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Next Level Coaching Academy kicks off at IUPUI


INDIANAPOLIS — A dozen college coaches from Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio are the first “students” in a new online development academy launched Aug. 17 by the IU School of Physical Education and Tourism Management at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

The goal of the Next Level Coaching Academy is to develop coaches into high-performing, ethical and diverse leaders prepared to immediately assume head coaching and leadership roles in today’s rapidly changing athletics environment, said Jay Gladden, dean of the school.

Over nine months, the coaches will complete 18 modules covering a range of subjects on leadership, athletic programs and career development, Gladden said. The modules include managing conflict, ethics and decision-making, developing a coaching philosophy, and recruiting, retaining and inspiring student-athletes.

The first group of coaches will finish the program in June with a three-day educational program at IUPUI. The coaches come from DePauw University, Wittenberg University and Carthage College.

The decision to create the academy was made after a survey of existing leadership programs for college coaches showed options were limited, Gladden said.

The Next Level Coaching Academy provides developmental experiences not often available to coaches, Gladden said. The program is designed for assistant and associate coaches who aspire to be head coaches one day and for new head coaches looking to expand their network of ideas and support across a diverse spectrum of institutions, regions, sports and leaders.

“If you talk to coaches who made the transition from assistant coach to head coach, they will tell you that there is a lot more to it than they thought there was,” Gladden said.

Among challenges these coaches face:

  • How to develop the right culture or change the existing culture.
  • How to create a positive reputation for an athletic program.
  • What identity does a coach wants to create for himself or herself.
  • How to identify stakeholders, including faculty, alumni and donors, and how to manage those relationships.

Four college athletic directors are among the academy’s advisory board members: Stevie Baker-Watson, director of athletics at DePauw University; Jan Hathorn, athletic director at Washington & Lee; Gary Williams, director of athletics and recreation at Wittenberg University; and Alfreeda Goff, interim director of athletics at IUPUI.