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Springfield College Named One of Most Influential Sports Education ‘Teams’ in America

November 16, 2007

SPRINGFIELD, Mass., Nov. 16, 2007 – Springfield College is one of the “15 Most Influential Sports Education ‘Teams’ in America,” according to a new report by The Institute for International Sport. The institute identified persons and organizations that have had a profound positive impact on individuals and society by effectively using sports as a means to educate.

According to Dan Doyle, executive director of the institute, “In America and in many other countries, we honor elite athletes, winning coaches, wealthy team owners, and media moguls. We praise sports educators, yet we really do not honor them in a manner befitting their admirable impact on society. This project is aimed at honoring individuals and organizations who have creatively and effectively used sport in the very best way – as a means to educate and shape positive values.”

Richard B. Flynn, president of Springfield College, responded to the announcement saying, “This honor addresses the essence of Springfield College. For more than a century, athletics and sport have been important elements in our holistic education of students – spirit, mind and body – to prepare them for leadership positions in fields that serve other people. The lessons of sport: teamwork, self discipline, fair play, diversity, and competitive self restraint, provide valuable preparation for success in life.”

Springfield College is the only institution of higher education of the teams named in the report. The institute cited the college, with Flynn as “team captain,” for its “international reputation for developing coaches, athletic trainers, physical education instructors, team managers, sports psychologists and athletes who make a positive impact on millions of people in the world through sport.”

The institute launched its efforts to identify the most influential sports educators in 2004 after Doyle surveyed coaches and athletes for his book, “The Encyclopedia of Sport Parenting,” and identified common themes. Present and former athletes cited former coaches and athletic administrators as key mentors in their lives. They also credited the impact of the sports experience in shaping their views and practices.

The institute received 1,500 nominations for individuals and “teams” as the most influential sports educators. A selection committee of coaches, athletic administrators, journalists and academicians chose 100 individuals and 15 “teams.”

Springfield College developed its niche expertise in physical education shortly after its founding in 1885 as an educator of YMCA leaders. Today, in addition to its programs in sports and movement studies and education, it is known for education in the health sciences, human and social services, and the arts and sciences.

It has 36,000 graduates living around the world. There are 5,000 students on its main campus in Springfield, Mass. and at the regional campuses of its School of Human Services in nine other U. S. locations.

The institute also cited two Springfield College alumni. Chuck Wielgus, who earned his master’s degree in education from the college in 1974, is team captain of USA Swimming, another one of the most influential sports education team in America. Leroy Walker, who received an honorary doctor of humanics degree from the college in 1996 and is the former president of the United States Olympic Committee, was named one of the 100 most influential sports educators.

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