CSL Daily

December 24, 2014

Santa Claus & Core Values


lighten bag

I have no idea if Santa Claus has a list of core values but a leader as productive, efficient and universally beloved as St. Nick has to rely on some formula.

I was looking over our CSL core values and realized Santa would not only love them, he already employs them.

Accountable: I’d like to think the buck stops with the man in the big red suit. If toys don’t get delivered to Argentina, I don’t see Santa blaming it on some rank-and file elf or making excuses about how the GPS on the sleigh wasn’t working.  Santa holds himself accountable which leads to accountability throughout his workshop.

Collaborative: There is no way toys get delivered to every child in the world without the help of a great team working together towards a common goal. Santa relies on elves, reindeer, even parents to help him get the job done. Of course, Mrs Claus plays a big role too.  Santa believes in building strong relationships and collaborating to accomplish the impossible.

Empowering: Santa Claus is not a micro-manager. He believes in giving his team the authority to do a job and then allowing them to do it. Santa fosters an environment that empowers people to flourish, grow and succeed.

Global-Minded: OK, we actually got this one from Santa. No one is more global-minded than Santa. He cares about every child in every corner of the world. He understands their culture and literally speaks their language (he’s multilingual). santa 1

Authentic: Despite cynicism over his motives, the over-commercialization of the holiday and the blatant exploitation of his image, Santa has stayed true to his beliefs. It would be easy for him to change, even encouraged, but Santa Claus has remained a genuine and constant symbol of this season of giving. It doesn’t get more authentic than Santa Claus.






December 18, 2014

CSL Students Present Survey Findings to RIR

rir survey

by Tim Lampe

One of the primary reasons I have enjoyed the Center for Sport Leadership for the past fifteen years is the many opportunities the program provides to our students. In my role, I am privileged to have the opportunity to spend time with future sport industry leaders in the classroom as well as to observe many of them performing various tasks for their graduate assistantship positions throughout the VCU athletic department, commonly referred to as the laboratory.

A perfect example of this occurred on Wednesday, December 10th when students from this year’s class presented their findings from the media usage survey they conducted for Richmond International Raceway (RIR). This opportunity gave our students the experience of conducting a survey at a large scale event, compiling and tabulating the survey results, and presenting these results back to the client. What makes this opportunity so rewarding for the students is that the information they presented will be used to help guide RIR with their media strategy for the next NASCAR race in April of 2015.

rir survey 3

It is difficult to explain the feeling of pride I experience as I watch CSL students manage, perform & accomplish real-word tasks.  Whether it’s presenting to RIR or working game day at the Siegel Center, it is easy to notice the increased knowledge, quality of work, and improved confidence that each student exhibits as the school year progresses. Hands-on experiences in the office and at various sporting events give each student the opportunity to hone their skills toward a career in the sport industry. There is no better way to learn the ins and outs of this industry than to take what is learned in the classroom and apply it to real-life situations. That’s the CSL experience is all about.

December 16, 2014

Dr. LeCrom Honored with Excellence in Teaching Award

carrie award 3

Center for Sport Leadership Executive Director Dr. Carrie LeCrom is the recipient of the 2014 Ruch Award for Excellence in Teaching.  Dr. LeCrom was honored during School of Education graduation ceremonies this weekend at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.  Nominated by one of her former students, this award is given to the full time faculty member who consistently exhibits the following criteria: stimulates learning, encourages intellectual growth, includes current knowledge and research findings into instruction, models effective teaching methods, is supportive and accessible to students and exerts a positive influence on students.

carrie award 1

Dr. LeCrom (center) with CSL colleagues Dr. Greg Greenhalgh (left) and Dr. Brendan Dwyer (right) following School of Education graduation ceremonites last weekend.

Dr. LeCrom addressed the graduates during Saturday’s commencement. You can listen to her inspiring message below.





December 10, 2014

Faculty Forum-The Season of Giving


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by Mark Slavich, Ph.D. candidate

This week, students from the CSL took precious time out of their frenetic finals week to ring the Salvation Army charity bell at a local Kroger. While the students were told of the opportunity to serve, by no means were they forced. Given all they had going on this week, I expected only a few to participate. However, I was pleasantly amazed by the fact that nearly every student in the program took part in the activity. I could not help but be humbled by the generosity these students showed. While it was a mere single morning or afternoon given up, to me it was so much more than that. And it really made me ponder the subject of generosity and what it truly means.

If you are like me, the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about generosity is giving of money. While this is certainly an aspect of generosity, there is so much more to it. In addition to giving of one’s money, generosity encompasses giving of our time and talents. Like these students, often time is more difficult to give than money. Personally, I find myself regularly making excuses for not engaging in activities – whether they are generous acts or otherwise – because I feel I do not have time. As well-known author and pastor Rick Warren puts it, “Time is your most precious gift because you only have a set amount of it. You can make more money, but you can’t make more time. When you give someone your time, you are giving them a portion of your life that you’ll never get back. Your time is your life. That is why the greatest gift you can give someone is your time.”

In addition to giving of our time, another core component of generosity is giving of our talents. Generosity can be very fun and easy, while still very meaningful, because it bell ring 3involves using our skills and strengths, which we all enjoy using. If you enjoy cooking, bake cookies and bring them in to work or school. If you are known around the office as being very good with graphics, help someone prepare for an upcoming presentation. As renowned leadership expert John Maxwell puts it, generosity is about abundance. However, contrary to logical thinking, abundance is not having more to give; it is giving more of what you have.

The most incredible characteristic of generosity is that the more we give, the more joyful we become. Think about the people you know who are truly joyful, and then look at how they give of their time, talents, and money. We were created to be givers, so perhaps it should not be so surprising that a generous life brings true fulfillment.

So, in the middle of this holiday season, I encourage us all to consider how we can be generous in ways we have never thought of before. We can always give money to our favorite charity, but how else can we impact others? How can we give of our time, even in small amounts? What special talents and unique gifts do you have that you can use to help other people?

After all, that is what life is about – others.

Mark Slavich is a doctoral student at the Center for Sport Leadership. He is a native of Louisiana and a proud graduate of LSU. You can reach him by email at and follow him on Twitter: @markaslavich

December 9, 2014

Hat Tip Tuesday


CSL hat 2

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

glenn gray

Glenn Gray (’08) has been promoted to Director of Buffalo Brand Invigoration Group.  Formerly Buffalo Communications, this division of Billy Casper Golf is a full-service, global agency representing golf, sport, and lifestyle brands, destinations and communities.  Glenn will evolve Buffalo’s sport practice while maintaining lead on select golf clients. He will also assume an increased role in corporate strategy and business development. Most recently Manager, he has engineered successful PR and marketing programs for major brands across the golf, tennis, fitness, association, hospitality and luxury sectors worldwide.

RaShauna Hobbs

RaShauna Hobbs (’12) has accepted the position of Coordinator of Basketball Programs for the Atlanta Hawks.  RaShauna will oversee community relations initiatives for the team including camps, clinics and outreach.  Most recently, RaShauna was an account coordinator for GMR Marketing, a leading, global sports marketing company.

brad foster

Brad Foster (’15) has accepted a position as accountant with the University of Maryland Athletics Department.  Most recently, Brad was the business manager for the athletic department at Radford University, responsible for the day-to-day financial oversight of a Division I program comprised of 15 varsity teams and multiple supporting offices.  Brad is currently enrolled in our Distance Learning program and is scheduled to graduate in 2015.

December 3, 2014

Faculty Forum- Finish Strong

by Greg Greenhalgh, Ph.D.

As I write, my heart is still pounding. I just finished a three mile run.  The wife couldn’t join us tonight so it was just me and Miley, my dog, which meant I could set the pace. I don’t greenhalghtypically run very fast. I run for completion as I am built more for comfort. I finished the run with a sprint, if for no other reason than to make Miley upgrade from her typical mall-walk to a gallop.

Perhaps this change of pace (pun fully intended) was due to a conversation I had with Greg Burton this morning. Much like all of the good ideas I have ever had, I stole this one from someone else. Burton suggested I write my Faculty Forum on finishing strong. This seems very appropriate with respect to where we stand in the academic calendar. While much of this is directed at our current students, there are certainly some parallels which could be drawn to our alumni’s responsibilities at work. Even some commiserating could be done between our current students and our alumni.

Here we are at the beginning of December, so close to being halfway through the school year.  Our students have accomplished a lot but there is still work left. Now is the time when real leaders start to emerge.  There is no candy coating it: this is crunch time. Between major projects, papers, presentations, and exams, our students’ plates are full, possibly overflowing. Keeping with the food analogy: it’s time to dig in. The next two weeks are going to be crucial in the outcome of the semester for each of our students. While finish-stronggrades will be impacted by the decisions made over the next two weeks, there is an even greater outcome in my opinion. This adversity is a time to demonstrate that you can handle stressful situations. You can thrive in them. People are watching: your classmates, faculty, colleagues & co-workers. Your actions this time of year will impact how your peers see you. Ask our alumni about how stressed out they were at the end of each semester and I am sure they will be more than willing to swap war stories. They’ll likely recall with great detail which classmates rose to the occasion and which ones mailed it in. I would be willing to bet there is a correlation between career success and peer evaluated performance at the end of each semester. Actually, I would love for our alumni to share their thoughts/words of inspiration about finishing strong with our current students via Twitter @CSLatVCU or on Facebook at Center for Sport Leadership.

Unfortunately, this time of year can also create some self-doubt within many of our students. A couple of weeks ago Dr. LeCrom wrote a Faculty Forum titled You Belong at the Table. Her takeaway was sometimes you may feel like you don’t belong in a situation because you are not good enough. Her message is: you belong. As many of our students know, just by being admitted into the CSL, you are in a pretty rare group: we accept 35 students each year and receive over 100 applications.
Trust us, you belong here.

This actually makes me think of the powerful words we heard about a year ago from the legendary rugby coach Jack Clark. He emphasized that we are all either ascending or descending. There is no neutral. The best part of what Clark talked about was that everyday you get to make the decision as to whether you want to be ascending or descending. Now, like no other time, is when you need to be making a daily conscious effort to ascend. You just have to make the decision to dig in, make the necessary sacrifices and choose to ascend. Now is when you have to show those around you that you are going to finish strong.


Dr. Greg Greenhalgh is director of student services and outreach for the Center for Sport Leadership. You can reach him by email at Follow him on Twitter @Greg_Greenhalgh