CSL Daily

September 20, 2011

Gill Taylor Brings International Perspective to CSL


September 19, 2011

RICHMOND, Va.–The Center for Sport Leadership was treated to an international perspective on the power of sports when Gill Taylor, National Manager for the Macsteel Maestros at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa (SA), came to visit and share her experiences with the students. Taylor works with South African youth athletes and SA national sports teams on both practical and intangible life skills training.

Taylor was a school teacher and field hockey coach before finding her niche in life skills training after working as the African Hockey Coaching Ambassador. She created and implemented the life skills training program as a missing component to the Sports Science Institute of South Africa, emphasizing the importance of life skills to athletes who will be playing internationally. These lessons include practical lessons, such as restaurant etiquette and computer technology, as well as intangible life skills including team work and conflict resolution. As a result, she has been able to help many South African athletes have successful sport experiences.

Taylor was a fascinating woman who has accomplished many things including adjusting to a changing sport environment post-apartheid. Though it is difficult for most CSL students to relate to that experience, she offered many concrete examples of the stark differences that she faces on a daily basis when working with athletes. She additionally shared her struggles and successes in working with Olympic athletes and conducing life skills training for over 840 premier level soccer players in South Africa as the country prepared to host the 2010 World Cup.

When asked what her advice to future sport managers would be, Taylor emphasized the importance of getting outside of one’s comfort zone and using one’s passion to create a niche in the world. She also wanted the students to remember “We are what we choose to be, not what made us to be,” something she reminds her athletes of constantly.

For more information about the life skills program, please visit To read more about the Sports Science Institute of South Africa, please visit

By: Devon Howard, CSL Class of 2012

September 8, 2011

NASCAR’s Hermie Sadler visits with CSL students

NASCAR Analyst and Virginia native Hermie Sadler visited with the Center for Sport Leadership program Thursday as a guest speaker to discuss both his personal and professional experiences in the sports industry. Sadler also fielded several questions from the students about the sport of racing, his professional career and his involvement with autism research.

Since he began racing go-karts at the age of 7, Sadler has spent his time at and aroundHermie.jpg the racetrack. He first joined the NASCAR circuit in 1993 with the help of Don Beverly after a trip to victory lane in Late Model Stock Car Racing. He raced in various NASCAR series full-time until 2001 when his middle daughter, Halie, was diagnosed with autism. At that time, he scaled back to a part-time Sprint Cup schedule in order to spend more time with his family. After the 2006 season, Sadler moved from the driver’s seat to the reporter’s chair when he became an on-screen television analyst for various NASCAR programs. In the last decade, Sadler has also spent a great deal of time helping fund autism research and programs for autistic children through The Hermie & Elliott Sadler Foundation.

When asked by students, Sadler emphasized the importance of putting yourself out there and not being afraid to fail. As someone who has been a driver, an owner, and an analyst in racing, he conceded that it was all about learning from his experiences, adjusting to given situations and being in the right place at the right time. Sadler also spoke to the significance of being relatable as being a key factor in success in the sports industry.

Hermie Sadler is also the owner of an Italian sports bar in Emporia, Va., and sits on the board for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. For more information on Hermie Sadler, please visit For more information on The Hermie & Elliott Sadler Foundation and autism research efforts, please visit


By Devon Howard