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Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Louise L. MacKay

Committee Members

Cecil N. Blankenship, Glenn Bettis, Nancy Dishner


The purpose of this qualitative research study was to determine where the need for a sports education program exists in the rural areas of Southeastern Tennessee. The problem was to define key elements needed to establish a curriculum and a leadership process for the adults involved in youth sports.

Twenty-three youth sports directors were interviewed. The youth sports directors in this study perceived a child-centered program along with sportsmanship, character, responsibility, rebuilding participation, and the impact of a role model as the guiding principles for the mission of any youth sports program. Other emergent themes included curriculum topics such as rules and fundamental skills of each sport, safety and health issues, security, communication and teaching methods, conflict management, how to deal with adversity, and organization skills.

The retention of top coaches and leaders in youth sports is important. The perceptions of the 23 sports directors in rural Southeastern Tennessee programs are vital in clarifying the sports educational needs for coaches and leaders. Sports education clinics and forums, as well as ongoing training, allow opportunities for directors, commissioners, coaches, and other community leaders to meet and discuss issues that are essential to providing the best experience for children while continuing to retain the best leaders and supporters of the programs. The implication from this study is that communities and higher education institutions should also consider the training and preparedness of future youth sports leaders to be successful beyond the x's and o's. Attention should be paid to the differences in communities that have a sports education program in place and those that do not and the support of community leaders for a youth sports program.

Document Type

Dissertation - restricted


Copyright by the authors.