Skip to main content

College of Physical Activity
and Sport Sciences

CPASS courtyard view


7 Oct
Zenzi Huysmans Zenzi Huysmans, sport and exercise psychology PhD student, recently received the Association for Applied Sport Psychology Student Diversity Conference Travel Grant. Huysmans, from Swaziland, a small country in South East Africa, is excited about the opportunity.

The grant provides racially and ethnically diverse students, with a developing interest in sport and exercise psychology, the chance to learn more about the field, develop professional connection within AASP, and also attend the annual conference in October.

Huysmans’ academic advisor, Dr. Damien Clement, provided a letter of recommendation. Clement is an AASP member who advocates for increased grants and other opportunities specifically designed to promote diversity in the association.

“I am aiming to return home to Swaziland to create my own youth sport program that combines sport with health behavior change initiatives such as HIV prevention,” explained Huysmans.

6 Oct
Ashley Morgan Ashley Morgan, BS Sports and Exercise Psychology 2015, wanted to put her degree to good use. Once she explored her options she discovered an interest in public administration. CPASS faculty guided Morgan through her decisions to make the next step in her career.

“After a long conversation with Dr. Zizzi, he had me thinking that there might be another program out there,” Morgan said. “This is when he introduced the public administration Master’s program to me.” After meeting with several faculty members about the program, Morgan decided this was the track for her.

Morgan ultimately landed an internship with Senator Joe Manchin III’s office in Washington D.C. to gain experience in the field. She spent two months during the summer of 2015 working on Capitol Hill.

Morgan frequently worked with the healthcare legislative team that focused on the prescription drug epidemic that the state of West Virginia is facing. She became involved with the Education Bill that passed through the senate.

“During Senator Manchin’s speech on the Senate floor he included many of the statistics that I research,” Morgan said.

Morgan appreciates the guidance she received from CPASS faculty. “The relationship with CPASS faculty helped me have the confidence to apply for an internship that seemed out of my reach,” Morgan said.

Although her internship was based on a public administration route, she used team building techniques and a variety of theories that she learned throughout her undergraduate career with CPASS.

“As an alumnus of CPASS I advise all students to take full advantage of every opportunity and take every moment for what it is,” Morgan said.

Morgan looked to Dr. Zizzi, Dr. Clement, Dr. Watson, Professor Brewster and Dr. Etzel for advice and guidance while applying for the internship as well as throughout her career goals.

“I always knew that they would support me in all that I do,” she explained. “I consider Professor Brewster to be a mentor. He has helped me through every aspect of Student Government and helped me find my voice and discover my passion.”

“I know that I would not be the person I am today without CPASS,” Morgan added. “This college changed my life and I cannot thank CPASS enough for supporting me in all that I did and still do.”

6 Oct

Matt Oelbaum remembers the lessons learned in the classroom at WVU. Not just academic knowledge, but the life lessons his teachers shared. Earlier this fall he was awarded an Emmy for his show “MLB Tonight.” He credits his professors in contributing to his accomplishments.

Oelbaum’s teacher and mentor, Dr. Floyd Jones, associate professor, sport management, motivated him and his classmates to think through their goals. Jones urged the students to develop steps and a plan to reach their ultimate objective. With this encouragement, Oelbaum set his sights on earning an Emmy.

“Dr. Jones would often challenge us to think creatively and to be overly prepared,” Oelbaum explained. He believes these are the most important lessons he learned that led to his achievement.

“Thinking outside of the box in television is important. It takes imaginative ideas to keep the show fresh,” he explained.

During his time at WVU, Oelbaum interned for the “TV home of the Mets” (SNY). He immediately knew that he wanted to work in sports broadcasting. After receiving a BS in sport management and a minor in communications, he worked briefly with a major league soccer team in Minnesota before a chance with the MLB Network opened, his dream opportunity.

As the associate producer at MLB Network, Oelbaum builds graphics regarding player stats, divisional standings and coordinates with a creative artist on show elements. “Our show MLB Tonight was awarded best studio show (daily) for the fourth time. This, however, was my first award since being hired,” he added.

29 Sep
Shane-Lyons Shane Lyons is glad to be home. After 27 years of climbing the ranks in athletic administration, he has landed at the top as the athletic director West Virginia University, the school where he earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in sport management.

The Parkersburg, W.Va., native was named WVU’s athletic director and associate vice president in January 2015. He now oversees 18 varsity sports at WVU and has been entrusted with advancing the teams’ standings in the Big 12.

“It’s good to be home. It’s something you never think is going to happen, but I’m fortunate that an opportunity presented itself to come back,” said Lyons.

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.

“One thing that hasn’t changed since leaving WVU is the passion of Mountaineer nation and how they support their teams. Coming back here as a part of the Big 12 meant a lot to means in terms of how we can grow,” explained Lyons. “We don’t want to be complacent and we want to look at this place as what it can be in the future, and that was appealing,” he added.

For all his accomplishments, Lyons was honored as the 2015 Distinguished Alumnus at the 22nd Sport Management Summit—the end of year celebration for WVU’s master’s in sport management program.

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

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 Branch, who taught Lyons as both an undergraduate and graduate student at WVU.

Lyons credits his master’s degree with his success, stating that “you wouldn’t be talking to me today as WVU’s athletic director without the master’s degree in sport management,”

“This is a very humbling experience. It takes teamwork, flexibility and taking advantage of opportunities to be successful in this industry. This past year has been overwhelming to come back and be embraced by WVU and its fans. It makes me proud to come back and be welcomed by WVU and this program,” said Lyons.
25 Sep
AT-marathon-volunteers On the last day of summer, CPASS students and faculty turned out at 5:15 a.m. to support the first Morgantown Marathon. Dave Kerns, Head Football Athletic Trainer and part time CPASS faculty member, organized volunteer water stations for the two day event, September 19 – 20.

Kerns was a last minute recruit for the series of runs, including the Inaugural Mile, 8K, Marathon and Full Marathon. He worked his “bye” weekend making sure that runners on Saturday and Sunday had fluids. He supplied cups, coolers and powdered Gatorade for the more than 1100 runners during the marathon. Kerns demonstrated to the students the importance of work ethics and patient-centered principles.

CPASS had nine graduate students, four seniors, nine juniors, eight rookies, and 16 prospective students working to refill and passing out water cups and encouraging the runners on the morning of the marathon.

Students and faculty also helped at the medical tents and ran five of the 14 water stations. Not only did the students help hydrate the runners they also worked with those who had gluten allergies by providing cider to boost their energy. Congratulations to the volunteers for their hard and for representing themselves and CPASS incredibly well.

14 Sep
branch_profile What makes a good sports city? What makes a good sports fan? How do sports teams reflect the cities/states they call home? CPASS Sport Management Associate Professor Dallas Branch was featured in a recent study examining 2015’s best and worst cities for sports fans. Branch provided insight on sports culture, including the effect of fantasy sports and improvements in in-home viewing and the community nature of fandom.

To find the best and worst cities for sports fans, WalletHub, a personal finance resource company, studied results from previous rankings of cities in various reports studying football, basketball, baseball, hockey and soccer. The sample included 341 U.S. cities, categorized from small to large according to population sizes.

Read full story here.

14 Sep

New PETE faculty member returns to alma mater

Jessica | September 14th, 2015
Byron Towner Welcome Byron Towner, WVU alum and West Virginia native, who serves as a clinical instructor in Coaching and Teaching Studies specializing in instructive content knowledge. After earning his Master of Science degree in physical education teacher education from WVU in 2007, Towner worked as a physical education teacher and basketball and football coach in Horry County, South Carolina for the last eight years.

Excited to return to his alma mater, Towner will lead current PETE students as they learn to properly and effectively teach sport skills. He hopes to bridge the gap between him and his students by incorporating his past experiences into the curriculum. His goal is to successfully teach his students while working toward his doctorate degree.

10 Sep

ACE graduate lands a coaching job far from home

Cierra | September 10th, 2015
IMG_0207 Practical experience learned as the head coach of WVU club baseball, along with advice from faculty mentors, has helped an athletic coaching education graduate land a job in North Dakota. Jeff Pierce graduated this May with an emphasis in strength conditioning.

In early August 2015 he received a call from Williston State in Williston, ND to become the new assistant baseball coach and strength conditioning coordinator in the athletic department.

“I have family and friends who have been very supportive over my life and I received nothing but positive encouragement with getting this position in North Dakota so far from home (Syracuse, NY),” Pierce explained.

Pierce spent his summers as a pitching coach for the New York college baseball league with the Syracuse Jr. Chiefs. The combined experience Pierce received with the WVU club baseball team, Syracuse Jr. Chiefs and guidance from CPASS faculty, helped prepare him for this next step in his coaching career.

“All of the CPASS faculty helped me out over my four years at WVU,” he said.

Whether it was in the classroom or in his career choice, the faculty gave Pierce advice that he would carry with him throughout his life. Clayton Kuklick, CPASS teaching assistant professor, had a major impact on Pierce.

“If I were to pick one mentor, it would be Dr. Kuklick. He had a background in the same fields I was looking to get in to and he helped me become a better coach. Whether it was talking about different coaching styles, how certain situations could be approached or breaking down different elements of the sport, he helped me get to the next level with coaching,” Pierce said.

“I’m proud of Jeff’s development as a coach and couldn’t be happier for him. I wish him all the best in his new position,” said Kuklick.

According to Pierce, the ACE program did not “spoon feed” their students. Faculty members encouraged students to think on their own and not rely on others to solve problems for them.

“The best part about the ACE program is that it made you think,” Pierce said. “Each class made you do assignments where you had to problem solve and figure things out on your own.”

Pierce knew it would take hard work and dedication to get where he is today. With the help of his family, friends, the Syracuse Jr. Chiefs, WVU and the ACE program he has finally landed a position for which he has worked so hard.

“For students at WVU, you need to know that this profession is not just going to class; you have to work at it everyday to get better,” Pierce added.

9 Sep

Research presentations

Jessica | September 9th, 2015
Thorpe The College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences Office of Research is hosting a fall 2015 speaker series to highlight research-related resources and advice for faculty and graduate assistants.

In the first of two presentations, Joy Edwards, Conflict of Interest in Research officer with the West Virginia University Office of Research Integrity and Compliance, will speak about research compliance and faculty responsibility, October 9, 3 p.m. in room 102, CPASS building.

The second presentation will highlight NIH K-Awards and tips for success and feature Deborah Thorpe, associate professor at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, November 13, 2 p.m. in room G06 in the CPASS building.

The WVU Office of Research Integrity and Compliance office fosters a culture of integrity and compliance with the University directed at ensuring that participants in the WVU research enterprise internalize and pursue the goal of self-directed responsible conduct of research. The Office of Conflict of Interest encourages faculty, students and staff to participate in research with the highest ethical standards and has created guidelines that serve to educate the WVU community that highlight Federal and institutional requirements concerning conflict of interest in research.

Thorpe earned her BS in Elementary Education from WVU in 1979, her MS in Early Childhood Motor Development and Motor Learning from WVU in 1983, and her PhD in Pediatric Physical Therapy from the Medical College of Pennsylvania and Hahnemann University in 1998. She is an advocate for use of aquatic therapy for persons with developmental disabilities and currently has three funded research studies.

Both presentations are free and open to the University community. For more information contact James Hannon, assistant dean, CPASS, or 304-293-0850.

8 Sep
template-Home-Slider_DiversityCup The College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, in partnership with the Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and the Brazilian Student Association at WVU, will celebrate the spirit of sport, friendship and inclusiveness during Diversity Week 2015 by sponsoring the Diversity Cup – Five vs. Five Coed Soccer Tournament.

This tournament will take place on Sunday, September 27 and Monday, September 28 on the recreational grass fields located in front of the CPASS building and Towers on the Evansdale Campus. Registration is free and open to all WVU undergraduate and graduate students. Click here to register

Tournament Highlights:

  • The Diversity Cup is a double elimination tournament.
  • Only 16 teams will participate in the Cup.
  • Registration is available on a first come, first serve basis ending on Sunday September 20 at midnight, or when the first 16 teams are
  • The team captain is responsible for completing the registration form.
  • There is a maximum roster size of 8 players and teams play 5 v 5
  • A minimum of ONE player on the field at all times for each team must be from the opposite gender (e.g. 1 female and 4 males or 4 females
    and 1 male).
  • Each team must create its own name.
  • Tentative play schedule time: Sunday, September 27, 4 – 10 p.m.; Monday, September 28, 6 – 9 p.m.
  • In the event of adverse weather the tournament will be played single elimination on Monday, September 28 or Tuesday. September 29.

To access the complete Diversity Cup tournament rules click here, or contact Zachery Vaji, CPASS sport management program,