United States Sports Academy doctoral degree holder Dr. Marty Durden is taking his brand of “servant-leadership” and nearly five decades of athletic leadership to a new position at Calvary Christian School in Columbus, Ga.
Durden earned his Doctor of Education degree in sports management from the Academy in 2016 and has written extensively about the “servant-leader” model of coaching, including in a 2019 Sport Digest piece titled “The Call for a Higher Standard Than Winning.” Durden is the new athletic director at Calvary Christian School in Columbus, Ga.
Durden is a veteran coach whose teams have won state championships in basketball, baseball, football, and golf over the span of nearly five decades. He previously worked as the athletic director at Presbyterian School in Houston, and has also has worked as an adjunct professor at Belhaven University, Concordia Texas University and at Houston Baptist University. He earned his Doctor of Education degree from the Academy while working full time in the profession.
“The Academy means the world to me,” Durden said. “I knew I needed to get my doctorate for my career, and Dr. Fred Cromartie (Academy Director of Doctoral Studies) and the faculty and staff at the Academy were just so helpful to me. Dr. Cromartie really embraced the concept of servant leadership in coaching and helped me along throughout the dissertation process. I can’t say enough about how great he and the Academy faculty were to me.
“To me, real learning happens when you are free to explore ideas. The Academy helped me to grow and to learn by giving me the freedom to explore the big ideas. Everything I learned from the Academy has been absolutely applicable to almost everything I do professionally on a daily basis.
“I was working as a coach and administrator while I pursued my degree, and the Academy really helped me as a working professional. I was able to keep my job while furthering my education. I would recommend the Academy to anyone and everyone.”
Durden’s Sport Digest piece suggested that some of sport’s bigger problems – the NCAA basketball scandal, athletic trainers who prey on female athletes, and fraud and bribery at FIFA – could be held off at the pass early on with more coaches and administrators who hold themselves to a higher ethical standard.
“My research has shown that servant-leadership coaching elicits a higher level of sustained effort,” he wrote. “Young people who view their coach through the lens of trust tend to face the crucible of athletics with a higher degree of determination…The Higher Standard is the antidote to the insipient uptick of unethical incidents in our beloved (coaching) profession.”