News & Events

Marine Corps League Forms in Daphne

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Cal Walters meets with local leadership on the campus of the United States Sports Academy to discuss the development of a new Detachemnt in Daphne.

Joining eleven other Detachments in the great state of Alabama, the United States Marine Corps League has opened a new Detachment in Daphne on the campus of the United States Sports Academy.

Cal Walters, Commandant of the Department of Alabama Marine Corps League, met with local leadership on the campus of the United States Sports Academy to discuss the development of a new Detachemnt in Daphne. During this meeting, Mr. John Walker of Spanish Fort agreed to serve as the acting Commandant and Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich, founding President of the United States Sports Academy, agreed to serve as the acting dignitary during the formation of the League. Dr. Rosandich and Mr. Walker both served as Officers in the Marine Corps.

One of the first acts of the new Daphne Marine Corps League will be to donate renowned artist Harry Weber’s Vietnam “A Warrior’s Sketchbook” art collection to the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park’s Vietnam Exhibit.

The Daphne Detachment will meet monthly on the campus of the Academy, which is conveniently located off of Highway 98. The first meeting will take place on Tuesday, 1 March 2011. All Marines and Navy Corpsmen who have served with Marines are invited to attend and encouraged to join.

Current Commandant of the Marine Corps, General James F. Amos, states, “A Marine is a Marine – there’s no such thing as a former Marine. You’re a Marine, just in a different uniform and you’re in a different phase of your life. But you’ll always be a Marine because you went to Parris Island, San Diego or the hills of Quantico. There’s no such thing as a former Marine.”

If you have questions about joining the Marine Corps League Detachment in Daphne, Alabama, please contact the Academy at 251-626-3303 and we will stand at the ready to assist you.

Ronald Reagan Centennial Stamp

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Former first Lady Nancy Reagan (left of the display) unveils a new postage stamp, designed by 1986 American Sport Artist and Archives (ASAMA) Sport Artist of the Year Bart Forbes (right of the display), to honor the late President Ronald Reagan's 100th birthday.

Former first Lady Nancy Reagan (left of the display) unveils a new postage stamp, designed by 1986 American Sport Artist and Archives (ASAMA) Sport Artist of the Year Bart Forbes (right of the display), to honor the late President Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday. The 40th President of the United States was a radio announcer for University of Iowa football and the Chicago Cubs early in his professional life, and the United States Sports Academy annually presents a Ronald Reagan Media Award to outstanding contributors to sports journalism.

Award-winning Nigerian Artist Visits Academy

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Ibiyinka Olufemi Alao of Nigeria displayed the original of his work: "Grace: That Even The World Can Pass Through It."

Ibiyinka Olufemi Alao of Nigeria, a winner of the United Nations International Art Competition, recently visited the United States Sports Academy’s American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) during a tour of the United States.

He was guest of Academy Art Committee Chairperson Nancy Raia. During the visit, he displayed the original of his work: “Grace: That Even The World Can Pass Through It.”

“The battle against poverty is yet to be recorded accurately in our history books, yet it is memorable enough for those who took part in it,” Alao states. “These people now know that the greatest equipment that guarantees victory is love.

“Nothing defines true love as much as Grace. Grace makes beauty out of ugly things. Because of Grace, what causes pain no longer hurts.”

His winning entry, in a contest sponsored by the United Nations Population Fund in 2001, was “Girls and a Greener Environment,” which chronicled the life of a girl from infancy to adulthood and the values she acquires along the paths of life.

Academy, Chinese, Working on Multi-Billion Dollar "Sport Cities"

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Guo signing

The United States Sports Academy will be providing Academic services to three multi-billion dollar projects, “Sport Cities” in China that will be built around a major golf course and designed to be model towns for promoting a “healthy and happy” lifestyle in the world’s most populous nation.

Academy President Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich plans to attend the ground-breaking for the first city, named Samaranch Sports Town, on 21 April. The town is named after the late former International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Juan Antonio Samaranch, an honorary doctorate recipient at the Academy who is famous for the IOC historic financial turnaround that has made the Olympics the billion-dollar event that it is today. Samaranch Sports Town will be developed on 5,100 acres of property in the Fujian province.

WorldTeam is hoping that the Samaranch-era Olympic prosperity will result from this project. Samaranch Sports Town will be in the Quangang District of Quanzhou City, which is located in the center part of the west coast of the Taiwan Strait. Quanzhou is the economic center in the Fujian Province, and has the No. 1 gross domestic product rating in the province.

The United States Sports Academy and WorldTeam, among the largest privately-owned sport services companies in the People’s Republic of China, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on 7 January, establishing the framework for the development of the Sino-American Golf Academy (SAGA) in those cities. Dr. Rosandich signed the MOU with WorldTeam Preisdient Guo “Jack” Jie, who received an honorary doctorate at the Academy in this year.

The Academy will be involved in the design and planning for all three of the golf schools. It is anticipated that the second and third of the sports cities will be developed in rapid succession following the launch of the first facility.

However, the golf education program will not have to wait for the completion of the campus in Fujian. The Academy and WorldTeam will develop a graduate-level certificate program in Golf Management in cooperation with the Hunan International Economics University located in Changshan, Hunan Province. The Hunan International Economics University is among the largest private universities in China and has already developed a Bachelor’s Degree in Golf Education.

As envisioned, the graduate certificate program would offer advanced training in Golf Course Management for senior golf club managers with an emphasis on western management skills. The recent approval of golf being added to the Olympic Games, combined with the explosive growth of the golf industry in China, has created a need for trained golf club professionals that is not currently being met by the educational institutions in that country. The first students in the Golf Management certificate program will be admitted to study in the fall semester.

Rezner Pottery Brings History, World Culture to Academy and its Community

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"Babe Ruth" Face Jug

"Babe Ruth" Face Jug

Ten miles from the United States Sports Academy’s Daphne campus is a place where history and world culture combine in the works of local ceramic Potter John Rezner.

Rezner, the American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) 2011 Sport Artist of the Year, is known for a style of pottery that has roots in the early 19th century and a firing technique that can be traced back to ancient Asia.

The Fairhope, Ala.-based artist makes pottery that is seen all over the world, from clay he digs from his own land. Baldwin County clay is highly prized for its aesthetic qualities. The public can even witness him firing his clay, in a kiln that can fire up to 500 pots at one time, on his property at 21270 Hwy 181 in Fairhope.

As a sport artist, Rezner specializes in face jug depictions of baseball legends, such as Babe Ruth, whose career home-run and single-season home-run records each stood for more than three decades; Hank Aaron, a native of nearby Mobile, Ala. who broke Ruth’s career home-run record in 1974; and Ted Williams, the first player ever to bat over .400 for a single season in the major leagues whose Hall of Fame career was twice interrupted by service as a Marine pilot in World War II and Korea. All three jugs are on display at the Academy.

A member of the Academy’s Art Committee, Rezner created a face jug – a 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 the gift when he visited the Academy’s Daphne campus in 2006 upon receiving an honorary doctorate.

Face Jugs are a unique pottery item found in the South, according to Karl Kuehn, a collector in Huntington Beach, Calif.  He said the origin of face jugs is not know for certain, but has its roots in the African American slave community. Some of the earliest examples are credited to “Dave the Slave,” who produced pottery from the 1820’s to the 1860’s in the Edgefield, S.C. area. Folk history holds that when someone in the slave community died, the jugs were modeled with devil faces and placed on the grave for a year. If the jug broke it was thought to be a sign that the soul of the deceased was wrestling with the devil. A second theory is that the scary faces were applied to jugs containing moonshine to keep children away from the contents.

Face jugs are still a widely collected form of pottery and are growing in popularity due to influential works by the legendary Lanier Meaders (White County, Ga. 1917 – 1998) who was descended from a family of potters. Another such potter, Steve Abee of Lenoir, N.C. belongs to the Catawba Valley, N.C. pottery tradition.

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 Asian cave-like pottery kiln that uses the flame from burning wood as an artistic element. The method originated in China but was brought to Japan via Korea in the fifth century. For generations, the anagama techniques have been adapted into Southern pottery.

Rezner’s jugs can be purchased at the Academy’s Daphne campus, at One Academy Drive, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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.

People, Places and Programs

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Representatives of the United States Sports Academy continue to travel all over the world to teach sports education programs. For nearly four decades, the Academy has provided programs in sport education to students throughout the nation and to 60 countries across the globe.

Academy Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer Dr. T.J. Rosandich is in Thailand teaching a course in Olympism, in conjunction with the Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT). The course is the first in a six-part series to be hosted by the SAT for the Academy’s International Certification in Sports Management (ICSM) program. The Academy has a long-standing relationship with the SAT, sending instructors to Thailand to teach certification courses in the sports management and sports coaching programs. The SAT is Thailand’s primary sport organization and plays a vital role in the development of sport.

After completing the program, T.J. Rosandich will travel to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to present a program to the Minister of Education to retrain all of the nation’s physical educators. After Thailand, he will go to Singapore to present the Academy’s Distinguished Service Award to Ng Ser Miang, Vice President of the International Olympic Committee and President of the first Youth Olympic Games. While in Singapore, he will also meet with Chay Yee, president of the International Sports Academy, site of the United States Sports Academy’s first diploma program.

Academy Dean of Student Services Dr. Craig Bogar and former Dean of Academic Affairs Dr. Richard Bell recently taught continuing education courses in sports marketing and sport finance at the National Senior Games Association (NSGA) annual meeting and conference in Las Vegas, Nev.  The Academy is developing a program to become the academic arm to provide adult education to the NSGA and its 300,000-plus members, age 50 to over 100.

Dr. Pete Mathiesen recently returned from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where he taught sports psychology in cooperation with the country’s National Institute of Sport. A successful college basketball coach who also coached professional basketball in Australia, Dr. Mathiesen is a longtime member of the Academy’s national faculty.

Academy graduate Mike Vollmar was recently named assistant athletic director for football at the University of Michigan. The 1989 master’s degree recipient and 2010 Alumnus of the Year has been serving the same post at the University of Alabama.

Academy doctoral graduate Dr. Maria Elles Scott recently went to the Kingdom of Bahrain to teach sports public relations, in conjunction with Bahrain’s General Organization of Youth and Sports (GOYS), the final course in the ICSM program. The Academy’s nearly 40-year relationship with GOYS has played a vital role in the development of sports in the Kingdom.

Dr. Scott has previously served as associate director of communications for the South Florida Super Bowl XLI Host Committee and currently teaches public relations at the University of Miami (Fla.).

Snowboard Champ Shaun White, Volleyball Star Blair Brown are Academy’s Athletes of the Month

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Shaun White

Shaun White

Snowboarder Shaun White and the nation’s top collegiate women’s volleyball player, Blair Brown, were named Male and Female Athletes of the Month for January by the United States Sports Academy.

The public is invited to participate in the worldwide Athlete of the Month nominating and balloting processes. Visit the Academy website and submit your vote, and return to the website the first week of each month to vote on the Athlete of the Month. Winners will be announced on the Academy’s website and in the online edition of the Academy Update.

White won his fourth career halfpipe and superpipe championships at the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado. The two-time Olympic champion raised his career X Games gold medal total to 13.

Blair Brown

Blair Brown

Brown, a senior at Penn State won the Honda Award for top college women’s athlete in her sport. Brown led the Nittany Lions to their fourth consecutive national title, scoring a match-high 18 kills in the finals against California.

Australian Open men’s tennis champion Novak Djorkovic of Serbia finished second to White on the male ballot. The world’s No. 3 player won his second career title in Melbourne by overhelming Brittan’s Andy Murray 6-4, 6-2, 6-3, in the finals. It was also the second career Grand Slam tournament title for the 2008 and 2011 Australian champion.

World sprint speedskating champion Christine Nesbitt of Canada finished second on the female ballot. The World Cup and 2010 Olympic champion won both 1,000- meter races and was sixth and a surprising third in 500 meter races to claim the sprint title that is calculated on total time from the four races at the World Sprint Speed Skating Championships in Heerenveen, Netherlands.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers finished third for Male Athlete of the Month after he led the first No. 6 seed to win an NFC championship. Rodgers led the postseason in total passing yards (790), completing 66 of 93 pass attempts for six touchdowns and two interceptions in three Packer road victories.

Australian Open women’s tennis champion Kim Clijsters finished third on the women’s ballot, after she won her first title in Melbourne by defeating China’s Li Na, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the finals. The victory gave the 27-year-old Belgian her fourth major as she became the No. 1-ranked women’s tennis player in the world.

Academy Teaches Course at National Senior Games Association (NSGA)

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Academy recently taught continuing education courses in sports marketing and fund raising at the National Senior Games Association (NSGA)

The Academy recently taught continuing education courses in sports marketing and fund raising at the National Senior Games Association (NSGA) convention in Las Vegas, Nev. Courses were taught by former Academy Dean of Academic Affairs Dr. Richard Bell (left) and current Dean of Student Services Dr. Craig Bogar (right), pictured with NSGA Executive Director Philip Godfrey (center). The Academy is developing a program to provide sports management education to the NSGA’s 330,000-plus members who provide Olympic-style athletic events to adults over the age of 50 in all 50 states.

Figure Skating Champion Yuna Kim Presented with Academy’s Female Athlete of the Year Award

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Yuna Kim of South Korea received the United States Sports Academy’s 2010 Female Athlete of the Year Award

Olympic figure skating champion Yuna Kim of South Korea received the United States Sports Academy’s 2010 Female Athlete of the Year Award at her training facility in Artesia, Calif. this past weekend. The presentation was made by former Academy trustee and women’s sports advocate Dr. Judith Sweet.

Yuna, the world’s No. 1 figure skater, dominated the voting after she won the ladies’ singles gold medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics and became the first female skater to surpass the 200-point mark under the International Skating Union judging system. The voting was conducted on a worldwide online ballot in cooperation with USA Today and NBCSports.com.

Dr. Sweet serves as a consultant on Title IX and gender equity strategies for the NCAA, the organization where she spent six years working as vice president for championships and senior woman administrator. She was also the first female president of the NCAA for two years during her 25-year tenure as director of athletics for the University of California-San Diego, where she was one of the first women in the nation to direct a combined men’s and women’s intercollegiate athletics program.

Yuna, who was also named Sportswoman of the Year by the Women’s Sports Foundation, also won the World Championships, ISU Grand Prix Final, ISU Grand Prix Skate America and ISU Grand Prix in 2009. She won the silver medal at the World Championships in 2010, the fourth World Championship medal in the 20-year-old’s four-year career in the senior circuit.

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

Canadian Football Team Names Academy Graduate as Assistant GM

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Joe Womack

Joe Womack, a 1988 graduate of the United States Sports Academy, was recently named assistant general manager of the Canadian Football League’s (CFL) Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Womack joins the Tiger-Cats football operations staff after four seasons with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, most recently as their Director of U.S. Scouting.

“I had an offer to go back to the NFL, but my real love is the CFL,” Womack said. “If a team in the CFL really wanted me, that’s where I would look first.”

During his tenure in Saskatchewan, Womack also served as the Riders’ Director of Player Personnel and the team’s strength and conditioning coach.

Before joining the Roughriders in 2007, the Baton Rouge, La. native spent eight years in the NFL as a scout with the Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins and the NFL Combine.

As a player in the 1970s, he suited up with the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Calgary Stampeders, the NFL’s Denver Broncos as well as World Football League teams in Chicago and San Antonio.

Following his playing career, Womack joined the Roughriders as Director of Scouting in 1982. He would later move on to work for the CFL as Director of Scouting and the B.C. Lions and Director of College Scouting.

Womack is a graduate of Louisiana State University, where he was a multi-sport participant, and received his master’s degree in sports management from the Academy.

Academy Remembers Jack LaLanne, 1995 Fitness Award Winner

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Jack LaLanne

Jack Lalanne, the man whose name was synonymous with fitness for decades and winner of the United States Sports Academy’s 1995 Dwight D. Eisenhower Fitness Award, died Sunday at the age of 96.

“While many kids were watching Loony Tunes and Mr. Rogers, I remember watching Jack Lalanne,” said Academy doctoral student and interval training specialist Conner Johnson of Walnut Creek, Calif. “(I remember) as a young kid, sitting in the floor trying to emulate his fitness strategies. He planted the seed that inspired me at such a young age like so many kids, as well as adults. Like Elvis did in music and Lincoln did in history, he set precedents in fitness and nutrition with ‘class’ and respect. An icon, pioneer, and role model–his legacy will continue to affect us all.”

Lalanne was born 26 September, 1914 in San Francisco, CA and admittedly, during his childhood days was addicted to sugar and junk foods. At age 15, he heard exercise advocate Paul Bragg speak on health and nutrition, which motivated Lalanne to focus on his diet and exercise habits. He studied Henry Gray’s “Anatomy of the Human Body” and concentrated on bodybuilding, chiropractic medicine, and weightlifting, something virtually unheard of in the 1930s.

In 1936 Lalanne opened his own health spa in Oakland, Calif., where he designed the world’s first leg extension machines, pulley machines using cables, and weight selectors, now a standard in the fitness industry.

“The doctors were against me – they said that working out with weights would give people heart attacks and they would lose their sex drive,” Lalanne once said. “Women would look like men and even varsity coaches predicted that their athletes would get muscle bound and banned them from lifting weights. I had to give these athletes keys so they could come in at night and work out in my gym. Time has proven that what I was doing was scientifically correct; starting with a healthy diet followed by systematic exercise and today everyone knows it. All world class athletes now work out with weights, as do many members of the general public, both male and female.”

While the Lalanne fitness model was the Genesis of later fitness movements in the 20th century, he found ways to keep himself from fading into obsolescence.

He will most be remembered for ‘The Jack La Lanne Show,” on television in the 1950s, where he did not use a lot of mechanical equipment His biggest ‘tool’ was a straight back chair.  His audience, mostly women, would get that chair from the kitchen each morning and go through the routines with him much like future generations would follow Jane Fonda. His show lasted for 34 years.

He also incorporated a stretchable cord to tighten up muscles called, ‘The Glamour Stretcher.’  He invented the “Jack LaLanne Juicer” that allowed people to make their own fruit and vegetable juice without buying and throwing away a lot of plastic bottles.

He became famous as a stunt man as well as a fitness guru, with memorable moments that include:

  • Swimming the entire length of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, underwater, with 140 pounds of equipment, including two air tanks, a world record, at age 40
  • A year later, swimming from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco while handcuffed
  • The next year, setting a world record of 1,033 push-ups in 23 minutes
  • A year after that, swimming the Golden Gate channel while towing a 2,500-pound cabin cruiser, while the swift ocean currents turned this one-mile swim into a swimming distance of 6.5 miles
  • The following year, maneuvering a paddleboard nonstop from Farallon Islands to the San Francisco shore, a 30-mile trip that took 9.5 hours
  • Doing 1,000 star jumps and 1,000 chin-ups in 1 hour, 22 minutes
  • At age 60, swimming from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman’s Wharf again, this time handcuffed, shackled and towing a 1,000-pound boat
  • Doing it again a year later, this time swimming the entire length of the Golden Gate Bridge
  • Swimming one mile in Long Beach Harbor, handcuffed and shackled, and towing 13 boats containing 76 people
  • Towing 65 boats in Lake Ashinoko, near Tokyo, Japan, while handcuffed and shackled while the boats were filled with 6,500 pounds of Louisiana Pacific wood pulp
  • At age 66, towing 10 boats in North Miami, Fla., carrying 77 people, for over one mile in less than one hour
  • At age 70, handcuffed, shackled and fighting strong winds and currents, towing 70 rowboats, one with several guests, from the Queen’s Way Bridge in the Long Beach Harbor to the Queen Mary, 1 mile

“America has lost one of its most helpful and colorful icons as they say good-by to Jack LaLanne who for over a half century has influenced people toward better eating and better health,” Patricia Walston of Examiner.com wrote. “Families all across the US and even around the world owe a debt to Mr. LaLanne for bringing to their attention the need for a strong and fit body.  Generations have benefited from his advice and example.”

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