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College of Physical Activity
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CPASS eNews

23 May

College hosts second annual research day

Kimberly | May 23rd, 2014

WVU College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences hosted its second annual student and faculty research day on April 24 at the Coliseum, lower level. The event involved input from students, faculty members and the College’s Visiting Committee members who were on campus for their spring meeting. CPASS students and faculty members displayed research that they have presented at state, national and international conferences during the academic year to allow them to share projects with colleagues and guests.
Research Day

23 May

WVU CPASS celebrates 2014 commencement

Kimberly | May 23rd, 2014
2014 Commencement

West Virginia University hosted a series of individual, personalized ceremonies for each school and college at a variety of venues on the Evansdale Campus and around Morgantown, including the WVU Coliseum, Creative Arts Center and Morgantown Event Center from May 9-11.

The WVU College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences held its 2014 May Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 11, at 2:30 p.m. at the CAC. This year’s keynote speaker featured Gale Catlett, former WVU Men’s head basketball coach and CPASS Hall of Fame member.

Catlett is married to the former Anise Vandervort, a Morgantown native and former WVU cheerleader who earned a Master’s degree from the WVU School of Physical Education. They have two daughters: Krista (married to Ed Neumann) and Kara (married to Thomas Brown). When in West Virginia, Catlett and his wife are usually at their home in Morgantown or on the farm in his hometown of Hedgesville. In winter, they enjoy Florida and Hawaii’s warmer temperatures.

Catlett was inducted into the CPASS Hall of Fame in 1992 and was recognized as the CPASS Outstanding Alumnus in 1999. Catlett served as honorary chair in celebration of the College’s 75th Anniversary while serving as moderator for the keynote event, the Sports Legends symposium. The sports legends panel featured Catlett, Jerry West, Rod Hundley, Rod Thorn, Sam Huff, Chuck Howley and Kristin Quackenbush-DiBartolomeo.

18 Mar
A Morgan award Ashley Morgan, a sports and exercise psychology junior, is one of four students at WVU who has been selected as a candidate for the Truman Scholars Program.

Morgan credits the SEP faculty for their support and mentoring over the years. “I have finally found what I am passionate about,” Morgan stated. “I want to help children stay healthy and live healthy lifestyles.” She specifically mentioned three of her professors who have contributed the most to her academic experience, Dr. Clement, Dr. Watson and Dr. Zizzi.

The scholarship provides $30,000 toward a graduate education. “I would be granted many opportunities throughout my life from this award and have my choice of graduate school programs,” Morgan explained.

Morgan is in the process of applying at the national level. By early May, the Harry S. Truman Foundation will announce the 2014 scholar. Approximately 50-70 students in the nation will be selected.

The Truman Scholarship was created in 1975 as a living memorial to the thirty-third President. The scholarship program supports the graduate education and professional development of youth committed to public service leadership.

“Throughout my education at WVU, I have never once thought I was in the wrong place,” Morgan said.

Article by Drew Allen
11 Dec

Coach Matt O’Neil, ACE May 2013 graduate, has grown his career in the last six months as the coach of multiple competitive and high school swimming teams in the Cleveland area. O’Neil credits his success to the inspiring lessons the professors at CPASS provided him while earning his degree.

After graduation O’Neil was offered a position as the head swim coach at a country club where he coached 80 kids during multiple practices per day.

“I was using my knowledge that I learned in school to have them as well prepared for the end of the season as possible,” O’Neil states.

Although the swimmers worked hard O’Neil’s first season as coach did not go as planned, with the team earning a 3-5 record. Going up against teams that had double the number of swimmers, O’Neil’s determined team rounded out the season with a third place finish at the championship meet. This was a significant accomplishment since in previous years the team was unable to finish better than sixth place.

Following his position with the country club O’Neil started working as the diving coach for three high schools, as well as helping his old coach with 14 other high schools in the area.

“I am so excited that I finally have my own divers to mold, hopefully into college athletes,” says O’Neil.

O’Neil is making the most out of his ACE degree to establish a career based on the incredible education the professors provided to him.

“I have taken much of what we discussed in Dr. Dieffenbach’s training theories class to give the kids the best opportunity to improve, mainly focusing on balance and coordination. I am straying away from doing what they’ve always done and going toward what should make them the best according to theory,” explains O’Neil.

O’Neil is using the ACE program to reach his goal of eventually becoming a Division I coach. He gives credit to Drs. Ziatz, Flett, Dieffenbach and others for guiding him in how to be successful in his career.

“Every single day both at my job and while I’m coaching I constantly use what I was taught by Dr. Ziatz. My kids now know that attitude is the most important thing to bring to practice and that ‘teamwork makes the dream work’ even in such an individual sport,” O’Neil adds.

Article by Cassandra LoPiccolo
10 Dec
Leigh A Bryant_Digital Photo Leigh Alison Bryant, sport and exercise psychology graduate student, was recently elected as the student representative for the Association for Applied Sport Psychology.

The AASP, founded in 1986, is an organization that promotes the ethical practice and development of science in the field of sports psychology. Bryant assumed the position at the organization’s recent annual conference in New Orleans.

Bryant’s primary responsibilities include promoting AASP at the student level. “This opportunity has allowed me to serve in a more direct, authoritative role after contributing to various student initiatives and committees,” explains Bryant.

The student representative position has opened numerous doors for her, allowing her to communicate with professionals and other AASP student members. Bryant’s new networking opportunities include practitioners who work with athletes and the Army and psychologists who are registered under the U.S. Olympic Committee Sport Psychology Registry.

According to Bryant, being at WVU has helped her prepare for this position. She sought advice from several SEP faculty members, including Dr. Clement and Dr. Watson, before accepting the position. The faculty helped her estimate how much time and energy her new role would require and what she could possibly gain from the experience.

Based on the faculty mentorship and guidance she felt she was making the right decision on accepting the assignment. Bryant knew when she applied WVU that the SEP program and University would support conference attendance and professional development.

Bryant is grateful for the chance to attend the conference with other SEP graduate students and faculty.

“This opportunity will challenge me to learn more about myself as a leader, colleague and member of the organization. I hope to provide clarity to my peers about the profession’s marketability and training through the efforts of the executive board,” she adds.
Article by Tyler Le
10 Dec

Landon Johnson, a sports management major, has spent the 2013 fall semester interning at University of Maryland under the Deputy Athletic Director and Chief Operating Officer Kelly Mehrtens. Mehrtens has been working for twenty-three years in the athletics administration. She also serves as the chief liaison to the President’s Office, Vice-President for Administration, Controller’s Office and Legal Affairs. Working with Mehrtens has made this experience rewarding for Johnson, who recently began the sports management program.

“On a daily basis I attend internal operation and leadership meetings, assist with the student-athlete advisory committee’s leadership development program and research different information pertaining to the ACC and The Big 10.”

Johnson feels that the CPASS sports management program has helped him to gain a stronger understanding of what goes on behind the scenes in sports. Johnson credits the program’s emphasis on the value of time and research. He has carried this knowledge over into his internship.

“Sports management at WVU allows me to educate myself while getting experience in the field.”

Article by Drew Allen
10 Dec

CPASS's Mountaineer Idol

Drew | December 10th, 2013
LINK Scott Link, current CPASS Sport and Exercise Psychology student, has been competing in Mountaineer Idol for the last three years. In 2011 Link placed 6th place over all, then in 2012 finished 2nd in the competition following Paris Winfrey.
Redemption was a key initiative for competing again in 2012 after his upsetting early exit from the competition in 2011.

“I am naturally a competitive person and want to bring my best to each round of the competition and therefore put a lot of time into it,” said Link. “I wanted to do it again because I had a great experience the first time but went home a lot earlier than I would have liked. I knew that I could have done better and therefore wanted to try again.”

While competing in Mountaineer Idol these last three years, Link works hard to balance his academics with the competition. “I love putting in the extra effort for the competition. Plus, performing is something I love to do and often want to practice more than study!” said Link.

“The information about sport psych closely coincides with ways to improve my performance in idol as well. Therefore the usefulness of the program [Sport and Exercise Psychology] has helped me in the competition as well.”

“I was originally coming here to study athletic training, but I remember Dr. Watson speaking at my orientation and the SEP program was much better suited for me. I have always been someone who tried to push and motivate others to do their best in all situations, so this field seemed perfect for me.”

Useful is one key word Link uses to describe his education at CPASS. “It’s amazing to me that the SEP program is teaching me things that are so relevant in life rather than just sport and exercise settings.”

This year during Mountaineer Week, Link was eliminated after his top 5 performance during 80’s Night of Mountaineer Idol. The 2013 winner of Mountaineer Idol was crowned Skip Smith on the first of November.

Article by Cassandra LoPiccolo
5 Nov
1382039215_story Army veteran John Housby is the first West Virginia University student to receive the Esther L. Crane Endowed Scholarship for student veterans. Housby was awarded a $1,000 scholarship that will help support his final year at WVU as a CPASS athletic training student.

The Esther L. Crane Endowed Scholarship is funded by Robert Crane and his wife, Sharon, who established the scholarship in his mother’s name to help support West Virginia’s student veterans. Robert Crane’s inspiration for creating the scholarship was the continuous support his mother provided him with his transition from the military and continuing his education. After nine years of serving in the Army and Army Reserve, Crane earned his bachelor’s and master of business administration degrees.


With more than 800 student veterans and their dependents attending WVU, the scholarship is highly competitive. While the G.I Bill provides financial support for three years, the Esther L. Crane Endowed Scholarship will help Housby fund the remainder of his education at WVU.

Article by Cassandra LoPiccolo
5 Nov
Tyson Thompson Tyson Thompson, sport management MS 2010 graduate, was honored by a national tennis magazine for his contributions to the United States Tennis Association. Thompson is the USTA community program and training coordinator in North Carolina.

Racquet Sports Industry magazine recently released their annual “30 Under Thirty” list recognizing members in the tennis community who are helping the industry grow.


“To be included on the list of “30 under 30” is very humbling. It’s something I look forward to building off of to help continue growing our sport moving forward,” Thompson stated.

“The personnel I work with on a daily basis provide me with opportunities and have just as much passion and interest in tennis that I do. This is very much a team recognition in my eyes but something I am very honored to receive,” he added.

Thompson coordinates and expands the USTA and the National Junior Tennis and Learning programs statewide. He will promote the QuickStart Tennis system in after-school and camp programs, along with local parks and recreation departments.

QuickStart Tennis was introduced by the USTA in 2008 as an innovative play format to encourage children up to 10 years-old to play tennis. The USTA calls the format one of the “most significant moves ever to introduce tennis to youth.”

Tyson plans to work with community tennis associations and their local volunteers to coordinate and maintain tennis programs and services.

Article by Drew Allen
1 Nov
1378410366_lg Melissa Baus arrived at West Virginia University as a freshman with a few ideas, but no concrete plan for college.

“I was not quite sure what I wanted my major to be,” Baus said, “I knew I was very sports orientated and liked the field of teaching so I decided to enter into the PETE program.”


Baus fell in love with the faculty and curriculum. She credits the professor’s emphasize on the importance of physical education and how relatable their messages are to students. Students in the Physical Education Teaching Education program learn a great deal of information on adaptive physical education. Baus says she currently applies this knowledge obtained in her undergrad and master’s courses in her daily teaching.

“I have also learned many great ideas and techniques to teach different sports like volleyball, basketball and soccer that help to reach all learners and their abilities.” Baus said.

Baus believes that the PETE program at WVU is one that’s unique and completely prepares students in all aspects. WVU’s exceptional PETE program throws students right into action.

“The second you get accepted into the program you are instantly immersed into teaching.” Baus said.

In similar programs at other colleges and universities, students aren’t exposed to the hands-on experience as a student teacher until their senior year.

“This was important to me for two main reasons,” Baus explained, “It helped me decide that I did indeed love teaching and it also helped me start growing and getting better at teaching right away.”

“The WVU PETE program makes sure to involve us into all aspects of teaching from content knowledge to professional development so that when you complete the program you are immediately ready to get out into the real world and will have no surprises,” she added.

Baus is now pursing her masters in physical education and health promotion. Currently, she works as a second and third grade physical education teacher at Mylan Park Elementary School. Baus is also a certified personal trainer for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, American Red Cross Certified in CPR and First Aid and is an American Red Cross Water Safety Instructor in the Morgantown area.

Article by Jessica Holterhoff