Tom Farrey is an award-winning journalist, author, and director of the Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program. A veteran reporter for ESPN, his work on youth football safety for Outside the Lines in 2014 earned ESPN its very first Alfred I. duPont Award, the most prestigious award in broadcast journalism. He is the author of Game On: The All-American Race to Make Champions of Our Children, an investigation into the culture of modern youth sports. Following the publication of this book he founded the Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program with the goal of addressing contemporary issues in youth sport and identifying solutions. In line with this mission he launched the program’s current initiative, Project Play, which brings together leaders and experts on a variety of topics in an effort to reimagine youth sports in America and explore how sport can serve the public interest by developing healthy children and
Dave McCann is the CEO of Sport Development Concepts, which provides consulting on all matters having to do with the development of sport, including recruitment, retention, and advancement of athletes. He is one of the nation’s leading experts on Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) and player-centered development of sport. Previously he served as Director of Rugby Development and Director of Coaching for USA Rugby, Manager of Coaching Education for the US Olympic Committee, and Director of the Institute for Sport Coaching. In 2011 he created the National Coaching Conference, which brings together coaches, coach educators, and program administrators to discuss and develop solutions to improve our national sports development, education, and performance system. In 2007 he was elected President of the National Council for Accreditation of Coaching Education. Throughout his career he has trained over 3,000 sport coaches and instructors in clinics across the nation.
Robin Schepper is a senior advisor to the Bipartisan Policy Center’s nutrition and physical activity initiative. She is the former executive director of the first lady’s initiative Let’s Move! In that role, Schepper built up the program and worked with twelve federal agencies, tribal governments, local elected officials, national organizations, sports leagues, media celebrities, and the private sector to find ways to engage every sector of society to combat the epidemic of childhood obesity. She uses her background in international events, four Democratic presidential campaigns, communications and community organizing to bring stakeholders together to develop strategies for helping kids be more physically active and to get the nutrition they need. Over the past 20 years, Schepper’s career has spanned many arenas. She has served as Washington state director for Clinton-Gore, consulted for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, and served as a committee staff director for Senator Tom Daschle
Jay Coakley is professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs. His book, Sports in Society: Issues and Controversies will soon be in its 12th edition. Coakley currently is a visiting professor of sport development and management at the University of Chichester in the UK. He has recently studied legacy issues related to the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the Rio 2016 Olympic Games; and he has done research on sport and national identity in Slovenia and the United States. Coakley is the author of many articles and book chapters, and lectures frequently at universities and public forums worldwide. His focus includes youth sports, individual and social development, race and ethnicity, and gender, among other topics. He has worked with Project Play since its inception.
Brian Gearity was recently named Director of the Master of Arts degree in Sport Coaching at the University of Denver. He recently served as Guest Editor for a special issue of Strength and Conditioning Journal on coach education. He was an Assistant Professor in Sport Coaching Education at the University of Southern Mississippi and a volunteer strength/football coach at Purvis High School. He was the strength and conditioning coach for the Cleveland Indians, the University of Tennessee, and John Carroll University. His research interests include coach quality, coach-athlete relationships, and coaches’ use of power-knowledge and its effects on athletes.
With 20 years of experience in player development and a long history as a coach and administrator with USA Hockey, Ken Martel was named technical director of USA Hockey’s American Development Model in May 2009. He is charged with helping provide a blueprint for associations nationwide to follow for optimal athlete development. Martel has spent the last four years (2006-10) at USA Hockey’s national office in Colorado Springs, Colo., working on coaching education and player development projects in the organization’s youth hockey department. Among his accomplishments, he led the organization’s efforts in the development of the highly successful USA Hockey Skills and Drills for the Complete Player and Coach DVD. For his efforts using science to advance sport, Martel received the USOC “Doc” Councilman Award for Ice Hockey in 2004.
Since 1985 John has been working for the National Governing Body of the sport, USA Volleyball (USAV), now as Director of Sport Development. He serves as the staff liaison for Disabled Programs, USA Deaflympic Teams, Starlings USA, National Parks and Recreation Assoc., the YMCA and over 30 other Affiliated Organizations working with USAV. He is Secretary of the NORCECA Technical, Coaches and Development Commission, and World Organization for the Disabled Director of Development. He was Team Leader for the 2000 USA Olympic Beach Volleyball Teams in Sydney, which brought home one gold medal, and for the 2004 USA Paralympic Women’s Sitting Volleyball Team in Athens, which came home with the bronze medal. In 1995, Volleyball Magazine’s special Centennial issue named him one of the 50 most important people in the sport in the past 100 years.
Steve Boyle is the Principal and Founder of 2-4-1 Sports, a national organization that brings physical literacy using sports sampling to children through camps, clinics, PLUSS Clubs™, and BrainErgizers™. Recently recognized by the Aspen Institute’s Sport and Society Program as one of eight model programs in the United States in the original Project Play report, 2-4-1 Sports embodies their motto Life’s 2 Short 4 Just 1 Sport™. Steve’s philosophy focuses on lifelong wellness by recognizing the mind/body connection and the value of nutrition and mindfulness as it relates to physical literacy. As a former Division 1 athlete born to Irish immigrants, Steve has taught and coached throughout the United States. His diverse background in teaching, working with children with cancer, athletic coaching, college advising, life-coaching and counseling makes him a highly sought after speaker and consultant.
Shale Wong is a pediatrician and professor of pediatrics at University of Colorado School of Medicine, teaching child health, advocacy, and health care reform with focused interests in primary care and achieving health equity. She is director of child health policy and education for the Eugene S. Farley Jr. Health Policy Center. Wong served as health policy advisor to First Lady Michelle Obama for development and implementation of her signature child obesity initiative, Let’s Move, and assisted in launching Joining Forces to improve wellness and resilience of military families. She was, additionally, a senior program consultant to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. A lifelong dancer, she is inspired to advance health through the arts.
Chris Hecht has taught physical education for 17 years at Graland Country Day School (PK-8) in Denver. He has coached multiple sports and done strength conditioning classes for 23 years. He holds a Masters degree in Kinesiology/ Exercise Physiology, and has completed post-graduate coursework in K-12 Physical Education/ Pedagogy at the University of Northern Colorado. Hecht is certified with distinction as a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS*D) and 20-year professional member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), and he has recently accepted nominations to serve on the Colorado state and the Youth Special Interest Group advisory boards for the NSCA. Hecht is also a professional member of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE America).
Patrick McHenry is Director of Strength & Conditioning at Castle View HS in Castle Rock, CO. He designs lifting & speed/agility programs for strength training classes and works with the schools 23 varsity sports. He holds a Masters degree in Physical Education (& Kinesiology) from the University of Northern Colorado and is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and a Registered Strength and Conditioning Coach with the National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA). Patrick works with youth and elite athletes in multiple sports. He has presented to sport coaches, strength coaches and physical education teachers at state, national and international conferences and often speaks on developing young champions. He is published in books, journals, manuals and videos, and serves on the NSCA Board of Directors.