CSL Daily

June 20, 2014

Networking Highlights N4A Conference

by Traci Bonds, CSL Class of 2014

Imagine a room full of over 600 people who all have the same goal as you: to grow in their profession. The National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics held its National IMG_2624Convention this year in Orlando, Florida.  Athletic Directors to interns congregating to learn from one another. The theme of this year’s convention was “Our Opportunity”, which truly embodies the essence of the N4A. For those in attendance, you have the opportunity to learn, to connect, and to be inspired by everyone in the industry.

As a first time attendee, I was overwhelmed by the camaraderie of this organization, which they value above all else. One of my mentors, Cheryl Walthers of Florida Gulf Coast perfectly described the weekend as less of a convention and more of a family reunion. The conference kicked off with a welcome reception where each new person I met immediately asked my name, where I was from, and how he or she could help me accomplish my goals.  If they couldn’t help, they would personally introduce me to someone who could. Throughout the night I was able to connect with industry leaders such as Steve Duzan of Clemson and Walt Holliday of LSU. The number of business cards I collected that evening was ridiculous.

The rest of the convention was filled with informative programing, organized in different BpYcdHSIMAAvkqgtracks based on the attendee’s occupation and interests such as Directors, Learning Specialists, and New Members. Different institutions conducted the lectures with each presenting on a variety of topics that they found to be valuable. However, unlike many conventions, the programing was designed less as an information session and more as a platform for institutions to share successful strategies and best practices. For example, Ted White of the University of Georgia provided a description of their new Objective-based Support 2.0 system. Lecture attendees were able to ask detailed questions and learn the ways in which this program could be tailored and utilized by their own institution. Overall, the lectures shared one school’s knowledge, experience and resources to help elevate the industry as a whole.

While institutions shared their knowledge, inspiration came from the convention’s guest speakers. The conference kicked off with an address from Myron Rolle, former NFL player, Rhodes scholar, philanthropist, and aspiring neurosurgeon. His commitment to both athletics and academics epitomizes the desire of every academic advisor as we strive to assist our students in achieving all of their goals. At the conclusion of the convention, five student-athletes were presented the Wilma Rudolph Award, which recognized their success in overcoming extreme obstacles. Listening to these individuals describe their struggles with injury, loss, addiction, and abuse only feeds my passion to provide student athletes with the support they need.

At the end of each day, attendees were given time to socialize with each other whether it be by the pool, in the hotel’s restaurants, or on outings. BpeyUJfCYAAm0Tt (1)
I personally enjoyed a scheduled outing to City Walk at Universal Studios as well as an unplanned trip to Krispy Kreme on Free Donut Day!

Walking away from this convention, I am energized in my pursuit of becoming an academic advisor. I have learned that I am not alone in my daily trials and that the N4A family is there to support and guide me in my journey. For anyone who wants to be involved in this industry, N4A is truly the gateway to academic advising in athletics.

June 20, 2014

Friday’s Words to Lead By

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June 19, 2014

Leaders in Sport Podcast-Barry Larkin

This is part of a series of interviews with past and present leaders in sport. LarkinPlaque
We’ll talk about their role and evolution as a leader, their leadership style and what they believe are the key components to effective leadership in sport. 


Baseball Hall of Famer and longtime Cincinnati Reds captain Barry Larkin recently appeared on Greg Burton’s radio show to talk about leadership.




June 19, 2014

Thursday’s Words To Lead By

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June 17, 2014

Hat Tip Tuesday

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Each Tuesday, we offer a “tip of the hat” to current and former students who have been hired, promoted, or embarked on new opportunities.

John Phillips (’13) has been named a full-time assistant coach with the john phillips
2014 Atlantic 10 Champion VCU Golf team. He becomes the first full-time assistant in program history.  Phillips has served as both a graduate and volunteer assistant with the program since 2012, but his expanded duties will allow longtime VCU Head Coach Matt Ball to press ahead further in recruiting and in other vital areas. For the past year, Phillips has interned with the Virginia State Golf Association, where he organized and administered the 2013 VHSL Girls State Championship and several other qualifiers. He also helped administer a number of other VSGA Championships during his tenure, including the State Open of Virginia and the VSGA Junior Match Play Championship. He has also served as a caddie at the USGA National Championship and scored 90 on the USGA Rules Golf Test, said to be the highest ever for someone on the first try.
(courtesy VCU Athletics)

June 17, 2014

Grit Matters

by Greg Burton

How did they do it? I’ve been thinking a lot about how the U.S. pulled off that dramatic win over Ghana in the World Cup last night. Clinging to a 1-0 lead, adversity piled up for the Americans. Altidore goes out with an injury.  Dempsey breaks his nose. Fatigue sets in. The tone of the Twitterverse was ominious. After Ghana broke through with the equalizer, the tone was straight doom. Fans were flattened and media began to frame the foregone conclusion that the U.S. had just blown a win (and the three points that goes with it) and would be saddled with a disappointing tie (one point).

You know what happened next.



I won’t call it a miracle but certainly, it was unlikely. Few thought it possible or saw it coming. Those words have been uttered after many of the great moments in sports.  In a blink, impending disappointment is replaced by unexpected euphoria.

In the media business, we rush to find answers, label performances and define the moment. Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports hit the target. Specifically, he used the word I had been searching for to explain what we witnesses last night: grit. We often use words like determination, persistence, mental toughness. Grit says it better. It evokes imagery that would make any American stand up and salute. Wetzel says “grit” has become part of the U.S. Soccer team’s legacy.

“That’s what made this side one that even the most elite of international teams respected because they always knew they were in for a battle against the U.S. And that’s what won the U.S. a game Monday night.”


How many of us posses grit? Do we have the ability to persevere through pain, to outrun adversity? Grit is an under-appreciated quality, overshadowed by worth ethic, talent and positive attitude. Even the most hard working, skilled, optimistic person faces setbacks. Can they reach in their toolbox for “grit”?

I’ve spent the morning scouring the web for insight on grit. I found this great TED Talk on the subject.



I know “grit” is something we need to talk more about with our graduate students. It will serve them well in their professional and personal journeys. It’s hard to teach but it’s worth the attempt, the discussion.

Grit isn’t just for the up-and-commers, the worker bees, or the rank-and-file.
It’s a vital component of leadership. The magnitude of responsibility that falls on the leader can be crushing. Their resolve is their salvation. Grit allows them to plod through rough terrain and find the smooth path towards achivement.

No one goes undefeated. Clint
Not in sports, not in life.
You will lose.
You will fail.
You’ll get kicked in the face.
Grit allows you to compartmentalize the setback and resume your journey to success.

Thanks to the U.S. men’s soccer team for reminding us of that.

Greg Burton is an award-winning sportscaster with more than 20 years experience. He has been an adjunct faculty member for the Center for Sport Leadership since 2009.