Academy Alum Mike Duffy Retires After 17 Years as AD at Adrian College

2022-06-10T13:40:39-05:00June 10th, 2022|

United States Sports Academy master's degree alumnus Mike Duffy recently retired after serving 17 years as the athletic director at Adrian College in Adrian, Mich. Duffy earned his Master of Sports Science degree in sports administration in 1985 and has worked as an administrator and coach at Adrian College ever since. He also holds a bachelor's degree from Adrian College, where he was a member of the 1980 MIAA championship football team. After graduation, Duffy jumped straight into coaching which included 23 seasons as assistant football coach with 10 of them as assistant head coach. He also spent four seasons as the head baseball coach before serving as an assistant, and coached the Adrian College track and field team. In 2006, President Jeffrey R. Docking announced Duffy would take over [...]

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Ciara Taylor Says Academy Education Opened Door for Opportunity in USFL Concussion Safety Role

2022-05-10T13:27:22-05:00May 10th, 2022|

Ciara Taylor is an athletic trainer at Oak Mountain High School in Birmingham, Ala., and a former United States Sports Academy Student of the Month. Now, she’s making the most of her opportunity to work as a concussion manager, spotter, and athletic trainer for the United States Football League (USFL) in Birmingham. In that role, Taylor is responsible for spotting the obvious signs of concussion in players after big hits and collisions, and responsible for notifying on-field referees when a player needs to be checked out. “This is truly an amazing opportunity,” Taylor said. “The professional game is so fast paced and exciting and I have learned so much in just a few weeks working with a professional organization like the USFL. This is a great learning opportunity and I [...]

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Academy Alumnus Dr. Alan Ledford Promoted to Associate Professor at Wilmington College

2022-04-12T08:42:07-05:00April 12th, 2022|

United States Sports Academy alumnus Dr. Alan Ledford earned a promotion to associate professor of sports management at Wilmington (Ohio) College. Ledford is also the sports management program director at Wilmington. He credited his Academy Doctor of Education degree in sports management (2016) with helping him land his job at Wilmington. He said the Academy’s flexible online learning option were beneficial to him as a student. “After completing my doctoral degree, I was able to interview and earn my current job at Wilmington College,” Ledford said. “The Academy is great place for a self-starter student. The classes are enjoyable and the biggest positive is that the courses can be self-directed, meaning you can take the classes as slow or as fast as you see fit.” At Wilmington, Ledford oversees all [...]

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Alumnus Byron Cunningham Part of Los Angeles Rams Super Bowl Training Staff

2022-02-08T09:05:30-06:00February 8th, 2022|

As millions of football fans across the world tune in to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday evening, one United States Sports Academy graduate will play a critical role for the Los Angeles Rams as they take on the Cincinnati Bengals in the NFL’s premier championship game. Academy alumnus Byron Cunningham is the director of rehabilitation for the Rams’ award winning athletic training staff. A native of Mobile, Ala., Cunningham holds a Master of Sports Science degree in sports medicine from the Academy and was the institution’s 2019 Alumnus of the Year because of his work at the highest level of professional football in the world. “The Academy was the best of both worlds for me,” Cunningham said. “I’ve always loved sports, and it was great to be able to [...]

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Eastern Michigan Football Assistant Fred Reed Says Academy Degree Made Him More Qualified for Coaching Jobs

2022-01-11T09:57:09-06:00January 11th, 2022|

Part of college football’s highly anticipated bowl season, the LendingTree Bowl was held near the United States Sports Academy campus in December 2021. Academy alumnus Fred Reed – M.S.S. Sports Management 2002 – is the defensive pass game coordinator and safeties coach for Eastern Michigan University, who played the Liberty University Flames at the game in Mobile, Ala. Reed’s 26-year coaching career includes 24 seasons in the college ranks and two years in the National Football League. He just finished his sixth season at EMU, and after the LendingTree Bowl he reflected on how his Academy education benefitted his career. “The Academy helped me be qualified for more jobs,” Reed said. “I enjoyed the Academy because it gave me the opportunity to continue to work in my profession [while in [...]

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Long Beach State Track and Field Coach, Academy Alumna LaTanya Sheffield Earns USATF President’s Award

2021-12-14T13:26:00-06:00December 14th, 2021|

Long Beach State University track and field head coach LaTanya Sheffield was awarded the USA Track and Field President’s Award at the 2021 USATF Annual Meeting in Orlando in December. The United States Sports Academy’s 2016 Alumna of the Year, Sheffield Sheffield has served as development chair, advocating for athletes and coaches with USA Track and Field for almost 15 years now. An Olympian in the 400m hurdles, and an Olympic assistant coach, she served on two Olympic staffs, including this past summer in Tokyo. In addition to her tenures on the Olympic staff, she coached in three separate Pan American Games (2007, 2011, 2019), the 2013 World Championships, and two different World Indoor Championships (2006, 2008). Sheffield earned her Bachelor of Sports Science degree in sports management from the [...]

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Academy 2017 Alumnus of the Year Dr. Dave Shrock Earns Highest Honor from USA Track and Field

2021-12-14T13:37:41-06:00December 14th, 2021|

United States Sports Academy alumnus, honoree, and national faculty member Dr. Dave Shrock has earned countless accolades across his half century of work in track and field as an athlete, coach, and administrator. Shrock added another honor to his resume when he earned the 2021 Robert Giegengack Award at the USA Track and Field annual meeting. The award was established in 1982 in recognition of the late Yale track & field coach’s half-century of “superior and outstanding contributions as an official, a coach, and an administrator in the sport and to the organization.” It is awarded annually to a person “who excels in contributing to the excellence and high standards of the sport of Athletics.” The award is USA Track & Field’s only accolade not limited to one of the [...]

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Academy’s Alumnus of the Year Greg Walker Named NEWMAC Volleyball Coach of the Year

2021-11-16T09:53:34-06:00November 16th, 2021|

The United States Sports Academy’s 2021 Alumnus of the Year Greg Walker can add another honor to his growing list of achievements. Walker was recently named the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Volleyball Coach of the Year. In his first season at Smith College, Walker led the team to its most successful season since 2013, guiding the Pioneers to a 21-11 record and NEWMAC Tournament appearance – the team’s first since 2013. As a team, the Pioneers finished first in the conference in kills, service aces and total blocks and fourth in assists, digs and hitting percentage. Walker, who holds a Bachelor of Sports Science degree in sports coaching from the Academy, earned the institution’s Alumnus of the Year Award because of his more than a decade [...]

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Sport Psychologist Niamh Fitzpatrick Says Mental Health is Key to Athlete Performance

2021-11-16T09:42:05-06:00November 16th, 2021|

A pioneering sports psychologist in the world of Gaelic athletics, Niamh Fitzpatrick has made a career for herself working with some of Ireland’s biggest names in sport. The head psychologist for the Irish Olympic teams in Athens (2004), Beijing (2008), and London (2012), Fitzpatrick said mental health and wellbeing are equally important to athletes as physical training. The Dublin, Ireland, resident holds a Master of Sports Science degree in sports management with a specialization in sport psychology from the Academy. She is the owner of a private psychology firm in South Dublin and a longtime sport psychologist. In addition to her Academy degree, Fitzpatrick also holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in clinical psychology from University College Dublin. “We must never forget that athletes are people [...]

Academy Coaching Degree Helped Kevin Laux on Path to Alabama Soccer Association Leadership Role

2021-10-13T13:40:21-05:00October 13th, 2021|

Alabama Soccer Association (ASA) technical director Kevin Laux said his master’s degree from the United States Sports Academy showed him the science behind coaching and ultimately led to his career in coaching education. Laux holds a Master of Sports Science degree in sports coaching from the Academy. Like many Academy students and graduates, Laux pursued his degree while working full time in the profession as an assistant women’s soccer coach at the University of Mobile (Ala.). “The Academy helped me understand that coaching is a science and an art,” Laux said. “Studying at the Academy showed me that there has been incredible research done in the field of coaching and that successful coaches don’t just go out there make it up as they go along. There is a science and [...]

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Scott Simmons Credits “Transformational” Academy Education in Career Coaching World Class Distance Runners

2021-10-13T13:37:59-05:00October 13th, 2021|

When the American Distance Project (ADP) was founded more than a decade ago as a training outlet for local long distance runners in the Colorado Springs area, Scott Simmons had no idea the organization would produce multiple Olympians and world championship competitors within the next 10 years. Simmons, who is a coach at the ADP, holds a Master of Sports Science degree in sports coaching from the United States Sports Academy. Since 2011, the ADP has helped more than 50 long distance runners on Team USA, including Olympic medalists at both the Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Games. Those athletes include American distance runner Paul Chelimo, who medaled in 5,000-meter races at both the Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Simmons credited his “transformational” education from the Academy as a [...]

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2012 Alumnus of the Year Dr. Mark Janas is a Collegiate Cycling Coach, Inventor, Innovator and Writer

2021-09-14T11:14:12-05:00September 14th, 2021|

United States Sports Academy doctoral degree holder Dr. Mark Janas is the cycling coach at Saint Augustine’s University in Raleigh, N.C. He’s also a prolific inventor, innovator and writer who has written extensively for the Academy’s Sport Digest blog. Janas is the founder of RevoRace.com, a virtual event and race management platform, and he uses his expertise in the field in his latest article titled “How to Build a Collegiate Virtual Sports Program.” The piece (read it here) covers everything you need to know about just virtual sports administration - from describing the difference between “virtual sport” and Esports to giving tips and pointers on getting your college’s virtual sports program off the ground. Janas, who earned his Doctor of Education degree in Sports Management with a sports medicine emphasis [...]

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