Cheryl Tabone works as a coach, adjunct professor, and a nonprofit organization president in the Buffalo, N.Y. area. The United States Sports Academy’s Student of the Month, Tabone hopes that her doctoral education from the institution will help her earn an athletic director position at the collegiate level.

Tabone already earned a Master of Sports Science dual degree in Sports Coaching and Sports Medicine from the Academy in 2018. Now, she’s seeking her Doctor of Education degree in Sports Management with a specialization in sports leadership and a focus in sports medicine.

The Fredonia, N.Y., resident is also breaking down barriers in her field. She’s an assistant coach for the men’s soccer team at Buffalo State University (BSU), where she’s the only female coach on a men’s team in the State University of New York (SUNY) system. She’s also an adjunct professor of exercise physiology, techniques of basketball, and other subjects at BSU.

“I love the competition of sports and the team atmosphere and the family-like connections you make,” Tabone said. “Here at my school, I get to be a coach on the men’s team, so I’m not only coaching them on the field, but I’m also almost like a mother to them. The players come to me for advice, and they make me feel like I’m part of the team.”

Tabone is so committed to becoming an athletic director that she recently sold her gym, which she’d owned for 11 years, to focus on accomplishing her goal. She’s currently working under the BSU athletic director in the mentorship phase of her doctoral program.

“The Academy has really shown me the ‘ins and outs’ of being an athletics administrator, and my work with my school’s athletic director has shown me that’s what I want to do,” Tabone said. “The Academy has been fantastic for me. When I contact any of my professors with a question or concern, they are always quick to reach back out to me. You can’t find that at most schools. The Academy faculty members really care about how you are doing as a student and as a person. They are always open and willing to help.”

In addition to her work at BSU, Tabone is also the race director for a Thanksgiving Day charity run in the Buffalo, N.Y., area and the president of the nonprofit Kids Staying Active Foundation, which raises money to pay sports registration fees, buy uniforms, and pay for travel for underprivileged young athletes in her area.

“It is important to help anyone who wants to be involved in sport to be able to do that,” Tabone said. “We know that sports can be a critical tool to help young people grow up to be productive adults. Sports can be expensive and because of that, they can be out of reach for some people who don’t have much. I want to help in any way I can.”