Bobby Bowden and James Vilade

James Vilade speaks with great pride about his relationship with the United States Sports Academy.

Upon reception of his “Order of the Eagle Exemplar With Rosette” from Board of Trustees Chairman Robert C. Campbell III for being recognized as the 2009 Alumnus of the Year, Vilade, the athletic director and head baseball coach at the University of Texas at Tyler, became emotional when describing his Academy experience.

“It was the best decision I ever made,” Vilade told the gathered audience. “It was priceless. I appreciated the platform to come here and study and dream.”

Vilade, a 2003 master’s graduate in sports management, is an expert in building baseball programs. He’s built two National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III powers from scratch in Texas, including at UT-Tyler starting in 2002.

Left to Right: Dr. T.J. Rosandich, James Vilade and Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich

He was also an accomplished baseball player at Baylor University, where he served as team captain, and was also hitting coach at Oral Roberts University.

During his award presentation, Academy President Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich mentioned Vilade’s many charitable causes, which include funding scholarships and working with the Boys and Girls Club of East Texas. His players have also distinguished themselves off the field, as more than fifty have made All-Academic rosters, and his team won the NCAA National Community Service Award in 2006-07.