Answering the call to help coaches stand out in one of the nation’s fastest growing fields, Wittenberg University is now offering the master of arts in athletic coaching. Courses began this fall.
With careers in coaching and in the sports industry as a whole on the rise across the nation, professional competition is increasing. Obtaining a master’s degree in the field will provide students with the education, experience and competitive edge needed for success.
“Wittenberg University Athletics is proud and excited to be given the opportunity to offer this graduate program,” said Steve Dawson, director of the M.A. in athletic coaching program at Wittenberg and head coach for men’s soccer from 1982 to 2014. “It is essential that we, as a society, meet the need for qualified, professional coaches to teach and educate the ever-expanding numbers of sport participants at all levels and in various institutions.”
According to Forbes.com, the sports market was worth $60.5 billion in 2014 and is projected to rise to $73.5 billion by 2019, making it one of the fastest growing sectors of the American economy. Dawson said that youth sports is a $7 billion industry, which is instrumental in producing more than half a million college athletes each year across NCAA Division I, II, III, NAIA and junior colleges.
“This continual growth in athletic pursuit by participants has led to the emergence of new sport programs at every level,” he said. “This expansion of participants and teams has led to a demand for more coaches. However, we do not need coaches who just “fill the seat;” we need coaches who fulfill the mission of coaching - to mentor, develop, educate, inspire and guide.”
Wittenberg’s program is designed to provide students with crucial skills and insightful knowledge to become strong leaders in the coaching profession. This graduate program will consistently encourage students to push themselves beyond the X’s and O’s and to understand the full range of skills needed to be a successful coach at any level.
The program will also provide students with a high-quality, experiential learning environment and constant opportunities to engage instructors and mentors with significant experience in the coaching and administration world of youth, high school, and intercollegiate athletics. Students will gain skills and expertise in coaching and research, along with contemporary approaches to teaching and training in their sport of choice. They will also have the opportunity to gain exposure to athletic teams, athletic department operations and networking beyond the classroom, while acquiring the skills to inspire and drive athletes to achieve at their highest level.
“The best coaches understand that the ‘job’ of coaching extends well beyond teaching skills and strategies,” said Sarah Jurewicz, coordinator of the program. “Wittenberg’s program will assist students in developing the skills and equip them with the knowledge they need outside the competitive environment to build and maintain high levels of success in any program.”
There are full- or part-time enrollment options, and students are encouraged to start (or continue) their coaching endeavor while completing the program. The curriculum is also designed for students to start in any semester of their choosing.