Umar Muhammad is an entrepreneur, professor, and a coach for the first cycling team at an HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) in the country. He’s also the United States Sports Academy’s latest Student of the Month.
Muhammad, who teaches sport management at St. Augustine’s University in Raleigh, N.C., is pursuing his Doctor of Education degree in Sports Management from the Academy. At St. Augustine’s, Muhammad is coaching the cycling team with fellow Academy alumnus Dr. Mark Janas.
“We’re excited to be the first HBCU to formally have a collegiate cycling team,” Muhammad said. “What many may not realize is that while cycling might be new to most HBCU’s, African Americans have made huge contributions to the sport of cycling. In fact, cycling’s first superstar, and arguably sport’s first international superstar, was a black athlete named Major Taylor. This team plans to pay homage to Taylor, as well as make its own mark on the sport.”
The story of St. Augustine’s cycling program has been featured in various national media outlets including CNN, MSN, and elsewhere. Muhammad, who also owns a consulting business, said the Academy’s flexible online learning options have been beneficial because he’s always busy.
“I love that the Academy doctoral program allows me to continue working in my field and keeping up with my busy life while giving me such a rich, informative education,” Muhammad said. “I’m able to gain knowledge that I can use to stay engaged in my every day work. I’m able to work full time and study at a comfortable pace with the Academy.
“Also, Academy faculty members are very responsive and helpful. I’ve worked in sports as a coach and administrator before, but the Academy doctoral program has shown me some aspects of sport that I had not thought of before. It has also helped me see the scholarly side of sport and taught me how to use sport to make my community a better place.”
When he completes his doctoral degree, Muhammad hopes to be able to put it to good use benefitting local communities through sport.
“I want to be able to add value to whatever community I am in,” Muhammad said. “I have always been drawn to sports at the community level. I played basketball growing up and was a track and field athlete, and I remember the coaches who made an impact in my life. I want to pay that work forward and add value to someone else’s life.”