The first 650 Malaysian teachers to complete the United States Sports Academy’s International Diploma in Physical Education and Scholastic Sports (IDPESS) program will receive their diplomas in a convocation ceremony.

The program was held Saturday, Oct. 19 at Balai Bubaya Tun Syed Nasir Ismail in Dewan Bahasa Dan Pustaka, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The convocation ceremony also kicked off the second year of the sports program, which is slated to retrain an additional 1,000 physical education teachers in the area of sport to help the country improve its youth sports, among other benefits.

Sarawak students pictured here were among the more than 650 Malaysian teachers who were the first to complete the Academy's physical education and scholastic sports training program.

Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich, the founder, president and CEO of the Academy who has worked with Malaysia over six decades, congratulated the first ever graduates of the IDPESS program.

“I can only marvel at the changes that I have witnessed in Malaysia as the decades have passed,” he said. “From those very early days to today, I have always known that education is the key to success whether it is in the game of life or in a life of sports. May you all realize many years of success on the road ahead.”

Dr. Thomas J. Rosandich, the Academy’s vice president and COO, pointed out that the training the teachers received will help Malaysia’s youth both athletically and academically.

“I hope that all of you will go from here today and apply your new found skills within the schools where you work,” he said. “If you succeed in doing so, you will help to create a better learning environment for all concerned and most importantly, for the betterment of the students under your supervision.”

Muhyiddin Yassin, Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, and the country’s other leaders had the vision to build vigorous sports programs for Malaysian children. It led to the Academy developing a diploma program for the Southeast Asian country that is arguably one of the largest training programs in physical education and sports coaching ever undertaken.

Muhyiddin, who received a 2012 International Honorary Doctorate in January from the Academy at its campus in Daphne, Ala., helped oversee the implementation of “One Student – One Sport” in Malaysia’s schools about three years ago to improve physical education and scholastic sports for the nation’s children. He said he saw a need to provide more physical education and sports training to tens of thousands of the nation’s physical education teachers and coaches, who oversee the students’ development in sports.

This led to the Malaysia Ministry of Education (MOE) approving the Academy’s latest sports education program for Malaysia—the International Diploma in Physical Education and Scholastic Sports (IDPESS).

The Academy has delivered sport and physical education programs in more than 65 countries to more than a quarter million people. The institution, known as “America’s Sports University,” is the largest graduate school of sport education in the world.

Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich’s ties to Malaysia date back to 1957 when he coached the first of his many national track and field teams there. Dr. Rosandich said that he recommended back then to Malaysia’s first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, the father of the country, to establish a sophisticated interscholastic sport program.

The Academy’s first sports education programs in Malaysia began in 1981. Over the years, the institution has taught its International Certification in Sports Management (ICSM) and Sports Coaching (ICSC) programs in the country. Today, Malaysia remains one of the few predominantly Muslim nations that maintains close ties to the United States.

The “One Student – One Sport” initiative has been a major undertaking by Malaysia since 2009. This endeavor, which offers more structured and organized physical education classes and sports programs, is seen by Malaysia’s leaders as critical for the health, fitness and learning benefits it provides youth. It also is important to the development of a national system that allows youth to advance in sports, with the best eventually competing in the Olympics or in professional sports.

In the program’s inaugural year in 2012, the Academy trained nearly 1,000 Malaysian educators from June to December and more than 650 completed it successfully and attended the recent convocation. The Academy’s 10-course diploma program is approved by the Malaysian Qualifications Authority (MQA), a national accrediting body.

This continuing education effort is but one part of Malaysia’s strategy to enhance its physical education programs as Malaysia continues to look for ways to develop its next generation of elite athletes. The country of nearly 29 million people has had athletes win a total of six Olympic medals, which have come in badminton and diving. Other popular sports include soccer, field hockey, rugby, gymnastics, martial arts and cycling.

The Academy’s programs are designed to help individuals develop a strong foundation of skills and knowledge required to succeed in coaching, physical education, management, fitness and other sport-related disciplines.

The United States Sports Academy is an independent, nonprofit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and the 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