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College of Physical Activity
and Sport Sciences

CPASS courtyard view


5 May
Brazil_Drums With the recent hosting of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Soccer and the upcoming Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, scholars around the world have focused their attention on Brazil.

This past spring semester five College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences students were enrolled in the special topic course Sport in Brazil. Gonzalo Bravo, associate professor in CPASS sport management, served as the architect behind this course as well as the lead-faculty of the Brazil study abroad trip this summer.

One of the main objectives of the Sport in Brazil course was to prepare students who are participating in this international experience, which includes visits to the cities of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. In Brazil, the CPASS group will meet nine other students and one faculty member from the School of Hospitality, Sport & Recreation Management, James Madison University. The two groups will spend seven days visiting several sport-related organizations and other landmark tourist sites.

Brazil_JiuJitsu CPASS students in the Sport in Brazil course had the opportunity to learn and discuss aspects related to sport along with the history and culture of Brazil. Earlier in the semester, Natalia Sterci, president, Brazilian Student Association and a graduate student in the WVU Department of World Languages, presented two sessions on Brazilian culture. Dr. Michael Vercelli, director, World Music Performance Center at WVU, introduced the students to the African roots of Brazilian music. Finally, members of the Anu Academy of Martial Arts in Morgantown conducted a demonstration on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
30 Apr
IMG_0264 Faculty members in the West Virginia University College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences were recently recognized for outstanding teaching, research and service for the 2014-15 academic year.

Samuel Zizzi, professor, sport exercise psychology, was recognized as teacher of the year. Zizzi was recognized as a research Fellow by the Association for Applied Sport Psychology in 2012. In addition, he is a manuscript reviewer for a variety of journals in the fields of SEP and public health. His research pursuits span both sport and exercise psychology.

Stephen Harvey, associate professor, physical education teacher education, was recognized as outstanding researcher. Harvey’s research focuses on pedagogical models and teacher/coach behavior to improve teaching and coaching practice. He recently co-authored Advances in Rugby Coaching: An Holistic Approach.

Valerie Wayda, associate professor, athletic coaching education, and Coaching and Teaching Studies department chair, was recognized as servant of the year. Wayda is a Fellow of the North American Society of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport and Dance Professionals. She recently received the 2015 Distinguished Service Award for her contributions as an outstanding member of the National Association for Kinesiology in Higher Education.

The McDowell CHOICES team was recognized as grants person of the year. CPASS members of the group include Sean Bulger, Eloise Elliott, Emily Jones, and Andrea Taliaferro. McDowell CHOICES aims to improve physical activity opportunities for citizens of McDowell County, W. Va., in school and family settings. The program provides a variety of activities, from karate to archery, with participating schools across the county.

Faculty are recognized in teaching, research and service by their academic divisions as part of the promotion and tenure review process. College-wide honorees are then selected by a college-level committee.

28 Apr

In recognition of their exceptional community service, the undergraduate Sport and Exercise Psychology Club has received the Student Organization of the Year award from the Center for Service and Learning. The group was honored at the Excellence in Civic Engagement Award ceremony held on April 15.

“Being involved in community service is one of the core missions of the SEP club. This award recognizes the club and its members for their efforts in giving back to West Virginia University and the Morgantown community,” said Dr. Damien Clement, CPASS associate professor.

Kristen Siers, a senior Sport and Exercise Psychology student, serves as SEP club president. Although the club is active across campus in a variety of events, Siers expressed that the organization takes a special pride in their community service component.

“The Center for Service and Learning is focused on civic engagement and service to the community, so to be able to represent WVU and CPASS on those terms is an incredible feeling,” Siers said.

The SEP club supported various service-based opportunities in the last year, including the West Virginia Family Grief Center, WVU Children’s Hospital Gala, Make-A-Difference Day, Animal Friends Thrift Shoppe, and more.

Siers describes the Trunk-or-Treat event at the Coliseum as her personal favorite. “We always dress up in our favorite team jerseys and it is so much fun to see the kids and their families have such a good time,” she added.

“Giving back to WVU and the Morgantown community is important for CPASS students, so I am glad that our club provides opportunities for our students and members to go together,” Siers said.

28 Apr
WVBB_SM_gradstudents College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences graduate students have been immersed in a unique sports marketing experience as interns for the West Virginia Black Bears, a minor league baseball team.

A collaboration between Rich Baseball Operations and the WVU graduate sports management students began in September 2014. Rich Baseball Operations approached CPASS professor Dr. Dallas Branch to partner with his sports marketing class to execute a “Name the Team” fan contest.

Kristen Furlong, of Baltimore, Md., Andrew DiPietrantonio of Beaver, Pa., Manuel Garcia-Oronoz of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, and Brett Ervin of Clarksburg, directed the contest to name Morgantown’s new professional baseball team, a Class A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The fans’ response to the “Name the Team” contest was overwhelming, especially considering the short time frame to oversee the project. CPASS students had only a month and a half to generate exposure for the team. During that time, the group received 2,500 suggestions. More than 10,000 participants voted on the top 10 names.

“The server actually shut down from the huge response,” DiPietrantonio explained. “People have been very receptive of the Black Bear name and the logo, which has been rated a 9.1 out of 10.”

The students provided direct input in the naming process and received valuable experience in generating radio and newspaper coverage. They also gained the opportunity to network with coaches and county commissioners.

“It is great opportunity for students to get their foot in the door of the business side of professional baseball and the experience they gain is very valuable,” said Ernie Galusky, the Black Bears assistant general manager. “Almost every single paid position in professional baseball is filled with someone who interned in a similar situation while they were in college.”

Galusky believes the internship experience is a win-win situation, with the Black Bears receiving valuable assistance while students learned marketing and business essentials of running a professional team.

“I truly enjoy being involved in the startup of this team and can’t wait to see what this first season will bring,” said Furlong. “There are not many people that get to be involved in the making and branding of a new team so I am grateful to be a part of it and believe the experience will help when I begin to look for a career.”

Working with a team from its inception was a uniquely beneficial experience for these graduate students. “It was a great opportunity to see things start from the ground up, and we got to grow with the Black Bears,” DiPietrantonio said.

For Garcia-Oronoz, the internship confirmed his desire to become involved with sport marketing in the future. “Working with the Black Bears really helped me understand the entire process,” he added.

Branch agrees that the students are enjoying a unique experience. “No other students in the country have a chance like this to execute a naming process; it is really special.”

WV BlackBears logo

Next up for the Black Bears is preparation for the fast-approaching season. Seats were recently installed in the stadium, and season tickets and team merchandise are now on sale. CPASS students will continue to work with the team until May; the season opener is June 19.

You can keep up with the team on Twitter (@WVBlackBears) or Information on season tickets and packages is available at

23 Apr

A partnership between the United States Tennis Association and West Virginia University will provide valuable training through a conference held on campus this summer. The training will offer lifetime leisure activities to the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences’ Physical Education Teacher Education Master’s degree program.

“This conference is a way of helping teachers add a lifetime activity component to physical education class,” said David Robertson, a CPASS coaching and teaching studies doctoral student. Robertson is coordinating the summer experience.

The one-day conference is scheduled for Saturday, July 11, and will focus on learning both tennis and golf. USTA representatives will host the tennis training and focus on developing the ability to teach age-appropriate skills. Training will start with simpler skills and build to the more complex.

“The day won’t start out playing full-court tennis,” Robertson explained. “It’s about teaching the basic skills and then starting to learn how to lead in to advanced level playing skills.”

The golf training is currently being finalized. Instructors will follow a similar gradual training instructional manner as tennis. The golf-equipment is oversized to help PETE students feel comfortable and familiar with the equipment. Confidence in both the skills and handling equipment is the main goal of the conference.

“For both of the organizations to help with the implementation of these programs for PE teachers instructing lifetime leisure activities, it’s very important,” said Robertson. “These organizations are trained in this and it’s a great partnership.”

21 Apr
zack hill

The Philadelphia Flyers are the recipients of this season’s Dick Dillman Award. The Flyers staff is led by College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences former student Zack Hill. The Dillman Award honors the team judged to have the top public relations department in the National Hockey League each season.

“It is a great honor to be recognized by my peers as well as the national media,” Hill said.

Hill received his undergraduate degree in elementary education in 1985 before entering the CPASS graduate sports management program. Shortly before graduation, he started his career with the Philadelphia 76ers, and began working for the Flyers in 1993. He has been with the team for an impressive 22 years and holds the title of senior director of public relations.

“Zack has continued the tradition of excellence that the graduate sport management program enjoys and we are very excited about his recognition by the NHL as the Leagues’ best public relations department,” said Dr. Dallas Branch, CPASS professor.

Hill describes his philosophy for success in public relations as common sense. “I believe it’s all about treating everybody with respect and a smile, not losing your cool in a crisis, and helping people out, everybody from coaches to players,” Hill added.

Under Hill’s leadership, the Flyers have been six-time finalists for the best media relations department in the league. He credits the influence of his hard-working parents as great role models. Hill also expressed gratitude for an excellent staff, which consists of Joe Siville and Brian Smith. “This award is a reflection of all three of us, not just me,” Hill said.

The Dick Dillman Award honors the memory of highly regarded public relations director Dick Dillman. This is the second Dillman Award that Hill’s department has won in the past four years.

13 Apr
Ashley Morgan

College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences student Ashley Morgan has been named a 2015 WVU Foundation Outstanding Senior in recognition of her hard work and exceptional achievements throughout her college career.

“I’m thrilled and honored to receive this honor,” said Morgan, a sport and exercise psychology major from Hilliard, Ohio.

In fall 2011, Morgan followed in the footsteps of her grandfather, father, brother, and many cousins in her decision to attend West Virginia University. She credits the “CPASS family” for her achievements.

“CPASS and my SEP contacts have been such a major part of my college career. It is where I found my first home at WVU,” Morgan said. “With the unconditional support from the faculty and staff I have been able to stay motivated to work toward my goals,” she continued.

As an undergrad, Morgan became an active member of the Student Government Association, serving as athletic councilor from 2013-14. She was successful in her efforts to help raise basketball game attendance rates and provide service for students to use their Mountaineer ID at concession stands. In 2015, she joined the M.A.D. Movement and was elected vice president.

In addition to her involvement with SGA, Morgan was selected by WVU as a finalist for the Truman Scholarship, which recognizes students with demonstrated leadership potential. Morgan has also received the Outstanding Major of the Year award from CPASS.

“The CPASS family is unlike anything I have ever experienced,” she said. “Professors believe in you to work your hardest but also help you along the way. I never expected to come to college and have the relationship that I have with the professors. I know that they will be there supporting me and I can always come to them with whatever concerns I may have,” Morgan added.

Morgan will continue her education at WVU as a master’s student after graduating this May with a degree in sport and exercise psychology.

“I have been very blessed to be part of CPASS and I am grateful for the dedication of the faculty to help me accomplish my goals,” Morgan said.

The Outstanding Seniors award was established in 1995 to signify the 40th anniversary of the WVU Foundation and recognize students for their contributions and achievements in scholarship, leadership and service. A total of 45 seniors from the graduating class of 2015 were chosen for the award.

13 Apr

The sport management master’s program celebrated leadership in the industry at the 22nd Sport Management Summit on Saturday, April 11, at the Erickson Alumni Center. Shane Lyons, director of intercollegiate athletics and associate vice president at WVU, was recognized as this year’s Distinguished Alumnus. The keynote address was delivered by Jane Kleinberger, co-founder and former CEO of Paciolan Systems.

The event gathers students in the on-campus graduate sports management program as well as alumni, faculty, CPASS administration and other guests from the industry.

“It’s our end-of-the-year event that honors the current students in the program. We want to recognize and support the students and that’s why we honor one of our own with the Distinguished Alumnus award and bring in a nationally recognized speaker,” said Dallas Branch, professor of sport management and coordinator of the on-campus master’s program.

ShaneLyons_SMSummit_Speaker2 Shane Lyons
Lyons was named WVU’s athletic director in January 2015. He has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in sport management from WVU and is a Parkersburg, W.Va., native. After completing his master’s degree in 1988, he became the assistant commissioner of the Big South Conference. He has worked for the NCAA and served as associate athletic director for compliance at Texas Tech.

In 2001, Lyons joined the Atlantic Coast Conference as the associate commissioner. He led conference-wide compliance and academics initiatives and served as the human resource manager during his 10 years with the ACC. Afterwards, Lyons joined the athletic department staff at Alabama as deputy director of athletics and chief operating officer.

Now, Lyons oversees 18 varsity sports at WVU and also holds the title of associate vice president of the University.

“This is a very humbling experience. It takes teamwork, flexibility and taking advantage of opportunities to be successful in this program. It makes me proud to come back and be welcomed by WVU and this program,” said Lyons. “Quite honestly, you wouldn’t be talking to me today as WVU’s athletic director without the master’s degree in sport management,” he added.

“He’s reached the pinnacle of college athletics and we are proud he’s reached that pinnacle here at WVU,” said Branch of his former student. “Other programs have hired master’s in sport management alumni as ADs and it’s nice to have one of our own here.”

JaneKleinberger_SMSummit_professors Jane Kleinberger
Kleinberger founded Paciolan Systems in 1980. She served in multiple capacities during her tenure, including CEO and Chairman of the Board. Kleinberger guided the company as it expanded its domain from its primary ticketing systems to include fundraising and marketing solutions. Presently, she is part of the senior management team. WVU’s athletic department uses Paciolan for ticketing and fundraising services.

“As far as I’m concerned, we are each the CEO of the job we’re doing and that job is going to affect others. Whatever job you do, you have to have that entrepreneurial spirit,” said Kleinberger.

Kleinberger said she loves coming to WVU because of the long professional relationship she and her company have with the university, which began early in her career.

“It was one of my earliest clients and as a young female, I always questioned whether or not I could succeed in college athletics as a woman. There were a number of ADs who really lifted me up, and former WVU athletic director Fred Schaus did,” Kleinberger explained.

10 Apr

Every year, the West Virginia University Foundation celebrates a special class of teacher:

The kind that nudges students toward their dreams.

The kind that groggy-eyed underclassmen have no problem waking up for at 8 a.m.

The kind that you remember and keep in touch with decades after graduating.

These professors leave a lasting impact, and are recipients of the WVU Foundation Award for Outstanding Teaching.

This year’s honorees are:
  • Joshua Arthurs, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences ;
  • Damien Clement, College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences ;
  • Melissa Morris, Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
  • Mario Perhinschi, Statler College;
  • Michael Strager, Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design ; and
  • Elaine Wilson, College of Law.

“These six professors inspire students to achieve more than they themselves ever thought they could,” said Provost Joyce McConnell. “President Gee and I often publicly assert that West Virginia University offers an exceptional education – and we’re proud to be able to point to this kind of passionate, exciting teaching as the foundation of that education.”

The WVU Foundation established the awards in 1985 as a way to celebrate faculty who’ve established patterns of distinguished teaching and exceptional innovation in teaching methods, course and curriculum design, and instructional tools. A list of previous recipients is available here.

“We congratulate this year’s recipients who truly go above and beyond in their areas of expertise,” said Cindi Roth, WVU Foundation president and CEO. “WVU is fortunate to have such high caliber faculty inspiring our students. The Foundation is pleased to be able to fund these awards annually because of the tremendous generosity of our donors.”

damian clement
Damien Clement
Clement, a CPASS associate professor, obtained his undergraduate degree in sports medicine/athletic training from the University of Charleston in 2003.

While at the University of Charleston, Clement captained the track and field team his junior and senior years. Upon graduation, he enrolled at WVU to concurrently pursue a doctoral degree in sport and exercise psychology and a master’s degree in community counseling.

He went on to earn those degrees and in August 2008, he was hired as an assistant professor at WVU to teach undergraduate sport and exercise psychology courses and graduate athletic training courses.

Clement’s research interests span both sport and exercise psychology and athletic training. More specifically, he is interested in attitudes towards sport psychology, professional issues in sport psychology and psychology of injury.

For the full story and list recipients of the WVU Foundation Award for Outstanding Teaching:

9 Apr
GregGoodwin_advisingaward In recognition of his advising service to students, Greg Goodwin has received the 2015 Nicholas Evans Professional Staff Advising Excellence Award from West Virginia University. Goodwin serves as the student services specialist in the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences where he oversees student recruitment.

The award is given to two staff members who spend at least 50 percent of their time advising undergraduates in their academic endeavors. It honors those advising personnel who best emulate the character of Nicholas Evans, who is described as a “lifelong proponent and exemplar of student advising.” Along with the award comes $1,250 for travel and other professional development expenditures.

“I was very happy, but also surprised. When I received the notice that I had won the award, it was a fantastic feeling. I knew Dr. Nick Evans and had the pleasure of working with him,” said Goodwin, who has been with CPASS since October 2013.

To be eligible for the award, a professional staff adviser must be nominated and receive recommendations from a student and two colleagues. Goodwin works with a team of advisers in the college who make sure the students are on track for academic success.

“We in CPASS have known of Greg’s commitment to students since he came here, but it is a testament to him that his efforts are being recognized by the university,” said James Hannon, CPASS assistant dean. “Our advisers are a key component to the success our students reach both academically at WVU and professionally after graduation. Greg is a dedicated staff member and our students have benefited greatly from his advising acumen.”

The award is named after Nick Evans, former director of Undergraduate Student Services and former associate dean of Undergraduate Education in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences. Evans served WVU for 40 years before retiring in 2007. The award was created to honor Evans in 2009, shortly after his death, as a living tribute of his work at WVU.

“I think what gave me the most satisfaction is knowing that I was awarded something that bears his name. He was a great man and I am proud to have this honor. I hope I can help continue his legacy of helping students,” said Goodwin.

Recipients of the award are chosen based on their desire to serve WVU students and advancing the advising profession.

“It gives me great fulfillment to share in students’ accomplishments and to help to motivate them to do their best. I just enjoy being a part of their WVU experience and making a difference in their lives,” said Goodwin. “I want to be that person at WVU whom they feel comfortable coming to regardless of the situation. Every student at WVU should have someone that they can count on to help them and I hope I am that person for CPASS students.

Goodwin and the other designees will receive the awards at a dinner on Thursday, April 9 at the Blaney House, home of WVU’s president, E. Gordon Gee.