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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:

  • JJoseph L

    "CPASS prepared me to succeed thanks to the professors who help us strive to become the best coaches we can be. They also helped me fine tune my resume to make it attractive to potential employers. The ACE master’s program is designed to provide students with key foundation in the related sport science areas that are important to coaching."

    Joseph L.

    M.S. ACE, 2013
  • 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 a WVU sport club
    • Member of the Sport Science Staff for the 2015 IWF World Weightlifting Championships in Houston, TX
  • 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 run grants and contracts with the USOC, USA Cycling, USA Hockey, USADA and other sport organizations.
    • Over 20 years professional coaching experience with athletes from the youth through Olympic level, specializing in working with long term athlete development
  • Ryan Flett

    Ryan Flett

    Professional Highlights

    • Reviewed research manuscript submissions for eight different journals over the past 4 years
    • Actively engaged in qualitative and quantitative research in coaching education, bullying reduction through positive youth development (PYD), and PYD through peer- and adult-mentorship.
    • Currently engaged in my third externally funded program evaluation / assessment. The current evaluation is funded by Youth Enrichment Services in Pittsburgh, PA, in conjunction with the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The evaluation focuses on youth mentorship and (juvenile justice) diversion programs.
    • Helped to develop, deliver, and evaluate programs for coaches and athletes in Michigan (under-served youth and coaches affiliated with Think Detroit, and the MSU-MHSAA Captain’s Clinics)
    • 10 years of coaching experience (Football) as an offensive positive coach and coordinator
  • Valerie Wayda

    Valerie Wayda

    Professional Highlights

    • National Association for Kinesiology in Higher Education 2015 Distinguished Service Award
    • Fellow of the North America by the North American Society (NAS) of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport and Dance Professionals.
    • Vice-President for National Association for Kinesiology and Physical Education in Higher Education (2011-2012)
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 the WVU Admissions and Records Office along with your official undergraduate transcripts. Apply online at the WVU Admissions & Records 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.