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Learning leadership with a sports lens

Creighton basketball on courtIf your 8-year-old girls soccer team seems unable to grasp the finer points of passing, or your high school boys baseball team seems a little unsettled, you might find solutions at Creighton University.

Creighton’s new Graduate Certificate in Sports Leadership is designed for anyone who works with coaches, players or sports organizations in general. Beyond that, for those not directly working in sports, it can provide some compelling and meaningful engagement in the stories, competitions, and dynamics of competition, winning and losing, and capitalizing on opportunities.

It is, says Gretchen Oltman, PhD, program director of Creighton’s Master of Science in Organizational Leadership program, an innovative way to study leadership through a sports lens.

“Anyone who has a passion for sports, the stories of sports, the tales of athletes, the organization of sports entities, the impact of sports on our culture and politics, and even the history of Creighton sports will love this certificate,” she says.

“Athletic directors, coaches, Little League coaches, parents, superfans, youth organized sports leaders, even just sports afficianados and supporters will find this a great asset to a professional skill base. For those in higher education, this will be a great addition to credentials they may already be building.”

Oltman says she had no doubt, given its national profile in athletics, that Creighton had the resources to build a valuable sports leadership program.

“Creighton has such a rich tradition in athletics and in sports going back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries,” she says. “The institution of sports and the structures of organizational leadership speak a common language, and Creighton’s deep experience with both of those is what really inspired us to create this certificate offering.”

The graduate certificate, which is conducted entirely online, deals with failure and resiliency; lessons drawn from extraordinary coaches and athletes; contemporary issues in sports leadership; principles of sports leadership; and coaching and leading through an Ignatian lens.

The sports leadership program launched this fall. The next application deadline is Dec. 1 for Spring 2021 enrollment.

“It's not a program to prepare you necessarily to lead the Yankees or to be the coach of the Patriots,” Oltman says. “It's a program that will allow people seeking an intellectual pursuit and a love of sports, to say, ‘Hey, why not study this at Creighton, where there’s a long legacy of excellence in sports and leadership?’

“It definitely has the Creighton flavor.”


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