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Chinese Sports Entrepreneur to Receive Honorary Doctorate

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Guo Jie, President of Worldteam Sports, will receive an honorary doctorate from the United States Sports Academy.

Not only is he the inventor of Nine-Star sports shoes, the first sports sponsor of the 11th Asian Games, but Guo has helped purchase the first Chinese-owned Formula One racing team, and is a major partner of the NBA operations in China. He could also be called China’s version of Nike founder Phil Knight, because of his chain of sporting goods stores, SportsCube, that has made him a major player in the sporting goods and sports sponsorship industry in the world’s most populous nation.

Guo, a native of Fujian, China, was educated at the Hunan Institute of Finance and Economics, Shenyang University of Technology, and Peking University. In 2003, he received the first Jinding Award for Outstanding Marketer. He also received the 2006 Best Professional Elite Award.

For 10 years Guo successfully promoted and marketed the growth of Red Bull in Asia, and guided Worldteam to the first strategic cooperation agreement with the NBA in China. He also planned and organized the first Chinese yacht sailing that went around the world. He was involved in the agreement to hold the Italian Super Cup preseason soccer matches in China. The first such match, in 2009, drew nearly 90,000 spectators.

Along with being CEO of Worldteam, he serves as the senior manager of projects and international affairs in the Chinese sports industry, Vice Chairman of the Tourism Association for the Fujian Province, and he serves on the board of directors for the Fujian National Tourism Group.

Worldteam Sports, formally titled China Worldteam Investment Holdings Group Limited, is an international sports investment management group, professionally investing in China and international sports and cultural markets. Worldteam serves global business partners in the areas of sports projects investment; management, sports facilities, and properties management; and the exploration and development in sports markets, sports marketing, etc. Its main focus is sports commerce, media, real estate, and culture.

Guo’s philosophy as President of Worldteam is that sports marketing is not “blow-out” action, but a long-term ecological chain, consisting of the customer, the crowd, the organization, and the type of business involved. Only this ecological chain can represent sports marketing in its aim to please the public, and to create vitality in developing the ability that brings wealth, according to Guo.

Founded in 1998 to invest in China’s burgeoning basketball marketing fields, Worldteam now has a multitude of sports programs, including World Sports City, the China Basketball Museum, the China Basketball Open (CBO), the Teenage Basketball Association of China (TTBA), and SportsCube. It has established long-term relationships with the Academy, the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council, the Sino European Economic and Cultural Development Council, the NBA, the China Basketball Association, and China Central Television 5. The organization also maintains close ties with the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the United States Basketball Hall of Fame.

Under the direction of Worldteam, China’s amateur basketball organizations were gathered under the TTBA umbrella. CBO is a 12-team elite amateur basketball tournament that began in 2005. Hosted by the NBA, the first chief consultant for the event was the late former International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio Samarach. SportsCube is a chain of sporting goods stores targeting ages 13-19 in the Chinese market.

Among the 13 members of Worldteam’s advisory board are Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich; Cheng Wanqi, honorary President of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA); and Mia Fusheng, President of NBA in China.

In 2009, with help from the Academy, Guo was elected Vice President of the International Public Sports Federation Far East Region. In addition, he serves as Undersecretary General of the Chinese Culture Promotion Society, which is supervised by the Chinese Ministry of Culture. He also serves as Secretary General of the Festival China Collaborative, which is responsible for organizing and promoting China’s many festivals.

“We Are Marshall” Coach to Receive Honorary Doctorate

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Jack Lengyel, who is probably best known as the coach portrayed in the film “We Are Marshall” that depicts the rebuilding of the Marshall University football program after a 1970 airplane crash, will receive an honorary doctorate from the United States Sports Academy.

Lengyel, a former trustee for the Academy, followed his four years as head coach at Marshall with an extensive career in athletic administration, most notably his 13-year career as the Athletic Director for the United States Naval Academy (USNA), where he oversaw 30 varsity sports programs and was responsible for the new construction and renovations of several sport facilities. During his tenure at Navy, Lengyel received a Lifetime Service Award from the Annapolis Touchdown Club (2001), was appointed to the USNA Foundation Board of Trustee’s (2001), and the Naval Academy’s strength and conditioning facility was named in his honor.

Lengyel has stayed active in the nine years since his retirement, serving at different times as the interim athletic director at the University of Colorado, Eastern Kentucky, and Temple. He has also conducted strategic reviews for the athletic departments at Texas State-San Marcos, Northern Arizona, and Towson State. Lengyel also worked as a college football color analyst for ESPN. He is now the Vice President of Business Development for XOS Digital, Inc., a provider of digital technology and media management solutions to collegiate and professional sports organizations.

In 2008, Lengyel accompanied Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on a USO Tour of Iraq and Afghanistan. He is currently assisting the Pentagon with the “Sea of Goodwill” project to help returning veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq secure employment, education, and health care benefits.

But his most publicized legacy will be what occurred in Huntington, W.V. in the early 1970s.

On Nov. 14, 1970, 75 people boarded the Southern Airways DC-9 in Greenville, N.C., to return to Huntington after a game against East Carolina. It was a rainy, windy night, and none of the crew members had ever landed at Tri-State Airport, which is located on a tabletop plateau close to the Kentucky-West Virginia-Ohio border. At 7:42 p.m., as it was about to land, the plane clipped the tops of the trees west of Runway 11 and crashed into an Appalachian hillside with a full load of fuel. Thirty-seven Marshall football players, 25 supporters, eight coaches, and five crew members were killed.

After the crash, there was a movement to drop the Marshall football program, which was left with four varsity players who did not make the trip to East Carolina; three assistant coaches and graduate assistant who traveled home by automobile; and the freshman football team from the previous season. The community was hurting not only by the loss of its football players, but several university and public officials, prominent business leaders, four doctors and their wives.

Instead of dropping the program, Lengyel, who had been head coach of football and lacrosse at The College of Wooster (Ohio) for the previous five years, was hired as head coach for Marshall. At that time, freshmen were ineligible to compete in varsity sports, but the NCAA gave Marshall special permission to utilize them as players so Lengyel’s staff could rebuild the program through recruiting.

President Richard Nixon sent Lengyel a letter of encouragement, writing, “Friends across the land will be rooting for you, but whatever the season brings, you have already won your greatest victory by putting the 1971 varsity squad on the field.”

With a team of mostly freshmen, the young Thundering Herd won its home opener against Xavier that season, and Lengyel remained at Marshall for four years, where he rebuilt the football program and the team’s four-year structure. In 1996, when Marshall won the NCAA Division 1-AA National Championship, head coach Bob Pruitt gave Lengyel a championship ring for resurrecting the program.

After three years in the private sector, Lengyel became the Associate Athletic Director at Louisville (1980) and then the University of Missouri (1981-84). Following his stint at Missouri, he was named Director of Athletics at Fresno State, where the men’s basketball team won the NIT Championship in 1984. The football team finished an undefeated 1985 season with a 51-7 victory over Bowling Green in the California Bowl. After that, Lengyel returned to the University of Missouri as a Director of Athletics, where he stayed three years before being hired by the Naval Academy.

For the United States Sports Academy, Lengyel served on the Board of Trustees from 1992-’93 and was on the Board of Visitors from 1988-’91 and from 2003 to the present. He is also chairman of the College Football Game of the Year Committee, which selects an NCAA Division One football game every year to be recognized. The winner of said game is honored with a painting from sports artist Daniel Moore and a $5,000 donation to the general scholarship fund.

Lengyel has been active in the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) for two decades, having served as president from 1989 to ’90, and was also a member of the executive committee. He is a member of the past presidents’ committee.

He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame (NFF); chairs the NFF’s Divisional Honors Court; and served on the NFF’s football honors review, awards, and executive committees.

Lengyel served on the NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship Committee and Postseason Football Committee. He has chaired the Director of Athletics Committees for the Big Eight Conference and the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference. From 1994-2000, he chaired the International Rowing Association Board of Stewards.

In 2009, Lengyel received an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from Argosy University in Phoenix, Ariz. He has also received NACDA’s James J. Corbett Award for a distinguished career and outstanding contribution to college athletics. Other honors include, but are not limited to, the NFF John L. Toner Award for an Athletic Director who has made significant contribution to football; The Homer Rice Award for a distinguished career as an athletic director; Distinguished Service Awards from Marshall University and the United States Sports Academy; the GMAC Bowl Champions of Life Award; The Annapolis Touchdown Club Lifetime Service Award; the NIT/NACDA Athletic Administration Award; the Akron University Distinguished Alumni Award; NFF Honoree for Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football; the Akron University Sports Hall of Fame Achievement Award; the Akron/Summit County Sports Hall of Fame; the American Football and Basketball Coaches Conference Sports Leadership Award; The Campbellsville (Ky.) University Leadership Award; and was a Distinguished Military Student and received the Distinguished Military Graduate award from Akron University.

Andrew College Dean Visits Academy

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Mr. Jason Goodner (left), Dean of Academic Affairs for Andrew College in Cuthbert, Ga., meets with United States Sports Academy Dean of Academic Affairs Dr. Arthur Ogden. Mr. Goodner visited the Academy’s campus Tuesday, 27 July to discuss possible cooperation between the two institutions in their academic programs.

Cypriot Doctoral Student Visits Campus

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Costas Solomou (right), a United States Sports Academy doctoral student and sports administrator for the Cyprus Sports Organization, took his comprehensive finals examination last week. The examination process was supervised by Dr. Fred Cromartie (left), the Academy's Director of Doctoral Studies and Chair of Sports Management.

Costas Solomou (right), a United States Sports Academy doctoral student and sports administrator for the Cyprus Sports Organization, took his comprehensive finals examination last week. The examination process was supervised by Dr. Fred Cromartie (left), the Academy’s Director of Doctoral Studies and Chair of Sports Management. In Cyprus, Solomou supervises the development of new talent, the national plan for developing sports, the national plan for elite athletes, the team sports associations and scholarships for athletes. He is also a member of the National Committee Against Violence and For Fair Play.

Game of the Year Committee Welcomes New York TV Producer, Texas Athletic Administrator

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Chris Plonsky

Chris Plonsky

The Director of Women’s Athletics at the University of Texas and the Senior Producer of SportsNet New York cable/satellite television became the two newest members of the United States Sports Academy’s College Football Game of the Year Committee.

Texas AD Chris Plonsky and SNY Senior Producer Jeane Willis accepted invitations to join the committee that determines which NCAA Division One football game is designated Game of the Year, hence determining which winning team’s institution receives a $5,000 donation to its general scholarship fund and a special painting from college football sports artist Daniel Moore.

Plonsky, who is a member of the National Football Foundation (NFF)/College Football Hall of Fame Board of Directors, has served eight years at her current position in Austin. During that time the Longhorns have won two national championships and 30 Big 12 Championships in women’s sports. She also works as a liaison to the athletic department’s media rights holder and licensing company.

Plonsky has also served on USA Basketball’s Board of Directors, the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Executive Committee, three NCAA committees and the board of directors for the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators (NACMA). She was president of NACMA from 1999-2000 and is in the NACMA Hall of Fame. Plonsky also chaired the NCAA’s Division One Management Council.

Jeane Willis

Jeane Willis

Willis has more then 20 years of experience producing television programs and shows including “Good Morning America”; CBS News; and “Larry King Live.” Her current position at SNY involves overseeing the contributors and talent for the network, and working as a liaison to the Big East Conference schools and conference office. College sports are at the very core of Willis’ career, having started as a graduate intern in the sports information office at Princeton University and then as the SID at her alma mater Siena College.

The College Football Game of the Year concept was developed by Moore, the Academy’s 2005 Sport Artist of the Year. Moore is a well-known artist for his paintings on college football.

During the season, the committee elects nominees for the Game of the Year each week. At the end of the season and bowl games, a final review of nominations is prepared for consideration. The winning school receives a commemorative limited edition fine art print of the game and a $5,000 donation for its general scholarship fund.

The Academy’s expert panel includes such former esteemed coaches as Hall of Famer Vince Dooley from Georgia. The committee is chaired by Jack Lengyel, former Naval Academy Athletic Director who was the head football coach that rebuilt the Marshall University football program after a plane crash, as featured in the 2006 motion picture “We Are Marshall.”

Academy Instructor Teaches on Malaysian Island

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Tim Foley (left), a United States Sports Academy faculty member, discusses sports marketing practices with Malaysian students during a recent visit to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.

Foley traveled to Malaysia to teach a course in cooperation with Institut Sukan Negara Malaysia (Malaysian National Sports Institute) as a part of the Academy’s International Certification in Sports Management (ICSM) program. For nearly four decades, the Academy has provided programs in sport education to students throughout the nation and to more than 60 countries throughout the world.

NHL’s Florida Panthers Hire Academy Alum as Assistant GM

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United States Sports Academy graduate Michael Santos has been named as the Assistant General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Florida Panthers.

“Mike brings to our team more than 20 years of hockey experience in a variety of capacities,” Panther General Manager Dale Tallon said. “He has done an incredible job in helping to assemble a competitive Nashville club that has qualified for the playoffs in three of the last four seasons.”

The 1989 master’s degree recipient spent the past four seasons as the director of hockey operations for the NHL’s Nashville Predators. He will now be responsible for negotiating player contracts, handling salary arbitrations, overseeing the club’s minor league affiliates, managing the club’s payroll and salary cap, as well as serving as the day-to-day contact of the hockey operations department. He previously worked for the Panthers from 2001-’03.

“(The Academy) really gave me direction and the opportunity to learn how to synchronize business and the sports aspect of business,” Santos said.

While attending the Academy, Santos began a public relations internship with the NHL, which led to a full-time position in the same department. After that, he worked for the New Haven (Conn.) Nighthawks of the American Hockey League (the highest level of minor league) for two years. He followed this up by working in Arena Operations for special events at the NHL front office.

Santos, who has a bachelor’s degree in communications and English from Boston College, and a Juris Doctorate from St. John’s (N.Y.) University, has since spent five years with the New York Islanders and two years as the director of hockey operations/corporate counsel for the Panthers.

USSA Doctoral Students Complete Comprehensive Exams

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Twelve doctoral students at the United States Sports Academy completed their comprehensive final examinations on the Academy’s campus on 7-9 July.

Academy Department Chairs and doctoral students gather in the Academy’s Main Lobby. Pictured from left to right: Dean of Academic Affairs Dr. Arthur Ogden; Department Head-Sports Fitness and Health Dr. Jordan Moon; La Quita Denese Frederick from Chicago, IL; Sichan Park from Columbia, MO; John Starr from Lyerly, GA; Costas Solomou from Limassol, Cyprus; Chair of Sports Medicine Dr. Enrico Esposito; Mark Streiff from Evans Mills, NY; Chair of Sports Studies Dr. Pamela Wojnar; Christine Heather Welch from Nixa, MO; Chair of Sports Management and Director of Doctoral Studies Dr. Fred Cromartie; Suzanne Cooke from Aurora, IL; Chair of Sports Coaching Dr. Scott Johnson; Troy O’Neal Gamble from Anderson, SC; and Robert Stinchcomb from Rome, GA.

Doctoral students not pictured: Kai Yang Hu from Taipei, Taiwan; Boryong Kim from Busan, South Korea; and Cheng Ping Li from Taoyuan County, Taiwan.

World Leisure Organization's Leadership Visits Academy to Discuss Array of Possibilities

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Academy President Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich (center) meets with members of the WLO Board of Directors (from left to right) Mr. Jack Agrios from Alberta, Canada, Secretary General Dr. Chris Edginton from the University of Northern Iowa, Chairman of the Board Mr. Derek Casey from Edinburgh, United Kingdom, and Dr. Ricardo Uvinha from Sao Paul, Brazil.

Academy President Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich (center) meets with members of the WLO Board of Directors (from left to right) Mr. Jack Agrios from Alberta, Canada, Secretary General Dr. Chris Edginton from the University of Northern Iowa, Chairman of the Board Mr. Derek Casey from Edinburgh, United Kingdom, and Dr. Ricardo Uvinha from Sao Paul, Brazil.

A delegation from the World Leisure Organization (WLO) visited the Academy’s campus on 7 July to discuss the ways and means by which both organizations could work together academically, given the Academy’s newly developed recreation management emphasis at the Master’s degree level.

The WLO has identified Mobile, Alabama as one of the two finalists selected as a potential host site for the 2014 World Leisure Congress. The biennially World Leisure Congress is a large international event comprised of a multi-dimensional program and related activities. The World Leisure Board of Directors will announce the location of the 2014 World Leisure Congress at the 2010 World Leisure Congress in ChunCheon City, Korea at the end of August.

Dominant Tennis and Golf Champions Named Athletes of the Month

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Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal

Dominating wins in major tournaments earned Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal and American golfer Cristie Kerr the United States Sports Academy’s June Male and Female Athlete of the Month honors.

Nadal, the world’s No. 1 men’s tennis player, won his fifth French Open in six years and won every match at Roland Garros in straight sets for the second time in three years. Spain’s “King of the Clay Court” has won every major clay court tournament this year (French Open, the Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open, the Monte Carlo-Rolex Masters, and the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome).

Cristie Kerr was named Female Athlete of the Month after she won the LPGA Championship by 12 strokes, the largest margin of victory in the history of the tournament, and tied for second with the biggest margin in any LPGA major. She also won the LPGA State Farm Classic with a score of 22 under par, a record low for that tournament.

Finishing second to Nadal for Male Athlete of the Month was Kobe Bryant. The Los Angeles Lakers’ guard was named Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the NBA Finals after averaging 28.6 points per game in the finals and 29.2 per game in the playoffs. Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Edwin Jackson finished third after pitching a no-hitter in a 149-pitch performance in a 1-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Christie Kerr

Cristie Kerr

Second place in the female ballot went to Queen Harrison, who won the NCAA Championship in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 12.67 seconds, and won the 400-meter hurdles in 54.55 seconds. The Virginia Tech senior and 2008 Olympian was the first woman to win both hurdle events at the NCAA championships. Coming in third was Chaunte Lowe, the women’s overall champion at the U.S. Track and Field Championships, who won the high jump by clearing 6 feet, 8.75-inches, an American record.

The public is invited to participate in the worldwide Athlete of the Month nominating and balloting processes. Visit the Academy website and fill out the nomination form, and return to the website on 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.

Private Universities, Community Colleges Agree to Ease Transfers

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A new agreement reached on 30 June will allow more of Alabama’s junior college and community college students to have easy access to the United States Sports Academy’s upper-division Bachelor’s degree program.

The Alabama Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (AAICU) coordinated the development of a system-wide agreement with the Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education (ADPE) that will make it easier for community college students to transfer to Alabama’s private colleges and universities. Students will now know what courses will transfer to these private schools prior to enrolling.

The Academy is a member of the AAICU.

This new agreement is similar to individual pacts that the Academy has had with seven Alabama community colleges, except that this one act triples the size of those connections. What is most significant is that the lower-division curriculum offered by community colleges will now have a logical extension to upper-division institutions such as the Academy.

The Academy offers bachelor’s degree programs in sports management, sports coaching, and sports studies.

Sport Artist Scores with World Cup Exhibit

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Mina Papatheodorou-Valyraki

The paintings of Mina Papatheodorou-Valyraki, the 2002 American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) Sport Artist of the Year, are being featured in a month-long exhibition in Florence, Italy. The exhibition is in honor of the FIFA World Cup.

The exhibit, which opened on 11 June at the Frascione Arte Gallery and will run until 11 July 2010, is titled “Football Portraits,” in which Valyraki is presenting a series of athletic themes featuring soccer. It also features soccer-themed paintings by Olivia Magris, Dino Boschi, Lorenzo Perrone, Frank O’, and the late Renato Guttouso.

A native of Athens, Greece, Valyraki graduated with distinction from Athens University Superior School of Fine Arts in 1980, where she studied under Yiannis Moralis and Lazaros Lameras. In 1981, Valyraki moved to Florence to continue her studies on the History of Art with a scholarship from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She earned a Ph.D from the University of Florence. Her work, “The Downhill Skier,” became one of the official posters for that year’s Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.

The Sport Artist of the Year Award is presented to an individual who captures the spirit and life of sport so that future generations can relive the drama of today’s competition. The recipient may use a variety of art media including film, video or sculpture to depict the breadth and scope of both the agony and the ecstasy of sport.

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 1,000 pieces across all forms of media, including painting, sculpture, assemblage, prints, posters and photography.

The Museum is free and open to the public, Monday through Friday, 8 am to 4 pm.

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
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