Portrait of Sam Zizzi outside

Sam Zizzi, Ed.D.

Dr. Pat Fehl Endowed Professor

Associate Dean for Research

Email: Sam.Zizzi@mail.wvu.edu
Phone: 304-293-0874
Office Location: PAS-E 206
Office Hours: Monday and Tuesday: 9:30-11 am; Thursday 2-3 pm
Download CV

Professional Highlights

  • Twice recognized as Most Outstanding Teacher at WVU CPASS
  • Recognized as the Dr. Pat Fehl Endowed Professor to focus efforts on the health and wellness of WV citizens
  • Published one of the first books on awareness in the present moment, entitled Mindfulness in Sport and Exercise Psychology (2017) with friend and colleague Mark Andersen
  • Certified Mental Performance Consultant, Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP)

Educational Background

  • Ed.D., Sport and Exercise Psychology with minor in Counseling, West Virginia University
  • M.A., Physical Education with emphasis in Sport Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • B.A. (summa cum laude), Psychology, James Madison University


  • Certified Consultant, Association for Applied Sport Psychology (2000-present)

Committees and Memberships

  • Coordinator, WV Physical Activity Network, Center for ActiveWV (2017)
  • Chairperson, Faculty Review Committee, WVU CPASS (2017)
  • Member, Bucklew Scholarship Committee (2017)
  • Committee Chair, SEP Admission Coordinator, Ph.D. program (2017)
  • Research Fellow and Certified Mental Performance Consultant, Association for Applied Sport Psychology (1995-present)
  • United States Olympic Committee’s Sport Psychology Registry

Research Interests

  • Chronic disease prevention via physical activity and weight management
  • Health behavior change
  • The practice of sport and exercise psychology
  • Mindfulness

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Sam Zizzi received his B.A. in psychology from James Madison University, graduating Summa Cum Laude. He completed his M.S. in exercise science with a specialization in sport psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. During his master’s degree, he taught physical activity courses for two years as a graduate assistant and was recognized for teaching excellence.

He finished his graduate work in 2000 at West Virginia University with his doctorate in sport psychology and minor area of emphasis in counseling. Subsequent to graduation, Zizzi completed the requirements to become a Certified Consultant through AASP and was listed on the United States Olympic Committee’s Sport Psychology Registry.

Zizzi has worked with numerous athletes at the university and in the local community. He has experience working in exercise settings helping youth and adults start and maintain active and healthy lifestyles.

When Zizzi is not slaving away on academic pursuits, he enjoys traveling or spending time with his family. Around Morgantown, he can usually be found running, hiking, swimming or practicing yoga. He is an avid guitar player and likes forest bathing in some of West Virginia’s wonderful outdoor spaces.


  • Outstanding Teacher of the Year, WVU College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences (2014)
  • Outstanding Grantsperson Award, WVU College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences (2013, 2010)
  • Outstanding Research/Creativity Award, WVU College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences (2010)


Typographic image stating Walk with a doc; educate, exercise and empower

During COVID, taking care of our own mental health is important. Zizzi discusses how simply adopting a regular walking routine can lower anxiety and depression and lead to increased energy levels. He manages to complete this brief lecture while walking on one of his favorite local trails as part of the WVU Walk with a Future Doc series.

Listen to this lecture on youtube
Photos of assorted vegetables on a table with WVU tablecloth

A WVU-based team is working to improve the healthy lifestyle landscape in West Virginia through empowering communities to take control of their health. Faculty from a broad group at WVU entered into a partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, launching the Be Wild, Be Wonderful, Be Healthy project.

Read more on Be Wild, Be Wonderful, Be Healthy
Sam and Christian Abildso standing in front of a waterfall

Zizzi says to get outside any way you can and leave your phone at home. Forest bathing doesn’t necessarily involve intense physical activity but rather walking, or sitting and meditating, without technology and with awareness, while being mindful of nature. Listen to the interview on WV Public Broadcasting.

Read more on WV Public Broadcasting
Dr Zizzi video

Zizzi, an Elkins, WV native, sees many students in his classes who want to build careers in health. They’re motivated. They want to make change and they soon learn that there are barriers and frustrations that they must overcome on the road to wellness.

Watch the video
Sam Zizzi Roads Scholar

2016 Roads Scholar Academy
Walking the West Virginia Hills: The Importance of Physical Activity for Adults

Watch the video