CSL Daily

August 28, 2014

CSL Grad Student Promoted by VCU Basketball

The goal for all of our graduate students is to land a full time job after earning their degree. David Harris has a year left in our program but already has the job.  David_Harris.JPG

VCU Head Coach Shaka Smart promoted Harris, a former graduate assistant, to the team’s video coordinator.

“David is a very talented young man and has a bright future in coaching,” Smart said. “We are very fortunate to have him as part of our staff.”

Harris was on the sidelines last season when the Rams went 26-9 and earned a fourth straight trip to the NCAA Tournament. He played an integral role in helping the coaching staff with scouting reports and player development.

“I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity that Coach Smart has given me to stay with the program and continue to learn from such a terrific coaching staff,” Harris said. “I’m really excited about the opportunity to continue working with these student-athletes and this staff on a daily basis.”

Prior to VCU, Harris spent time at both the University of Florida and Ashland University. Originally a team manager at Florida for the men’s basketball team, Harris left after two years to play basketball at Ashland, averaging over eight points per game.

A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Harris graduated from Ashland cum laude with a degree in finance. He is finishing his master’s degree with VCU’s Center for Sports Leadership.

August 27, 2014

Faculty Forum-Summer of Soccer

by Pete Dicce pete dicce

In May of 1989, as I sat in the sparsely filled stands at a local college in

Southern California, I pondered the future of soccer in the United States while

watching my national team play Trinidad and Tobago in a World Cup qualifier.

The match took place within the dark ages of American soccer after the 1984

collapse of the North American Soccer League (NASL) and before Major League

Soccer (MLS) began in 1996. The future of soccer in America largely rested on

the team qualifying for the 1990 World Cup in Italy and successfully hosting the

competition on our home soil in 1994.

In the past two decades, soccer has not only arrived in the United States,  World Cup Nigeria v Bosnia-Herzegovina

but is thriving. There is no doubt about it…America has embraced soccer. Record

numbers of Americans watched this year’s World Cup with overall television

viewership up 44% since 2010, making America the second biggest overseas

television audience after Germany. Approximately 25 million people watched

the United States match against Portugal, an amount that exceeded the average

viewership for the World Series and NBA finals. In addition to consuming soccer

on television, this World Cup became the most streamed sporting event ever in

the United States with over 30 million hours logged. But the fandom doesn’t stop

there, outside of Brazil the United States purchased the largest number of tickets

to the World Cup.

The growing American interest in soccer is not surprising. A recent ESPN

Sports Poll Annual Report noted that MLS – not just soccer in general – is on

par with Major League Baseball (MLB) among young avid sports fans. Future

popularity will increase as the average age of Americans who call baseball their

favorite sport is 53, while those Americans who prefer soccer, by contrast,

average only 37. With this younger audience, the average attendance in MLS

stadiums that exceeds 18,000 per game, the third highest attendance amongst

the five major sports, is positioned to rise. cup 3

Hand in hand with the growing American spectator interest in soccer

is the improved quality of the U.S. National Team. Although once thought of as a team in over its head, the U.S. National team has participated in seven

consecutive World Cups and advanced out of four of the last six groups, a feat

that has eluded soccer powers such as the Netherlands, France and Mexico.

Advancing out of the group stage is never easy – just ask Italy, Spain and England

– and this year’s advancement out of the “Group of Death” with the eventual

champion Germany is evidence of its progression over the last 20 years.

The global soccer culture is changing in the United States and to some

people this threatens American exceptionalism. However, American kids, just

like those throughout the world wear the jerseys of Messi, Neymar and Muller.

You will see them wear the shirt of James Rodriguez, the young star from

Colombia of this year’s World Cup. Soon you will see those outside the United

States sport a NYC FC jersey. Soccer is a wonderful vehicle for bringing the world

together. To young American sports fans it connects them to the rest of the

The question isn’t whether professional soccer can succeed in America by

hosting another World Cup (the U.S, will likely host in 2026) or MLS developing

into one of the top leagues in the world (it is currently ranked seventh) or by  cup 1

advancing deeper into the World Cup (the U.S. will reach another quarter-final,

then a semi-final and with any luck a final)…it’s whether soccer can connect us

to each other in a deeper and more meaningful way. The younger generation of

Americans embrace global interdependence with soccer as a format.

Back in 1989, I did not fully appreciate the importance of the match I was

watching nor did I envision how globally interdependent we would become.

The late Nelson Mandela articulated it best, “Sport has the power to change the

world…it has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that

little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create

hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than government

in breaking down racial barriers.” I guess that’s some of the reasons they call

soccer the “beautiful game.”

Pete Dicce is the Director of Athletics for NYU-Abu Dhabi in United Arab Emirates.  A recent graduate of the Center for Sport Leadership, Pete, who spent 20 years as a practicing attorney before joining the sports industry, will be an instructor for our Sports Law class this Fall.
He can be reached by email at


August 26, 2014

Hat Tip Tuesday

photo (22)

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


michael piranian

Michael Piranian (’09) has been hired as assistant men’s soccer coach at the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to joining the staff at Penn, Michael was an assistant coach at Carnegie-Mellon for six years and Washington & Lee for four years.

lauren mcorey

Lauren McCorey (’13) has been hired as the Head Coach of NOVA South Swim Team in Hopewell, VA.  Lauren has been coaching within the NOVA program for the past three years. She is a USA Swimming certified coach, ASCA Level 3 certified, and a Virginia Swimming Eastern Zones Coach.

brooks taylor

Brooks Taylor (’14) has been hired as the Manager of Communications at Martinsville Speedway.  Brooks will immediately begin preparing for the NASCAR track’s Sprint Cup event on October 26. Previously, Brooks was the communication manager for Military Affairs at VCU.  Brooks is also a military veteran, serving seven years in the U.S. Army.


Karise Baxter (’14) has been hired as a physical education teacher at All Saints Catholic School. Karise will be working with students Pre-k though 8th grade and help run the after school program as well.  This summer, Karise was the Event Coordinator for the Track & Field Championships for the Georgia State Games Commission.  

August 23, 2014

Team Building

It has become a CSL tradition: Team Building Day at Challenge Discovery.

The new graduate students participate in a series of exercises designed to foster collaboration, communication and team work.  Working together, the students accomplish tasks and conquer some fears, all while strengthening their cohort.

August 21, 2014

CSL Orientation Kicks Off New Year

Dr. LeCrom welcomes the Class of 2015

This morning, the  Center for Sport Leadership welcomed 34 new graduate students and two doctoral students for the start of the 2014-15 academic year.

Dr. LeCrom addressed the students and then introduced a few featured speakers each who had a powerful message for the incoming class.  Friday, the students will participate in team building exercises at Challenge Discovery. Stay tuned for pictures and videos.

August 21, 2014

Advice for the Class of 2015

In her welcome letter to the Class of 2015, Dr, LeCrom asked our CSL alumni via Twitter to offer some advice to the incoming students.
Here’s what they had to say:

take advantage of all the opportunities gives you. One of them will change your life. Proof? The alumni.  twitter logo

Be a sponge, not a spoon! Take advantage of everything presented to you. This year WILL change your life & future.

Embrace being a part of – you’ve just joined a HUGE network of grads who are always there to help if you ask!

Get to know everyone! You never know who you’ll need to call one day. Don’t forget to make memories outside of class.