DAPHNE, Ala. — The United States Sports Academy is mourning the loss of one of the founding members of its Board of Trustees who served the Academy for more than 40 years.
Dr. George E. Uhlig of Daphne, Ala., passed away on 14 March 2016 at age 82.
“Many people played a role in the development of the United States Sports Academy,” Academy President Emeritus Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich said. “However, nobody played a more important role in making the Academy what it is today than Dr. George Uhlig.
“In fact, he provided a constant source of invaluable information on academic policies throughout our history.”
Uhlig was one of the founding trustees of the United States Sports Academy in 1972. Uhlig was responsible for the Academy relocating from Milwaukee, Wisc., to the campus of the University of South Alabama in 1976, where he served as the dean of the College of Education for 26 years before retiring in January 2003.
“Dr. Uhlig played a major role in the Academy moving from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (with the original Board all connected to that institution), to the University of South Alabama in Mobile when he became their Dean of Education,” Rosandich said.
Rosandich said the move and the new location helped make it possible for the sports university to flourish. In 1986, The Academy purchased a permanent campus on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay, in Daphne, Ala., which remains its current home today.
Uhlig played catcher on the baseball team at the University of Nebraska, where he earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in education. He met Rosandich at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where Uhlig was a faculty member and chairman of the Athletic Committee and Rosandich was the athletic director.
In an interview with the Academy’s publication, The Sport Update, at the Academy’s 40th Anniversary in 2012, Uhlig discussed his first meeting with Rosandich about forming the Academy, Rosandich’s leadership and the Academy’s move to the Mobile area.
“In 1972, I was elected Athletic Board chairman at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee,” Uhlig said. “At that time, we were looking for an athletic director and one of the names that kept popping up was Tom Rosandich. The first two times I ran into him after he had become our new athletic director, he was making interesting statements that what people needed was a school of sport. The third time we talked about this I said, ‘Why don’t you start one?’
“When I met Tom Rosandich, I got to know him and his vision. I admired his energy for this idea. I never had any doubts about it. I was not sure how exactly it would happen but he had my support on it. It was a great idea and is a great idea. It has its place in the nation’s sports development and I think it will continue to succeed. It has come a long way in 40 years, thanks to Tom Rosandich’s leadership.
“Tom Rosandich had discussions with people in several cities like San Diego and Atlanta. Once I got the education deanship at the University of South Alabama, I went to our president, Dr. Frederick Whiddon, because I knew we had some property available. I told him I thought bringing the Academy down here was something we ought to do.”
Uhlig in 2012 was presented with the Academy’s Distinguished Service Award for his many contributions to the Academy’s academic programs.
Uhlig started his teaching career as an assistant professor of educational psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he remained for several years and became professor and chairman of the Department of Educational Psychology. He then went on to be vice president for operations and senior research scientist at Vasquez Associates, Ltd. before beginning his tenure with the University of South Alabama. He was an expert in the application of technology in education both at South Alabama and the Academy.
In addition to Uhlig, original members of the Academy’s Board of Trustees were Dr. Robert Block, media specialist; the late Charles Cape, attorney; Gerald Hock, finance; and Rosandich, sport administrator.