CSL Daily

August 9, 2017

ENVEST (Day #1) – Welcome to Astana

After a long day of travel, Wednesday was our first day on the ground in Astana, and this place is decked out for EXPO 2017. Our agenda was on the lighter side today, as tomorrow is the first day of the Summit, but we still managed to sneak in some important activities.

First, we had lunch at the US Embassy in Astana and met with US Ambassador, George A. Krol (center with tie). In true ENVEST fashion, it was not the typical meet and greet, as it occurred in is traditional Kazakstani yurt

Did you know? Kazakstan is roughly the size of the continent of Europe, yet has a population only 18 million people (the same size as the state of New York).

After our meeting at the embassy, we had to put in a serious day of preparation. The next five days will be jam packed with programming and soccer, so we had plenty to do. We spent time brainstorming change projects (pictured to right), we picked up supplies and groceries, and we scoped out our location (thank you QSI-Astana).

Did you know? Kazakhstan is home to the only active space launch site in the world, Baikonur. Located in southern kazakstan, Baikonur, has been the Russian site for space travel since 1957 and remains active today.

We saved the best for last, as we spent our evening with our first foreign delegation to arrive, Kyrgysztan. We enjoyed a long walk, entertaining dinner, and lively dance with our new friends from Bishkek.

Tommorrow starts at 9am (or 11pm EST) with a welcome from the Deputy US Ambassador. Tomorrow’s themes are openness to others and relationship building.

August 8, 2017

Hat Tip Tuesday

On Tuesdays, we offer a “tip of the hat” to current students and alumni who have been hired, promoted, recognized for outstanding achievement or embarked on new opportunities.


Alyce Bryant (’16) has been hired as Assistant Director of Athletic Media Relations at UVA-Wise. Alyce will be the primary contact for men’s basketball, assist with football and provide support for Wise’s 12 other sports. Most recently, Alyce was a communications intern for the Washington Redskins.


Jesse Bopp (’10) has been hired as a Varsity Basketball Coach for IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL. Jesse brings seven years of collegiate and high school coaching experience to IMG, one of the premier training facilities in the country.




August 8, 2017

ENVEST Delegation Leaves for Kazakhstan

Our ENVEST delegation of 8 youth players and 6 adults left Monday morning for the long journey to Astana, Kazakhstan where they will lead a youth development summit using soccer to generate cultural understanding and create social change.  You can follow their journey on this blog and on the ENVEST Facebook page.

August 1, 2017

Hat Tip Tuesday

On Tuesdays, we offer a “tip of the hat” to current students and alumni who have been hired, promoted, recognized for outstanding achievement or embarked on new opportunities.


Hannah Wagner McSwain (’13) has been hired as Events Coordinator for ESPN.  Based out of Charlotte, Hannah will be working on all ESPN owned collegiate events including pre-season basketball, bowl games, and award shows. Her work will encompass every aspect of the event from operations to marketing to ticketing. Previously, Hannah worked in sports marketing for Belk.


Mike Fisher has been hired as Assistant AD of Development at James Madison’s Duke Club. Previously, Mike was the Director of the Old Dominion Athletic Fund. Mike joins two other CSL alums working for the Duke Club: Senior Associate AD for Development Justin Jannuzzi and Assistant Director for Development Scooter Renkin.


Murray Littlepage (’12) has been hired as Director of Marketing for Southern Miss Athletics. Murray will oversee the marketing efforts for all 13 sports with a focus on gameday experience. Previously, Murray was the assistant director of marketing at Tulane for the past two years.



July 25, 2017

CSL to Lead Sport Diplomacy Mission to Kazakhstan

The Center for Sport Leadership at VCU will lead a delegation of local soccer coaches and youth soccer players to Kazakhstan this summer for a program aimed at ways sports can create social change.

The program, called ENVEST (Empowering New Voices through Education and Sport Training) is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs through their Sports Diplomacy Division.  The Richmond-based delegation will be traveling to Astana, Kazakhstan from August 7-13 where they will meet up with coaches and players from Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan. The visit will coincide with the World Expo taking place in Astana this summer.

ENVEST will operate under the leadership of CSL Executive Director Dr. Carrie LeCrom, who has been awarded three previous grants from the U.S. Department of State and has partnered with them to lead sport-for-development missions in Ethiopia, China and South Africa.

“We are grateful to be working with U.S. Department of State again to provide impactful sport for development programming. The trip to Kazakhstan is unique because it is the first time youth will be part of our delegation,” said LeCrom.

The youth players and coaches will participate in programming designed to promote cultural understanding. Groups from all countries will create action plans using soccer as a vehicle to address social issues effecting their communities.

The Center for Sport Leadership at VCU is partnering with the Richmond Strikers Soccer Club and the Football Federation of Kazakhstan. Following the U.S. delegation’s visit this summer, a delegation from Kazakhstan and other participating countries will visit the United States in early 2018.

“By incorporating strategic partners in a productive way, ENVEST has the potential to not only be impactful to those involved, but to have a ripple effect, reaching so many others as well,” said LeCrom.

Learn more about the trip and the delegation through our ENVEST Facebook page.
The delegation headed to Kazakhstan includes the following people:
Carrie LeCrom (VCU)
Brendan Dwyer (VCU)
Jen Gellock (VCU)
Tiesha Martin (VCU)
Will Bates (Strikers)
Pat McStay (Strikers)
Todd Johnson (Strikers)
Mitchell Brown
Nicholas Cavallo
Ethan Johnson
Nicole Mills
Michael Morrissey
Connor Peed
Anne Christian Robertson
Nick Vantre


July 25, 2017

Hat Tip Tuesday

On Tuesdays, we offer a “tip of the hat” to current students and alumni who have been hired, promoted, recognized for outstanding achievement or embarked on new opportunities.


Matt Butta (’15) has been hired as Assistant Director of Athletics Development at American University. Previously, Matt was an Account Executive with Virginia Sports Properties in Charlottesville.


Karise Baxter (’14) has been hired as Assistant Track & Field Coach at Virginia Union University.  Karise will be working with both the men’s & women’s teams, focusing on sprinters and hurdlers.



Chris Kautza (’10) has been hired as Assistant Commissioner for External Relations/Marketing for the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.   Kautza will be working with various NSIC stakeholders. The position will be the liaison from the Commissioner’s Office in support of the conference development directors.