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

  • 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, a USAW registered club and WVU sport club 
    • 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
  • 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

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

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 to the Master of Science in Coaching and Sport Education program 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.

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: December 15 for early admission, accepting applications on a rolling basis after that date pending available space. 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.

Learn more

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Reach out

Lindsay Augstine Portrait
Lindsay Augustine
Student Services Specialist
Portrait of Michael Ryan outside
Michael J. Ryan
Teaching Assistant Professor

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