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College of Physical Activity
and Sport Sciences

Kristen D. Dieffenbach, Ph.D.


Associate Professor

Phone: 304-293-0847
Twitter: @DrDCoachScience
Office: PAS 253
Office Hours:
Monday & Wednesday: 1:00–3:00 p.m.
Tuesday: 2:00–4:00 p.m.
or by appointment

pdf_icon Curriculum Vitae

Professional Highlights

  • International Council for Coaching Excellence (ICCE) – Research Committee
  • National Committee for the Accreditation of Coaching Education (NCACE) – Chair
  • Association of Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) – Executive Board Member
  • Written and run grants and contracts with the USOC, USA Cycling, USA Hockey, USADA and other sport organizations.
  • Over 20 years professional coaching experience with athletes from the youth through Olympic level, specializing in working with long term athlete development

Committees and Memberships

  • Director of the Center for Applied Coaching and Sport Science (CACSS) in CPASS
  • Bud Colton Center for Sport Ethics – Head of Research
  • AASP Sport Psychology Certified Consultant #193
  • USA Football – Coaching Education Advisory Board
  • Research emphasis on coach development, professionalization of coaching and moral reasoning in coaching

Research Interests

  • Professionalism and Ethics in Coaching Coaching education and long term coach development
  • Long term athlete development facilitation through quality coaching
  • Overtraining and underrecovery

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Kristen Dieffenbach has a Ph.D. in exercise science with an emphasis in exercise and sport psychology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Currently she is the president of the National Council for the Accreditation of Coaching Education (NCACE) and the coaching science representative on National Association of Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) Sport Steering Committee. She also serves on the research committee for the International Council on Coaching Excellence (ICCE). Dieffenbach’s areas of educational, research, and consultation concentration include coaching education, performance enhancement, professional issues in coaching, ethics in coaching, athlete talent development, and understanding and preventing under recovery. She has worked on numerous grants, projects, and consultations in these areas for the United States Olympic Committee, US Anti-Doping Agency, United States Tennis Association, USA Cycling, USA Hockey, USA Triathlon, US Paralympics, USA Water Polo, Peaks Coaching Group, and Carmichael Training Systems.

Dieffenbach has published research articles in scientific journals, authored and co-authored numerous book chapters, and has written for applied publications such as Olympic Coach, VeloNews, and Dirt Rag. Dieffenbach has also served as an expert panelist or consultant for features in publications such as Performance Conditioning for Cycling, Runner’s World, Backpacker, Bicycling, and Adventure Sports Magazine, and on the Outdoor Life Network.

Together with Steve McCauley, Dieffenbach co-authored Bike Racing for Juniors in 2009, a handbook for coaches, parents and young cyclists. She has also written or co-authored chapters for US Tennis, USA Cycling, and the U.S. Marine Corps. As an Association for the Advancement of Applied Sport Psychology certified consultant (#193) and a member of the USOC registry of sport psychology service providers, Dieffenbach works with a wide range of athletes and coaches as a consultant and educator. As a coach she holds an elite level USA Cycling license and has earned a Level II endurance specialization from USA Track and Field. She has coached at the high school, collegiate, recreational, and elite levels in cross country, track. For the past 15 years she has coached recreation, elite and professional level road cyclists, mountain bikers, adventure racers and triathletes. She specializes in working with junior and Espior elite athletes and runs a regional mountain bike development camp for USA Cycling. A former Division I runner and road cyclist, Dieffenbach now enjoys endurance and ultra-endurance multi-sport racing. She specializes in 24-72 hour adventure racing events.