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College of Physical Activity
and Sport Sciences

CPASS courtyard view


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 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 satisfaction 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.

8 Apr

They’ll keep moving for another year in McDowell County as McDowell CHOICES, an initiative of the West Virginia University College of Physical Activity and Sports Sciences, has received a one-year continuation grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The USDA continuation grant will allow McDowell CHOICES – coordinated health opportunities involving communities, environments and schools – to continue offering expanded access to physical activity to McDowell County students and their families, primarily by offering more after school physical activity programs. The program was created with a $204,000 grant from the Highmark Foundation.

Listen to the radio segment on McDowell CHOICES

“We’ve observed a number of exciting modifications to the school environment that have increased student and family access to quality physical activity opportunities before, during and after school,” said CPASS Associate Professor Sean Bulger. “Our overarching goal is to facilitate the accumulation of at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity in and around the regular school day.”

In its first grant cycle, McDowell CHOICES’ key successes include establishing a network of local physical activity instructors and investing in educators to receive physical activity certifications, providing significant physical activity equipment enhancements at all McDowell County schools, and assisting schools in developing comprehensive school physical activity plans.
“Decisions on equipment enhancements were made as much as possible at the individual school level,” said Eloise Elliott, WVU Ware Distinguished Professor. “The archery programs at four McDowell County schools are a great example of how McDowell CHOICES has responded to the demand for archery skills in an area that is populated with bow hunters.

“We’ve also introduced totally new and fun physical activities, such as tchoukball, a sport from Sweden. Many schools are using active gaming systems. This winter we are enhancing McDowell schools with new FitnessGram software, which enables schools, students and parents to track fitness levels over time,” Elliott added.

McDowell County schools are also becoming a leader in the state for physical activity promotion by having full participation in Let’s Move! Active Schools, a national initiative and part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative. West Virginia is the first state in the nation to have at least one school in every school district participating in Let’s Move! Active Schools.

The organization hopes to keep the momentum moving forward. McDowell CHOICES continues through September 2015, and will focus on positive outcomes related to healthy lifestyles through improved physical activity opportunities for McDowell County youth.

7 Apr

Three incoming sport and exercise psychology doctoral students in the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences were recently announced as recipients of prestigious awards for the upcoming school year. Robert Hilliard and William Way were both awarded Swiger Fellowships, while Spencer Ingels received a three year Provost Fellowship.

“This is great news for the program. Seeing as only four students were accepted, and the other student is international and not eligible for these awards, the students did great,” said Dr. Jack Watson, CPASS professor.

Selection for both the Swiger Fellowship and Provost Fellowship is competitive and based on academic merit. The fellowships provide students with a tuition waiver as well as a stipend to help with living expenses. Watson explained that these benefits will help the students in dedicating more time to their studies.

“These very prestigious awards really set the students up for success with regard to their professional development,” Watson added.

Robert Hilliard “I am incredibly honored and feel very blessed to have received this fellowship. I’m excited that I can dedicate most of my time to learning, teaching and research,” said Hilliard, who will be coming to WVU from Ball State University in Indiana.

Watson cites a large number of high quality applicants for the upcoming year, making the selection process “extremely difficult.”

“We are very excited about the quality of the students that we have admitted to the Ph.D. program in Sport and Exercise Psychology,” said Watson. “The quality of the applicants was certainly supported by the evaluations of others from within WVU when decisions were made to award very prestigious incoming fellowship positions to three of the four incoming students.”

Watson also expressed gratitude to the faculty and staff in the Office of Graduate Education and Life for making these awards available to students. He believes these fellowships are a contributing factor in the recruitment of high quality students to WVU.

“I’m looking forward to representing West Virginia University well and I can’t wait to see what opportunities I will have to give back to WVU and the greater Morgantown community,” said Hilliard.

2 Apr

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, 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.

The results of the “Name the Team” contest were overwhelming, especially considering the short time frame. CPASS students had only a month and a half to generate exposure for the team and contest. 2,500 suggestions were entered, and 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 were extremely hands-on in the naming process and received valuable experience in radio and newspaper coverage. They also gained the opportunity to speak with coaches and county commissioners.

“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 an incredibly 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 are now on sale as well as merchandise. CPASS students will be interning 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
25 Mar

The WVU Sport and Exercise Psychology program will host Dr. Mitch Abrams, Friday, April 3, 2015, 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. in the CPASS building, room 103. As an expert in effective anger management practices in athletes, Dr. Abrams’ presentation will focus on problems with anger management in sport along with the belief that anger is a problem and it must be eradicated in order to be successful. Abrams believes that the work starts with normalizing anger, teaching one to own it, and then learning how to adjust the intensity of it to the level that would be most helpful for the task at hand, whether in sport or in other aspects of one’s life.

Abrams recognizes that many people have different degrees of anger problems and it manifests itself accordingly. His approach for anger management training works best with individuals who have skills deficits and are motivated to become more empowered and effective in their lives. According to Abrams, anger management is about both performance enhancement and transgression reduction.

The free workshop will begin by providing a vocabulary and overview of interventions, then cover the skills needed to reduce reactive aggression, which is fueled by high levels of anger and interfere with performance. This will include an overview of relaxation exercises, cognitive restructuring, and communication skills. Finally, moral development and prediction of consequences will be addressed, before wrapping up with evaluation and modification of procedures and a final open discussion. For more information, please contact Michael Berrebi,

19 Mar

CPASS students among winning SGA party

Hannah | March 19th, 2015
MAD movement

On March 5, the results of the 2015 West Virginia University Student Government Association elections were officially announced. The election was a clean sweep, with all 19 winners belonging to the Make a Difference (MAD) Movement. Four College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences students with unique platforms for WVU are among the newly elected MAD Movement.

Ashley Morgan, a senior sport and exercise psychology major, was elected as vice president. Having served two terms as athletic councilor, Morgan has a vision for WVU at the student, local, state, and Big 12 level. Creating a student summit is a top priority for Morgan, who believes it is vital for “the voices of student leaders across campus to be heard no matter what their major, club, or organization.”

Expanding on this goal, Morgan is focused on getting an ex-officio student member on the Morgantown City Council, appointed annually to a one-year term by SGA, as a student voice. She hopes to continue community service and outreach to local areas and working with extension offices across the state to give back to West Virginia.

“We want to showcase the true pride and spirit of Mountaineers,” Morgan said. “We want to make sure the world knows what it means to be a Mountaineer and get rid of the negative attention we often times receive.”

Matt Ferrara shares Morgan’s goal of changing perceptions of WVU. A junior sports management student, he has many plans for his new role as athletic councilor. His main objective is to change the way WVU students behave after winning games through different sports traditions. Ferrara has already taken steps to accomplish his goal of respecting and taking care of our school.

“I’ve created a new tradition I would like to implement this upcoming fall football season called the fifth quarter,” Ferrara explained. “I want to provide students with a safer alternative than rioting. I also want to work on showing students the true traditions of WVU sports.”

Sommers Taylor, a sophomore sports and exercise psychology major, has plans of her own as the other newly elected athletic councilor. Taylor’s platform centers on athletic transportation and support. Her goal is to obtain transportation to the new baseball field at University Town Centre and further extend this transportation to other sporting events as well. Taylor’s platform focuses on gaining support for women’s teams, which includes increasing low attendance rates. Taylor’s “focus on women’s teams” will make her an advocate for female athletes at WVU.

Amanda Hutchison, a junior sport and exercise psychology major, is already an experienced student advocate at WVU. She is one of the 15 students elected to serve on the Board of Governors. Hutchison’s previous accomplishments include the creating the director of accessibility position within the SGA, which focuses on advocating for accessibility issues affecting students with disabilities. She also convinced the athletic department to build ADA-approved seating in the football stadium for the 2016 season.

This year, Hutchison is striving for a medical amnesty policy that would help students who need a break from school due to an illness, death in the family, or mental health issue. Hutchison believes students deserve other options than simply withdrawing from the semester or university.

Morgan, Ferrara, Taylor, and Hutchison will assume their SGA positions at an inauguration in April.

19 Mar
IMG_0361 (1)

After six months of hard work, West Virginia University graduate sports management students were rewarded with a trip to New York to present their research findings. Eleven students in the Sports Marketing Research Methods/Sports Poll class, taught by Dallas Branch, associate professor of sport management at WVU, showcased their work in a presentation for Kantar Media on March 2.

The presentation was a success, with Sports Business Journal deeming the findings from CPASS students worthy of publication in the upcoming edition.
The project was an opportunity for students to work in conjunction with the advertising and sponsorship company Kantar Media. The students were given access to data from Kantar regarding the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship tournament, including media value for sponsors in the tournament as well as college basketball sponsorship awareness and product usage among sponsors.

Students utilized the data to make their own predictions for the 2015 tournament. Hannah Martin, Scott Fletcher, Alyssa Leonard, and Kristen Furlong were the students who presented.

“Having access to the data we did is something not many people get to do, and I think I speak for the class when I say it was one of the most interesting projects we’ve ever worked on,” said Martin. “The project helped to open our eyes to a new side of sport management.”

The trip kicked off with an NBA game at Madison Garden Square, which Branch described as “a real treat for many who had never been.” The students watched the New York Knicks play the Toronto Raptors and even enjoyed a private pregame tour. Sunday was free time for the students to explore the “Big Apple” as they split into groups to experience attractions such as Central Park and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

“Our trip to New York City was a great way to cap off the project, highlighted by some fun before we actually presented our findings to the company,” said Leonard.

Monday consisted of an hour-long presentation to the senior management and staff of Kantar Media, while Sports Business Journal, headquartered in Charlotte, listened via a teleconference call. The students’ data analysis work was found useful for editorial purposes, and will be printed in the journal in upcoming weeks.

For Fletcher, the project was a valuable learning experience on “analyzing large amounts of data, condensing our findings, and focusing on achieving objectives all into an hour presentation.”

Tracey Schoenadel, the vice president for Sport and Sponsorship Solutions at Kantar Media, is a CPASS alumna, who worked with the students all semester to develop the project.

“The students were fantastic and the quality of education and training showed,” Schoendal said. “As an alum of the program, it made me very proud,” she added.

Brandon McClung, another WVU alumnus, works with Sports Business Journal and was present for the teleconference. He said the presentation brought back memories of his own graduate ESPN Poll Sports project and that the students “did a great job.”

Fletcher explained that having WVU graduates who work for Kantar at the presentations helped the students comfort levels.

“Their hospitality and generosity made us feel at home in an unfamiliar place, and was a great example of Mountaineers taking care of their own,” Fletcher explained.

“It was a great experience to go and present our work professionally in New York and get a glimpse of what it takes to make a project of that magnitude cohesively come together,” Martin said.