldon Saltman and can be seen in it’s original form at the examiner.com

Help select the Academy's 2010 Athletes of the Year

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Who were the greatest athletes of 2010? Have your say in the United States Sports Academy’s Athlete of the Year balloting, presented to the world by NBCSports.com and USATODAY.com. Balloting begins at noon, 1 December 2010.

The Athlete of the Year ballot is the culmination of the Academy’s yearlong Athlete of the Month program, which recognizes the accomplishments of men and women in sports around the globe. The Academy Athlete of the Month is selected by an international voting committee comprised of members of the media, sports organizations and governing bodies.

There are 12 male and 12 female candidates for Athlete of the Year. The Male and Female Athlete of the Year awards will go to the athletes that receive the most votes. Votes can be submitted on the Academy’s website.

Balloting is open until 24 December. Last year’s winners were boxing champion Manny Pacquiao of the Phillipines and pole vaulter Yelena Isinbaeva of Russia.

The men’s ballot consists of, in alphabetical order: Drew Brees, professional football, United States; Kobe Bryant, professional basketball, United States; Ashton Eaton, track and field, United States; Roy Halladay, baseball, United States; Jimmie Johnson, Auto Racing, United States; Phil Mickleson, golf, United States; Rafael Nadal, tennis, Spain; Cameron Newton, College Football, United States; Manny Pacquiao, boxing, Phillipines; David Rudisha, track and field, Kenya; David Villa, soccer, Spain; and Shaun White, snowboarding/skateboarding, United States.

The women’s ballot consists of: Foluke Akinradewo, volleyball, United States; Amelie Caze, modern pentathlon, France; Kim Clijsters, tennis, Belgium; Lauren Jackson, professional basketball, Australia; Cristie Kerr, golf, United States; Maya Moore, college basketball, United States; Li Ping, weightlifting, China; Liliya Shobukhova, marathon, Russia; Jodie Swallow, triathlon, United Kingdom; Lindsey Vonn, skiing, United States; Serena Williams, tennis, United States; and Kim Yu-Na, figure skating, South Korea.

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