Coaching and Sport Education (ACE)

The Master of Science in Coaching and Sport Education program is designed for professional learners interested in further developing their technical skills and enriching their capacity to support athletes in high-performance settings. The program is the ideal fit for those looking to better understand the demands of sport coaching and the factors that influence peak athlete performance in individual and team sports. 

The curriculum incorporates a unique balance of theoretical and applied courses that are designed to meet the needs of coaches in today’s dynamic sport industry. Delivered on-campus, this 36-credit hour program provides access to hands-on learning experiences in a variety of world-class facilities including classrooms, research labs, sport training complexes, and athletic stadiums/arenas. 

The MS in Coaching and Sport Education program allows students to personalize their program to achieve desired career outcomes with areas of emphasis in Leadership, Sport Science and Technology, and Sport Management. 

The MS in Coaching and Sport Education at WVU was ranked #3 Best Master’s Degree in Coaching according to

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

The primary goal of the Coaching and Sport Education program is for students to graduate with the essential skills and knowledge necessary to work with athletes in a variety of contexts across their lifetime.

The curriculum builds upon a multi-dimensional framework that outlines the fundamental competencies that sport coaches must master to facilitate the long-term development of their athletes and teams. These competencies address the pedagogy of sport coaching, reflection and critical thinking, professionalism and ethics, and use of technology.

In addition to an academic core that includes courses in training theory, motor behavior and sport psychology, movement analysis, coaching administration, healthy competitive environments, and strength/conditioning, you will select an area of emphasis.

Areas of Emphasis


The area of emphasis is an ideal choice if you have an interest in coach development and education. This specialization highlights emerging issues in organizational leadership. The related course content addresses leadership theory, advanced problems, and workplace application.

Sport Science and Technology

For those students looking to work in the growing field of sport science and technology, this area of emphasis is the perfect fit. It affords you the option to select from a range of elective courses in strength and conditioning, sport technology, and sport science data collection and analysis.

Sport Management

If you are looking to further diversify your career options to include possible pathways in sport administration or management, consider this area of emphasis. It seeks to prepare coaching professionals to assume a broader range of management responsibilities in sport organizations by incorporating coursework in marketing, finance, fundraising, publicity, and governance.

Program faculty

Who you'll learn from

  • Image of Guy Hornsby in front of WV flagImage of Guy Hornsby in front of WV flag

    Guy Hornsby

    Professional Highlights

    • Head Coach of West Virginia Weightlifting and Volunteer (throws) Coach for WVU Track and Field  
    • Coaching Science Coordinator at WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute, Human Performance Innovation Center  
    • West Virginia State Director for the National Strength and Conditioning Association 
  • 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
  • Portrait of Michael Ryan outside

    Michael J. Ryan

    Professional Highlights

    • Program Coordinator for Athletic Coaching Education, CPASS 
    • 10 years of undergraduate and graduate teaching experience in Exercise Science and Kinesiology
    • National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) State and Mid-East Sectional Girls Cross Country Coach of the Year
    • 20 years of coaching experience at the Division 1 and high school levels
    • Coached seven WVSSAC State Championship Teams in cross country and track
  • Portrait of Peter McGahey

    Peter McGahey

    Professional Highlights

    • Former NCAA Division I and II Women’s Head Coach
    • United State Soccer Federation A Licensed Coach
    • United States Center for Coaching Excellence (USCCE) – Nominating Committee
  • Valerie Wayda

    Valerie Wayda

    Professional Highlights

    • West Virginia Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance 2018  Recreation/Leisure Leadership Award
    • National Association for Kinesiology in Higher Education 2015 Distinguished Service Award
    • North American Society (NAS) of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport and Dance Professionals Fellow
  • Portrait of Jeremy Yeats

    Jeremy Yeats

    Professional Highlights

    • Program Coordinator for Physical Education and Kinesiology, CPASS
    • Research emphases in education policy, the use of music in sport, physical activity breaks, and social justice
    • Seven years experience as a Teaching Assistant Professor or Assistant Professor
Beyond The Classroom

Field Experiences and Research

Actively engage in field-based research projects to improve coaching effectiveness and athlete performance on the playing field.

Coaching and team evaluation

The MS in Coaching and Sport Education is a non-thesis degree; instead, you learn to collect and analyze data to facilitate beneficial coaching outcomes. We place emphasis on the use of research-informed approaches and data-based decision-making in coaching. You will also reflect on the strengths and limitations of your current coaching beliefs and systems as a basis for continual personal improvement.

Application of theory to professional practice

Across your plan of study, you will apply concepts and skills learned to your own coaching. This emphasis on practical application will take on various forms and culminate in your applied professional development capstone project. The ultimate measure of your learning remains its positive impact on both your coaching effectiveness and the sport experience of the athletes and teams you lead.

Cutting-edge of coaching and sport science

The Center for Applied Coaching and Sport Sciences strives to create a supportive incubator to combine real world ideas relevant to the skills of coaching, training athletes and cutting-edge sport science-based concepts to enhance coaching education, the profession of coaching, and the quality of the athletic experience. We encourage all our graduate students to get involved!

Graduate Assistantships

The WVU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences and many WVU campus departments offer various graduate assistantship opportunities. These assistantships vary, from WVU Athletics, the WVU Student Recreation Center, University Advising Center, to Teaching Assistantships in the College’s Basic Instruction Program (BIP). In addition to Graduate Assistantships, graduate programs are awarded Meritorious Tuition Waiver hours to be distributed to those students not receiving a GA. These tuition waiver hours are provided based on need and availability.

Highlighted Graduate Assistantships

More information and other opportunities for graduate assistantships are available on the CPASS Graduate Funding Portal

Career Preparation

After Graduation

According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2017), fewer than 10% of American adults over 25 have a master’s degree. Join that select group and expand your career opportunities.

Commonly sought research focuses among alumni

• Coaching athletes for improved sport performance across a developmental continuum 

• Designing, implementing, and evaluating strength and conditioning programs for athletes 

• Using evidence-based coaching and instructional strategies in practice and game situations 

• Organizing and managing physical activity and youth sport opportunities in multiple settings 

• Leading coach development efforts through professional associations and organizations

How To Apply

The Admission Process

How to apply

Apply online at the WVU Graduate Admissions website. Incomplete applications (those without all required materials and documentation) will not be accepted.

Prerequisites and requirements

To be considered for admission, applicants must upload the following documentation within the graduate application: 

  • Resume: including coaching background, sport participation, sport-related awards, and employment and/or experience (e.g., athletic administration, officiating, volunteering)
  • Personal Statement: 1-2 written pages on professional goals and reasons for seeking admission
  • Letters of recommendation (2)

You will not be able to submit your application until the above documents are uploaded. Once the application is submitted and (unofficial/official) transcripts are received, your application will be reviewed for an admission decision. International applicants will not be reviewed with unofficial transcripts. Applicants must have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75 (4-point scale) for regular admission.

Applicants with a GPA below 2.75 may be admitted as a provisional graduate student. Once admitted provisionally, students are required to achieve a 3.0 GPA in their first 9-hours of graduate coursework to be reclassified as regular status and remain in the program.

Please contact the Office of Student Success at (304) 293-4800 for more information about the application process.

Additional program admission information

Admission application form deadline: Apply by December 1 for priority consideration. Applications that are incomplete or are submitted after the deadline may be reviewed if openings remain. Admission is limited to fall start only.

Applicants are encouraged to submit their application with unofficial transcripts from all previously attended institutions. Submitting unofficial transcripts speeds up the application review process as most graduate programs make admission decisions using unofficial transcripts. 

If you are offered acceptance, you are required to submit official transcripts from all previously attended institutions to be fully admitted into your intended graduate program. You will not be able to register for classes until the official transcripts are received. The preferred method to submit your official transcripts is through a secure, online service such as eScript, The National Clearing House, or Parchment, to

Alternatively, if you are unable to submit an electronic version of your official transcript, the physical, sealed, un-tampered with documents can be mailed to:

WVU Graduate Admissions, P.O. Box 6510, Morgantown, WV 26501


WVU Graduate Admissions,  1 Waterfront Pl, 2nd Fl Morgantown, WV 26505

Directions for submitting International, official transcripts

International applicants must submit proof of English language proficiency.

Review Process

 Program faculty will evaluate applicant credentials based on the materials submitted. Applicants who are determined to lack an adequate academic background in kinesiology based on their transcripts, could be required to remediate any identified deficiencies as a precondition of their enrollment in the program.

Learn more

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Reach out

portrait of colton metzger
Colton Metzger
Student Success Coordinator

(304) 293-0839
PAS-E 109A
View profile
Valerie Wayda
Valerie Wayda
Associate Professor