Helping sports organization solve integrity, growth, and development challenges

Communications / Media Relations

Q: Do you have a good speech on the importance of sports participation for boys and girls?

I am often asked for a copy of my speech on "The Difference Between Good and Great:  The Lessons of Sport".  Unfortunately, I've never reduced this speech to a formal document, usually speaking from bullet point notes.  I have transcribed these notes below.  Please feel free to use these ideas as you see fit.  I firmly believe that someone who achieves excellence in any endeavor has the same characteristics and work ethic as the champion in sport.   – Donna Lopiano

Ten Tips for Relationship Building

A guest contribution from the President of Imagine Philanthropy...

Whether you are running your own nonprofit, building a sports program or starting a new business, here are my suggested “Top Ten Methods for Success”.  Please note that these are in no particular order although I personally value 1‐4 in people I work with! Success will come sooner when all are done well and consistently.

Terminating a Popular Coach

Most managers agree that one of the most difficult tasks they face is firing an employee. When that employee is a coach, especially a popular coach or one who is highly visible in the community, the process is even more stress¬ful. Yet few textbooks help the athletic director deal with this common challenge. The problem to be solved is how to terminate a popular coach while handling all of the stakeholders interested or upset about this personnel decision.

Q: Why is the "chain of command" so important?

Governance is the formal control of the operation of the athletics program through decision-making according to specified authorities.  The athletics director is only one decision-maker in a chain of school district or institutional decision-makers.  Decisions by these institutional or school district authorities are affected by external governmental and non-governmental decision-makers such as lawmakers (local, state and federal governments and their education agencies), accreditation agencies and athletics program governance organizations (conference, state, national).

Social Media and the Issue of Respect

There is a tendency for athletics departments to place stringent restrictions on the use of social media by student-athletes.  On one hand, social media use should not be used to violate athletics department or institutional policies on such standard subjects as sexual harassment, bullying, respectful conduct,  or conformance with NCAA or governance association rules.  On the other hand, every student-athlete and staff member has a right to free speech.  Thus, the athletics department should consider utilizing educational efforts as its primary mechanism to encourage responsible use of soci

Q: Why are efforts to increase media coverage of women's sports important?

The media shapes the public's perceptions of the accomplishments of women playing sports and whether women in general can be strong, confident and highly skilled.  The media also shapes the dreams and aspirations of girls.  Boys grow up watching television, bombarded by heroic and confident images of themselves playing sports and being revered for their accompplishments.  They know they are expected to play sports and are encouraged to do so by everyone around them.  Girls do not receive these same messages.