Coaching and Sport Education (ACE)

The on-campus Coaching and Sport Education Master of Science curriculum is designed to provide students with critical thinking and decision making skills. The curriculum focuses on the sport science, interpersonal and intrapersonal knowledge necessary to excel in high performance sports. Students will experience hands on training through applied science, sport movement analysis software, strength and conditioning coursework, internship experiences and more. The program utilizes the International Council for Sport Coaching Excellence’s International Sport Coaching Framework and professional development guidelines from coaching education and coach development industry leaders.

This program allows students to pursue a sport performance non-thesis track or a science of coaching thesis track. Both options provide students with a strong foundation across the interpersonal, intrapersonal and sport science knowledge areas key to athletic coaching success.

What our alumni have to say:

  • Portrait of Andre

    "CPASS helped me develop as a coach by using a holistic approach through studying all four pillars of coaching: psychology, technique, tactic and fitness. CPASS also gave me the opportunity to apply what we were studying in the classes I taught and within the internship I had with Mountaineer United Soccer Club."

    André S.

    M.S. ACE, 2016
  • taylor schram

    "As a student of the ACE program it has helped prepare me for this position by helping me understand the multiple ‘hats’ that a coach must wear within the college game. I was exposed to administrative responsibilities and on-field responsibilities"

    Taylor S.

    M.S. ACE, 2016
  • Jay Kuntz

    "The experiences and life stories that CPASS faculty shared helped me relate to the material taught in the classroom and apply it in my professional career"

    Jay K.

    M.S. ACE, 2014

What you'll study

Two available tracks

Performance Coaching

Track 1 (Performance Coaching) is designed for individuals who will be coaching at the collegiate or elite levels. Courses emphasize applied coaching science for improving athletic performance.

Science of Coaching

Tracks 2 and 3 (Science of Coaching) are designed for the individual who are interested in coaching education and the preparation of coaches. The only difference between track 2 and 3 is the depth of research study. Tracks 2 and 3 are ideal for the student who want to be exposed to conducting research or who may want to pursue a doctorate degree. 

Program faculty

Who you'll learn from

  • Guy Hornsby

    Guy Hornsby

    Professional Highlights

    • Professional experience as a strength and conditioning coach at the D-1 Collegiate level and within U.S. Special Operations
    • Head coach of West Virginia Weightlifting, a USAW registered club and WVU sport club
    • Coordinates Monongalia County High School strength and conditioning graduate assistant program
    • Involved in sport science/athlete monitoring efforts through collaboration with WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute
    • Oversees ACE strength and conditioning minor
  • Kristen Dieffenbach

    Kristen Dieffenbach

    Professional Highlights

    • United States Center for Coaching Excellence (USCCE) - President
    • International Council for Coaching Excellence (ICCE) - Research Committee
    • Research emphasis on coach development, professionalization of coaching and moral reasoning in coaching
    • Written and managed grants and contracts with USOC, USA Cycling, USA Hockey, USADA and other sport organizations
    • More than 20 years professional coaching experience with athletes from youth through Olympic level, specializing in long term athlete development
  • Valerie Wayda

    Valerie Wayda

    Professional Highlights

    • National Association for Kinesiology in Higher Education Distinguished Service Award (2015)
    • Fellow, North American Society (NAS) of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport and Dance Professionals
    • Vice-President, National Association for Kinesiology and Physical Education in Higher Education (2011-2012)
  • Portrait of Jeremy Yeats

    Jeremy Yeats

    Professional Highlights

    • Six years of experience as an assistant professor
    • Two years of experience as a graduate coordinator for an online M.A. program
    • Several active lines of inquiry
Beyond The Classroom

Field Experiences and Research

Gain hands on experience

Students in the performance coaching track complete a full semester coaching internship with a sports team of their interest. These internships have varied from coaching community teams to area high schools or collegiate teams. 

Engage in opportunities

Students are encouraged to engage in opportunities outside the classroom through the Center for Applied Coaching and Sport Sciences. Interested students are encouraged to contact  Dr. Dieffenbach  to find out more about the Center’s current projects.

Career Preparation

After Graduation

Commonly sought research focuses among alumni

  • Kinesiology
  • Exercise science
  • Strength training
  • Coaching education

Example employers and job titles of graduates

  • Chason Perry CSCS, Strength and Conditioning coach  with the United States Air Force Ft Benning GA
  • Joshua Seese, Potomac State Lacrosse coach, Keyser, WV
  • Shelly Ann Gallimore, WVU Women’s track and field coach, Morgantown, WV
  • Katie L. Horvath, Assistant Strength Coach
How To Apply

The Admission Process

How to apply

Applications must be submitted online to WVU Graduate Admissions along with your official undergraduate transcripts. Apply online at the WVU Graduate Admissions website. Incomplete applications (those without all required materials and documentation) will not be accepted.

Prerequisites and requirements

Prospective students for the ACE on campus master’s degree should submit the following items with the online application:

  • Minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75 (4-point scale)
  • Sport resume including coaching background, sport participation, sport-related awards, and employment and/or experience (e.g., athletic administration, officiating, volunteering)
  • Professional goal statement: 1-2 written pages on professional goals and reasons for seeking admission
  • Two letters of recommendation that provide evidence of academic strengths and potential
  • No GRE scores required

Applicants whose first language is not English must provide proof of English language proficiency. WVU accepts either the TOEFL or the IELTS for this purpose. Learn more about our English language proficiency requirements.

The previously listed materials are submitted online as part of the WVU Graduate Admission Application. Applicants must submit their official copies of transcripts and test scores directly to the WVU Office of Admissions, PO Box 6009, Morgantown, WV 26506.

All graduate students must achieve and maintain a 3.0 GPA or better (4-point scale) prior to graduation.

Additional program admission information

Admission application form deadline: December 15 for early admission, accepting admissions on a rolling basis after that date pending available space.

There will be a maximum of 20 students admitted per year. Admission is limited to Fall start only.

Your complete application must be submitted online to the WVU Admissions and Records Office along with your official undergraduate transcripts. It may take several weeks to process your application, so you should submit your online application at least three (3) weeks (international students, three months) before February 1 to allow allow your application to be processed before the deadline. Apply online at the  WVU Admissions & Records website.

Please note that it is the applicant’s responsibility to make sure all materials (including letters of recommendation) are submitted online to the WVU Admissions and Records Office to be processed.

Learn more

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Reach out

Lindsay Augstine Portrait
Lindsay Augustine
Student Services Specialist
Kristen Dieffenbach
Kristen Dieffenbach
Associate Professor