CSL Daily

September 27, 2010

Androl’s Advice Inspires

On Thursday September 23rd, 2010 four of my classmates and I were able to accompany Dr. LeCrom to the Extraordinary Women’s Exchange at the Richmond Convention Center. The speaker for the morning’s program was Heidi Androl. Androl was a fantastic speaker who shared her experiences in male dominated fields to a room of many female professionals. Androl started her career in the aerospace industry, which led her to compete on The Apprentice with Donald Trump. After being “fired” in the 13th of 14 weeks of the show, Androl decided to take a leap and jump into the world of sports broadcasting where she worked for the Los Angeles Kings and the NHL network.

The focus of Androl’s speech was the way that she filled her “tool kit” in order to continue to advance her career and be successful. She encouraged all of us to do the same no matter what our career goals were. Androl showed that the experiences she had along her career path helped her in future endeavors. She told us never to be afraid to say we didn’t know how to do something as long as we were willing to ask someone to teach us. Her story is one that really inspired me as a young professional just starting my career because she had almost no formal training in the field she was interested in, but her determination and willingness to do the work in order to gain the knowledge just shows that there are many paths to the top.

Androl’s speech taught CSL student Rachel Rhoney that in order to be successful “I have to be willing to put myself out there and have an opinion. I have to be prepared to learn from failure and use it to re-invent myself for the next opportunity.” Androl was in Richmond to show what a woman can do in a male dominated industry, but the males in the room took away just as much from her speech. CLS student Charles Lane realized that “even though Ms. Androl’s speech was directed at a woman’s audience her advice and inspiration encompasses all genders and goes above all expectations.”

The opportunity to listen to Androl’s story and advice was one that allowed all of those present to add another tool to their personal tool kit. Her words were not only inspiring but they echoed many of the lessons we are learning at the Center for Sport Leadership.

By: Mary-Kate Geratowski, CSL Class of 2011

September 27, 2010

The Past meets the Present: Fall 2010 CSL Alumni Panel

On Thursday, September 23rd, the Center for Sport Leadership (CSL) welcomed some of its former students home for an alumni panel. All of the panelists currently work in the Richmond area for a variety of organizations. CSL students had the opportunity to hear about the externship and job processes of alumni as well as ask questions about their experiences in the program.

The panel discussion offered current students a chance to network with professional alumni who were in similar positions only a few years before. The panelists included: Erwan LeCrom (Richmond Strikers), Ryan Hall (Benedictine High School), Carlton Harris (U-Turn), Ashley Bolton (CAA), and Hunter Leemon (Richmond Kickers).

The panelists started by providing some background about themselves and their journey after graduating from the CSL. Students then asked questions ranging from job specific to personal.

What follows are some of the questions that were posed and answers that were provided.

Q. Knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?
Leemon- “Nothing. I might have even called more people than I did and set up more informational interviews.”
Hall- “Don’t limit yourself. Go out there and try everything even if you think that you won’t like it.”
Bolton- “Do anything that comes up. It is a good experience just to see what is out there.”

Q. What is the most important thing you got out of your CSL experience?
Leemon- “The contact base.”
Bolton- “Making sure that everything is presentable. When doing an assignment, you were always posed the question of ‘what would you present to your boss?’ That really taught me to pay great attention to detail.”

Q. What are you looking for in a candidate from the program?
LeCrom- “Personality. Also, know more than just the organization. For example, know the area and community. Show them that you see the bigger picture.”
Harris- “Passion. I can teach you anything that you need to know but if you don’t have passion I can’t do anything.”
Bolton- “Enthusiasm.”
Leemon- “Do your background research. Be prepared. It is nice to see someone who has given their future some thought.”

Q. What are you doing to get to your ultimate career goal? How would you judge your success as of now?
Bolton- “I believe that I am pretty successful. I am happy that I’m still being challenged.’
Harris- “Very successful; I have to think that or else I won’t be successful. But I still continue to learn and grow in different aspects everyday.”
Hall- “I’m successful because I love where I am and the people I work with.”
LeCrom- “I don’t know if I’m successful but I know that I’m happy. There is a lot of potential in my current job and I’m growing every year.”
Leemon- “As long as you grow professionally and are happy, then you are successful. I don’t have a ‘case of the Mondays’ which is great.”

The stories and advice provided by the panelist supplied practical information for current CSL students. As CSL students progress through the program, these words of wisdom will become even more meaningful.

By: Mollie Wallace, CSL Class of 2011

September 17, 2010

CSL Student Selected for NASCAR Diversity Mentorship Program

On September 10, 2010, Tyrone Powell, current CSL graduate student, participated in the NASCAR Diversity Mentorship Program at the Nationwide Virginia 529 College Savings 250, located on the grounds of Richmond International Raceway.

The Diversity Mentorship Program offers ethnically diverse college students an opportunity to see and experience ways their college education prepares them for potential employment in the NASCAR industry. The main goal of the program is to allow participants a behind-the-scene examination of the operations of a NASCAR event.

Upon arriving at the track, Powell met with various leaders in the NASCAR industry including Joe Balash, NASCAR Nationwide Director, Dave Finley, Director Series Operations, and Leslie Maxie, Manager of Communications. Powell was understandably excited about this opportunity, having never attended a NASCAR race.

During the entire event, Powell was impressed with the teamwork involved in making sure all aspects of the race ran smoothly and without a hitch. Powell stated “it [NASCAR] is a very organized sport, every “I” has to be dotted and every “T” crossed, but that’s what I like about it.”

Prior to the race, Powell walked the track, attended the drivers meeting, performed a mock pit stop replacing a wheel in 17 seconds, and toured Jeff Gordon’s hauler. During the race, Powell experienced the sounds, smells and heat of the Nationwide Cup Race from pit row.

Afterwards, Powell discussed the event. ” I had a blast! Just the opportunity to see how the whole race day works, and all the people it takes to make it happen was impressive. I would recommend to anyone that has never been to a race to go.” Excited by his experience, Powell returned Saturday night to watch the Air Guard 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.

The Center for Sport Leadership (CSL) congratulates Powell on his participation in the NASCAR Diversity Mentorship Program and looks forward to watching him progress through the CSL program before beginning his long and successful career in the sport industry.

September 14, 2010

“What are you going to do with your dash?” Coach Eastman Inspires CSL Students

It was an inspiring visit for the Center for Sport Leadership students on September 10th, 2010. Boston Celtics Assistant Coach, and Richmond native, Kevin Eastman discussed many of the leadership principles and concepts that he’s held close to his heart throughout his collegiate and professional basketball coaching career.

Leadership was the theme throughout Eastman’s talk, and he discussed how it applied to every aspect of sports and life. Coach Eastman shared models of leadership he follows and steps for building leadership that he’s learned along the way. Yet Eastman was very vocal about the power and the impact good leadership can have on someone.

“When you’re done, do you want to leave a job or a legacy?” he questioned the audience.

Coach continued on the power of leaving a legacy discussing “the power of the dash.” The idea that when someone’s time on earth has passed, the symbol of the dash between the years they lived should mean something.

“What are you going to do with your dash?” Eastman asked.

He further challenged his listeners to make a long-lasting impact on the lives of people that they will one day coach, mentor or lead. Eastman’s challenge was to always strive to be one of the three most influential figures in people’s lives.

Coach Eastman used several real life stories from his tenure under Coach Doc Rivers in Boston as colorful examples of leadership in action. However, he also used his life experiences to show the importance of ensuring success outside of sports.

Eastman shared with the group about his reading habits, writing of lists and making plans of attack. He challenged the students to formulate a game plan for all aspects of life, which should always include three ideas; learn from the past, evaluate the present and think about the future.

Whether it’s preparing for a job, improving yourself as a coach or just becoming a better person, Coach Eastman reinforced the importance of planning, taking action and dreaming big in all aspects of life.

“When dreams combine with action, there’s no telling what can happen.”

By: Matt Ensor, CSL Class of 2011

September 3, 2010



The Virginia Commonwealth University Center for Sport Leadership is proud to announce, in partnership with VCU’s Athletics, a sponsorship deal with Baker Curb Racing for Hermie Sadler in the No. 27 Ford Mustang at the Virginia 529 College Savings 250 Nationwide Series Race at the Richmond International Race on Friday, September 10th.

“We’re extremely excited to partner with Hermie, Baker Curb and the CSL for this terrific opportunity for exposure and branding,” VCU Director of Athletics Norwood Teague said. “Having a native Virginia driver sponsored by the state’s largest institution racing in the state capitol really makes this a special event.”

Sadler will be making his 258th career NASCAR Nationwide Series start and 21st at the ¾-mile D-shaped track located an hour from where he grew up in Emporia, Va. His Nationwide Series resume includes two wins, three pole awards and 44 top-10 finishes. He won the 1993 Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year Award and has finished in the top 10 of the series point standings four times (1993, 1994, 1997, 1998).

“Being born and raised in Virginia it is always special for me to race at Richmond International Raceway and having the Richmond-based VCU Rams colors and logo on my Ford Mustang makes it extra special this time around,” Sadler said. “Greg Biffle finished second in the spring race at Richmond behind the wheel of the No. 27 and Baker Curb Racing has proven all season long that they are one of the most competitive teams in the Nationwide Series. It’s going to be an exciting weekend and I can’t wait to get on the track!”

Joining the Rams in sponsoring Sadler is the Center for Sport Leadership, which provides an innovative, practical learning environment that prepares students for a successful career in the sport industry.

“Teaming with Hermie is a wonderful idea and gesture,” Executive Director of the CSL Nathan Tomasini said. “Putting the Center for Sport Leadership and VCU Athletics on his car demonstrates the value he places on our relationship and the educational experience of our students. The national exposure for VCU and our program is immeasurable.”

To help out the passionate student fan base of the Rams, Richmond International Raceway is offering a special discount for a $25 general admission ticket for the race. The ticket for Friday night’s race will include a full-day of on-track activity including Nationwide Series practice and WRIC-TV8 Pole Qualifying and Sprint Cup Series practice and Fas Mart Pole Qualifying.

The NASCAR Nationwide Series race starts at 7:30 p.m. with gates opening at 9:45 and practice starting at 10 a.m.

Tickets are available in advance by calling Mike Richards 804-228-7692 or by showing your VCU faculty/student identification at the ticket booth located at Will Call on race day. Visit Richmond International Raceway online at

September 2, 2010

The First Challenge: CSL Students Experience Challenge Discovery

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On Friday (8-26-10), Center for Sport Leadership class of 2011 students participated in the low ropes course at Challenge Discover, a non-profit organization dedicated to building teams, creating leaders, and changing lives. As students arrived, they were somewhat unaware of the bonding and personal growth that would ensue.

After a few ice breaking activities and discussions of goals for the day, the students moved into the fun stuff! Some of the activities they participated in included “Tomahawk Walk”, “Team Wall”, and “7 Foot Beam”, and were designed to encourage collaboration and cooperation. Students learned quickly, and since most had played on a sports team at some point, they were able to quickly work together to accomplish given tasks. Counselors mentioned the speed at which CSL students were able to conceptualize the challenges, establish plans of attack, and accomplish each mission.

“We were able to work as a team to accomplish tasks that made us think outside the box, use the people and ideas around us, as well as communicate with one another. It was a wonderful and vital experience that I learned a lot from and that allowed me to come out of my shell around a new group of people,” commented Megan Harvey, Class of 2011.

The school year looks promising as the 2011 class is filled with enthusiastic, energetic, intelligent, hard-working students and everyone involved with the CSL is eager to begin the academic year.

For more pictures of the Challenge Discovery trip please visit us on Facebook (Vcu Sportscenter).