This January, Sara Shaw, a graduate student at the United States Sports Academy is set to earn her master’s degree in sports management with an emphasis in personal training. Recently named the head softball coach at the University of Maine at Presque Isle (UMPI), Shaw spoke with us about her desire to earn a master’s degree and lifelong aspiration to coach at the collegiate level.

She credits the Academy for giving her the flexibility to complete her degree while still working in the field.

“My whole life I wanted to be a college coach. That’s been my dream and my goal,” Shaw said.

Shaw grew up in the small town Strong, Maine, where her parents were both coaches and teachers. In high school, she played softball, basketball, and soccer and went on to play collegiate basketball and softball. Shaw earned her bachelors degree in community health education from the University of Maine at Farmington in 2008.

Shaw started her career working as an administrative assistant, but felt she wasn’t using her undergraduate degree. At that time, she had a conversation with a co-worker and was looking at schools which offered master’s degrees in sports management. Upon the suggestion of her co-worker, an Academy graduate, Shaw applied and was accepted to the Academy.

“I was looking for something online that gave me flexibility. [At the Academy] you can maintain a job and obligations personally and professionally, [and] can still do your program from anywhere.” This is what lured Shaw to the Academy’s master’s program.

Previously, Shaw was an assistant athletic director, administrative assistant, and coached at the high school level. She is the owner of FitLife Personal Fitness Training and co-owner of Northern Athletic Supply. In January she officially starts her dream job as the head softball coach. UMPI is a Division III school in upper Maine next to the US/Canadian border. Her job as a head coach will also include the management of equipment, supply maintenance and ordering, recruiting, team travel arrangements and coaching.

As a response to her new position, Shaw stated, “I look forward to bringing energy and excitement to the game of softball, to this program and building on the great work previous coaches before me have done.”

Shaw believes that her degree from the United States Sports Academy on her resume is what propelled her to this position.

“[A degree from the United States Sports Academy] puts you a step above other applicants. I am 100% happy and relieved with the choice I made. I am glad I went to the Academy because a lot of these jobs I am getting I owe, in part, to being [a student] of the Academy.”

The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research, and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy, call 251-626-3303 or visit