MOBILE, Ala. – The University of South Alabama Department of Athletics announced Monday the creation of the Student-Athlete Leadership Academy, a program that will assist student-athletes and coaches in their continual quest to become world-class leaders in athletics, academics, and life.
The Student-Athlete Leadership Academy will provide comprehensive and cutting-edge leadership development programming through interactive workshops, 360-degree feedback, one-on-one coaching, peer mentoring, supplemental online training and educational resources. Anticipated benefits of the programming include providing coaches with reliable, responsible, and respected student-athlete leaders while also helping student-athletes gain the confidence and skills to be effective leaders. Other expected results from the creation of the program are equipping student-athletes with highly-marketable leadership skills for their careers, easing the transition of freshmen and transfer student-athletes into the Jaguar family, and maintaining and enhancing student-athlete academic performance and graduation rates.
Not only does this innovative Leadership Academy maintain and enhance South Alabama's reputation nationally, it provides the department with a powerful advantage in attracting highly-talented student-athletes and coaches.
For a list of members of the 2018-19 class of Emerging and Veteran leaders — all nominated for participation in the academy by their respective head coaches — click here
Leadership development programming for student-athletes targets two specific groups based on their year in school as well as their readiness to assume leadership roles. The two programs include the Emerging Leaders program for developing leaders as sophomores and juniors, and the Veteran Leaders program for established leaders as juniors and seniors.
The Emerging Leaders program provides prospective leaders with the insights, strategies, and skills necessary to become effective leaders on their team, on campus and in the community. Through ongoing workshops, interactive exercises, action learning experiences and readings, the year-long Emerging Leaders program provides a strong foundation for student-athletes to develop into effective team leaders.
Designed for team captains and veteran student-athlete leaders from all 17 South Alabama sport programs, the Veteran Leaders program provides established team leaders with advanced leadership training and support. The program teaches student-athletes the critical skills and insights necessary to be effective vocal leaders as they manage and conquer the day-to-day responsibilities and challenges of leadership. In addition to the education, Veteran Leaders also provides student-athlete leaders with a strong peer network to lean on and learn from throughout the program. Student-athletes meet regularly to learn and reinforce leadership principles and share successes, frustrations, and lessons.
"I am a huge proponent of the Leadership Academy because we want our student-athletes to know that at South Alabama we care about them as people first," Jaguar head softball coach Becky Clark said. "As a department, we are always looking for ways to invest in our student-athletes, and providing opportunities for self-awareness and personal growth is just another step in that direction. I applaud our administration for seeing the benefit of bringing in Jeff Janssen's leadership team to share their years of knowledge with our student-athletes. The goal should always be to help grow better people as well as better players."
"I've been a big fan of Jeff Janssen and his Leadership Academy for a number of years, I have a couple of his books and leadership manuals," said Jag women's basketball coach Terry Fowler. "As a leader, you aren't trying to create followers, you're trying to create other leaders. That's why I've been a big supporter of this program. The more leaders we can have within the women's basketball team and the athletic department, we all can grow from that. It helps South Alabama athletics and it helps the University of South Alabama as a whole."
The program for the Student-Athlete Leadership Academy was developed with assistance from the Janssen Sports Leadership Center. The organization has helped implement similar programs for numerous coaches associations, professional clubs, colleges and high schools across the country for the last 15 years.
"We were interested in partnering with South Alabama because the athletic department is truly committed to providing student-athletes with powerful leadership skills that will make a difference on the playing fields, in the locker room, in the classroom, on campus, and in the community," said Janssen. "We expect to see results in the first semester and an even greater and deeper impact as the Academy develops a foundation and the student-athletes move through the different levels and gain more advanced leadership skills. The program is highly interactive so the student-athletes love the activities, the stories, and the practical applications. They see the relevance of the leadership strategies to help their teams be more successful, and they also love getting to know and working with fellow student-athlete leaders from across the athletic department who care passionately about their team's success. It is a great way to bond everyone across the department and support a championship culture. Student-athletes also understand that this comprehensive leadership training provides them with a distinct advantage when they move into the professional world; employers love people who have leadership training and experience.
"The best Leadership Academies have strong buy in and support at all levels," he added. "When administrators, coaches, and student-athletes are all on the same page passionately supporting the same vision, values, and standards, great things happen. We look forward to supporting and developing leaders at all levels at South Alabama."
For more information about South Alabama athletics, check back with www.usajaguars.com, and follow the Jaguars at www.twitter.com/WeAreSouth_JAGS. Season tickets for all Jaguar athletic events can be purchased by calling (251) 461-1USA (1872).
Join the South Circle, the unrestricted giving option of the University of South Alabama Athletics. Contributions to the South Circle directly support all 17 sports in addition to various support programming. For more information on how you can join visit: http://jaguarathleticfund.com/give