DAPHNE, Ala. – People come from far and wide to visit the United States Sports Academy. With the institution’s worldwide connections, it’s never a surprise to see someone from any place on the globe stop by the picturesque campus set along Mobile Bay’s Eastern Shore.

Still, it’s always nice when that guest turns out to be a person who already has an appreciation for America’s Sports University and a history with President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich. Such was the case March 24 as Dr. Sergei Beliaev, Founder, President and CEO of Super Sport Systems and Vice President of the International Swimming Coaches Association, made the trek from Richmond, Va.

It was three decades ago that Beliaev, then working at the National Institute for Physical Education and Sports in Moscow, Russia, first met Rosandich when the latter happened to be overseas on business. “I actually served as his translator,” noted a smiling Beliaev, fondly recalling a time long ago.

Since then, the Academy has blossomed under Rosandich’s watch, as has Beliaev’s career. Making the move to the United States 25 years ago, Beliaev served as an assistant to the athletic director at Virginia Commonwealth University and then as an assistant swim coach at James Madison University.

But the more involved he became with sports, the more he yearned to focus his energies on the education side of sports, which is where his affinity for the Academy is derived. So, with specialties in methodology and design in sports training, he now, teaches to coaches and athletes worldwide through a Web-based system.

“Even with coaching, my interest always was in educating,” said Beliaev, who met with Rosandich, Academy Vice President and COO Dr. T.J. Rosandich, Dean of Academic Affairs Dr. Stephen Butler and Acting Director of Continuing Education Dr. Brandon Spradley during his visit. “That’s one of the reasons why I admire the Academy, because its purpose is to educate people in the world of sports.

“I think it’s a great place.”