Marlin Lee

1994: M.S.S. Sports Management/Sports Coaching

Marlin Lee

Marlin Lee played on China’s national Team Handball team and professionally for 15 years before deciding to go into coaching.

His decision led him to the United States Sports Academy in 1990 and four years later he completed his master’s in Sports Coaching and Sports Management. He coached both in China and for USA Team Handball in the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta.

Today, Lee runs his own sports consulting company, American Sports & Media Management, which is based in Hayward, Calif. Much of his work involves helping arrange programs to train Shanghai players, coaches and administrators in the United States. In recent years, he has brought baseball, softball, soccer, men’s basketball and other teams to train here.

In China, Lee explains, each of the 34 province-level divisions are responsible for running independent sports programs, which all fall under the national system.

Lee is currently working with the Academy to bring about two dozen Shanghai swimming coaches May 5-13 for training. Besides seminars led by Academy faculty, the tour includes the Shanghai group spending a day with the Auburn University swimming team and head coach Brett Hawke.

During a recent visit to the Academy campus in Daphne, Ala., to make last-minute arrangements for the Shanghai training program, Lee spoke with the Alumni Network about sports in China and its people’s desire to learn more from the West to enhance its sports system.

Alumni Network: How long have you been working with the Academy?

Marlin Lee: We have a very good relationship with Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich (Academy President and CEO) and the Academy that goes back to the mid-1990s. For a while we had a coaching exchange to teach sports excellence. We had a sports management program in 2008 that was very successful. The program had very good feedback and the impact was great, too. Almost every Chinese member in that program is now at the director level in gymnastics, swimming, track and field and other sports departments. Two are now presidents at the Shanghai Sports Institution. They are all proud of the program. It broadened their eyes to what the West does to run sports well and perform well. They got a lot of ideas from here.

Alumni Network: What can you tell us about the latest effort to bring Shanghai swim coaches here?

Marlin Lee: Shanghai sports doesn’t have too much of an advantage over the other provinces in facilities and management. They feel the way to gain an advantage is to improve their coaching performance. They want to learn sports psychology, sports medicine and get other training. They think if they can do this they can turn out excellent athletes. In my days as an athlete, it was just practice harder, so we would practice eight hours a day. National recruiters from every sport recruit athletes from the provinces. If they can enhance their performance, then they can enhance their image. Currently, Shanghai is ranked No. 3 in total score for all the provinces for all Olympic sports.

Alumni Network: How has what you learned from the Academy helped you?

Marlin Lee: It helped me a lot to get in my mindset how to run sports, not like how the government runs things but running them on my own. I learned how to fundraise and how to plan programs to fit the needs of people in sports.