CSL Daily

January 31, 2017

Alumni Profile: Courtney Hughes

When VCU squares off against cross-town rival Richmond in basketball twice each year, Courtney Hughes is in a unique situation: she has a degree from both schools. Courtney was a sprinter and long jumper for the UR Track where she earned hear undergraduate degree in 2006. She then enrolled in the Center for Sport Leadership in 2007, earning for master’s degree. Courtney would return to UR where she is currently the Associate Director of Academic Support, where she is focused on life skills for athletes, helping to educate, inspire, and enable them to achieve beyond even their academic, athletic, and personal aspirations. Just recently, Courtney added the title of Disability Services Coordinator.
This Q & A was conducted by CSL graduate student Betsy Cutler.


BC: What unique challenges do you face at your position that people may not be aware of or maybe you didn’t anticipate prior to starting there?

CH: The University of Richmond is certainly a unique place that heralds both top-notch academic and athletic programs.  As a graduate of the University of Richmond, I have had the opportunity and pleasure to see this institution continue to get better each and every year. As the curriculum transforms to meet the needs of our students, it is amazing to witness my student-athletes develop the skills necessary to compete both in intellectually challenging classrooms and against top level competition on the courts and fields.  This combination of rigor brings unique challenges in and of itself.  There is a higher level of teaching students to not struggle with problem-solving surrounding daily issues along with the ability to function independent of parental support. The level of pressure placed upon students, and goal setting is at an all-time high as they strive to meet perceived expectations. We are truly the epitome of all it means to be a scholar athlete.


BC: What is something you learned in the CSL that you built upon or are still implementing today?

CH: Throughout my CSL education, I learned a myriad of skills and attributes that would engage both myself and others throughout my career.  Many of these lie directly in the CSL’s foundational core values.  Throughout my day, I am challenged with empowering others.  Academically, it is my hope to promote academic excellence to each and every student-athlete that walks through the University of Richmond.  My goals are to create collaborative and authentic working relationships with all of my students in to enable them to be the best they can be.  Students are able to sense if you are being authentic or not and having an empathetic heart contributes to open collaboration.  Just as the CSL desires its students to garner leadership and communication skills, I too have that same hope for my students.  Communication is a highly sought after job trait and the CSL did an excellent job of reinforcing this skill I so heavily rely on each day when interacting with students, coaches, staff, and all members of the university community.

I also cannot go without mentioning the aspect of valuing global mindedness.  As a student in the CSL, I had the most amazing experiences abroad.  I will never forget taking part in the European Model of Sport and traveling to Greece, Germany, and The Netherlands. It was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity and experience in which I learned how the aspect of sport brings people together in amazing ways in addition to being capable of breaking down almost any barrier.  Global Mindedness in regards to study abroad has continued in my current role.  We have a very large percentage of student athletes who travel abroad, especially throughout the summer, for both internships and academic coursework. With the help of the University, we were able to create and design an intensive Spanish language study abroad program, in which students are able to not only meet their Language Communication General Education requirements, but also cater to their athletic training and workout regimes while abroad.


BC: Does your Athletic Department believe it has a fundamental responsibility to do everything possible to support their player’s mental health?

CH: Athletics plays a key role in recognizing and providing support for student-athletes struggling with mental health related issues. It is important that departments have appropriate policies, procedures and protocol in place to assist coaches, staff and support personnel with the tools to effectively assist student-athletes who are displaying behaviors that are troublesome and who may be actually experiencing a crisis. Athletic departments should work diligently with the institution as whole to maximize resources and support for student-athletes with mental health related issues.


BC: Do you have a program that introduces your players to stressors they need to be aware of and where to go for different kinds of help?

CH: Our Department of Sports Medicine prides itself on the health and safety of our student-athletes being a top priority.  They have the personnel and protocols in place to assist student-athletes in accessing mental health services through the university’s Psychological and Counseling Services as well as outside counselors or other resources. Our Athletic Department has tremendous relationships with other sectors on campus and throughout the greater Richmond community for greater collaboration and support.  Prior to the beginning of every school year, each team undergoes an orientation in which they are introduced to the many available services.  The university also provides all student with information regarding supports available on and off campus during freshman orientation. Also, we recently began the facilitation of a student-athlete wellness course that contains aspects of student-athlete well-being including stressors related to being a student-athlete.


BC: Who is the most influential person you have met in the industry, and how did they impact you professionally?

CH: Basketball Hall of Famer, Nancy Lieberman, certainly brings an inspiring message everywhere she travels and I am quite fortunate to know and have met her through my time here at The University of Richmond.  As a groundbreaking pioneer for all women in the sports industry, her influence is difficult to match.  The strength she has displayed, and her continued work to break barriers and motivate others is phenomenal.  In conjunction with the University of Richmond’s Westhampton College Centennial Celebration, Lieberman spoke to all of our student-athletes on the topics of teamwork and leadership.  Both of these are attributes that resonated with me while being immersed into the curriculum as a student in the CSL, and also ones I work hard to achieve daily, both professionally, and in all aspects of my life.





January 30, 2017


When we were creating our core values three years ago, we had some pretty deep and intense discussions about what to include. We knew we wanted about four or five characteristics that most accurately reflected our beliefs and what we expect from our students.

The core value that generated the least debate was Global-Minded.  Each of the staff and faculty strongly agreed that a global perspective on sports, and for that matter, society, was critical to their development and growth and should absolutely be included among our core values.

As stated on our website, Global-Minded: focused on and actively participating in the ever-changing global sports landscape. 

I’ve been thinking about being globally-minded a lot lately, probably because of the events of this weekend which are bigger and far more important than sports. I am so glad the Center for Sport Leadership promotes a global perspective on sports because I have no doubt it will train our students to look beyond our borders and always consider the unfamiliar perspectives.

Dr. LeCrom is leaving for South Africa tomorrow for the final phase of #ProjectPUSH. We’ll be sharing some pics of her trip and taking a look back at this transformative initiative and the amazing relationships that have been built. It will serve as a perfect reminder to all of us to strive and stay global-minded.

January 27, 2017

Road Trip : Longwood University


We’ve been doing more on-campus recruiting at schools in and around Virginia this year. On Thursday. Abby Bergakker and Greg Burton made a visit to Longwood University. The Lancers Athletic Department has six CSL alumni working there, including Athletic Director Troy Austin, who took time out of his scheduled to talk to Longwood undergrads who are interested in our program. The visit was hosted by Dr. Tim Coffey, Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator for Longwood’s Exercise Science Program, who allowed us to speak to students in his class.



Senior Associate AD Michelle Shular and Assistant AD for Development Trey Eggleston , both CSL alums, also spoke to at an information session later in the day. Our alums shared their CSL experience and talked about how the program impact their lives and careers. Thanks to Troy, Michelle and Trey for supporting our program. The next deadline to apply to our on-campus program is March 1. The final deadline is April 15. 



January 26, 2017

Lucio (’15) Talks Sponsorships with SEED Class

Our SEED class took on a new look this year. The Fall semester, taught by Jerrine Lee (’10), focused exclusively on best practices in event & facility management. This semester, SEED groups will focus on their events. Lee remains a consultant for the class along with Dr. LeCrom, while the rest of the faculty and moderators serve as an advisor for one of the events. A significant amount of class time will be devoted to planning their events but several guest speakers will also visit to address one of the responsibilities the students must address.

On Wednesday, Santiago Lucio (’15) spoke the class about sponsorships. Each of the groups must cover their expenses through sponsorships or donations. Lucio is currently the Director of Business Development for the Richmond Kickers and has found his calling in the sponsorship world. Lucio shared his SEED experience and how it sparked an interest in selling sponsorships. He also encouraged students to put the potential sposnor first, evaluate their needs and try to provide as much value as possible.

Here’s a list of the other speakers and topics that will be featured in SEED class:

  • Feb. 8       Media and PR: Pete Woody (’09) & Nan Turner (’13), Sportsbackers
  • Feb 15     Finding and working with volunteers: Ally Trusdale, Special Olympics
  • Feb 22     Logistical considerations: Nate Doughty, VCU Athletics
  • March 1   Working with kids: Rachel Rhoney (’11) , Lobs & Lessons
  • March 22  Post-event Follow up: Tracey Leverty, Echelon Event Management


January 26, 2017

Alumni Profile: Kevin Warner (’07)

Kevin Warner’s career began before he even earned his undergraduate degree.
Warner was coordinating campaigns and student organizations as a student at James Madison University.  His desire to learn more about the athletics media relations business earned him a job in the sports media relations office while he was a student. This experience led him to jobs with the Colonial Athletic Association and Eastern Mennonite University.  Warner eventually landed back at JMU. While working full-time for the Dukes, Kevin earned his master’s degree in the CSL’s Distance Learning program. Currently, Kevin, in his 11th year working at JMU, is the Assistant A.D. of Communications for James Madison University Athletics
This interview was conducted by CSL graduate student Andy Hogue.


Andy Hogue: What aspect of the CSL program most prepared you for the position that you currently have?

Kevin Warner: My CSL degree came after I was already employed at JMU. So, it didn’t help me to get hired, but I think it did add to my personal and professional growth. The perspective provided by master’s level study has certainly been helpful for the career advancement opportunities that I’ve had at JMU. So the most helpful aspect was that higher-level approach and perspective to working in sports and how you approach your profession.


AH: What is the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome working in this industry and how did you do it?

KW: Without a doubt, the biggest obstacle is time management and work-life balance. There is no way around the fact that working in sports requires sacrifice and more importantly a patient spouse. There are going to be challenging times. Everyone’s personal situation is different, so you have to find a solution that works for you to not let your profession dictate your life. It’s a constant reevaluation. By no means have I solved the puzzle. This issue is a question that enters my mind almost daily to make sure I’m keeping myself in check.


AH: How has the CSL network helped you not only first getting started in the industry, but each step along the way in your career?

KW: Because I was an online student, the idea of a CSL network probably looks a little different to me than the on-campus students. I valued my experience with the program but simply didn’t have the chance to form the bonds that you experience in a classroom. That said, it’s always a great experience to meet someone new and learn that they are a CSL grad. We both immediately know that we share the valuable perspective on sport leadership which the CSL program provides. It is an inherent bond that certainly makes a difference.


AH: What is the best advice you would give to a current student in the CSL in reference on how to manage their expectations of trying to get that dream job right after graduation?

KW: I don’t say this to burst bubbles, but the dream job probably isn’t going to happen right out of the CSL program. That said, students can certainly find a great internship or entry-level position that will start them on their path. As stated in the question, “managing expectations” is a big key. I went through undergrad with many students who thought they’d get a degree in sports and jump right into the field. Most of them are in other lines of work now. You have to get involved and invest in yourself now. I know the CSL provides GA opportunities, but don’t settle for that. Reach out to any sports entities you can think of within a reasonable radius of Richmond and get involved. Learn more in your field or even branch out into another field. If you want to be a SID, for example, it never hurts to find a video production company and do some basic tasks like running a camera for games or learn sports photography or graphic design. In today’s professional environment, I look for proactive individuals and a those with a diversified skill set. That’s going to make my team better.


AH: What is the most creative piece of content you have produced as a Sports Information Director?

KW: I’m not sure that I have one piece that really stands out. I helped to launch and grow all of our social media accounts at JMU. Now my job is more to hire the right creative minds and give them the tools and freedom to pursue creative content. So in that regard, my role is more to recognize the need for certain types of content and identifying the people who can help us to get there.

Editor’s note: Kevin and his team spearheaded the process of creating  JMU’s new logos and marks for their athletic teams. You can check them here.

January 25, 2017

CSL’s Distance Learning Program Ranked Top 15 in the Country

The Center for Sport Leadership at VCU has been honored as one of the top
schools for online sports management degree programs in the country. Sports Management Degree Guide ranked the CSL’s Distance Learning program 14th in the nation.

“We truly appreciate this recognition. The Center for Sport Leadership identified the need and desire for a high quality online curriculum early on and that has allowed us to grow and refine our program to maximize the benefit for our students,” said Carrie LeCrom, Executive Director.

In recognizing the CSL, the Sports Management Degree Guide published the following:

The Center for Sports Leadership at Virginia Commonwealth University features an online Master of Education in Sport Leadership with minimum on campus requirements. Students can begin the program in either the fall, spring, or summer semester. Students are required to complete one course on campus, with most distance students electing to complete a one week summer intensive course. Students also have the opportunity to travel to Europe to fulfill their on-campus course requirements by completing the European Model of Sport course. Students travel for about 12 days learning the business of sports with a global perspective. Students can also earn up to three credit hours by completing an externship opportunity to gain professional work experience.


Click here to see the full rankings.

The deadline to apply to our Distance Learning program for the Summer 2017 semester is March 15. The deadline for the Fall 2017 semester is April 15. For more information, email Academic Coordinator Maggie McFadden