Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich, Founding President of the United States Sports Academy and a long-time leader in sport and sport education around the globe, has been named to the International Sports Hall of Fame (ISHOF).
The ISHOF is a non-profit foundation established by internationally known fitness expert Dr. Robert M. Goldman “to honor the world’s greatest athlete legends in all sports.” The ISHOF is “a global organization that believes recognition of these remarkable sports people should endure and be recognized long after their careers have ended. Just as important is what Hall of Fame candidates do later in life, in giving back to others and society, with charity work, and mentoring young people.”
Induction ceremonies are held every March at the Arnold Schwarzenegger Sports Festival in Columbus, Ohio, the world’s largest annual multi-sports weekend festival, hosting 175,000 attendees and more than 18,000 competing athletes. Schwarzenegger, the famed actor, body builder and former California governor, co-hosts the inductions.
Rosandich will be inducted as part of the 2017 ISHOF class on 4 March 2017. Rosandich is joined in this year’s class by American actor and bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno; Heisman Trophy winning NFL running back Herschel Walker; American speed skating Olympic champion Apolo Ohno; and American former world champion powerlifter Bill Kazmaier.
In announcing the award, the ISHOF stated that “Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich has had a long and storied career in the profession of sport dating to the early 1950s and served as Founder and President of the United States Sports Academy for more than 43 years, developing the number one Sports Academy in the world. A highly regarded track coach, his athletes included numerous Olympic and world record holders.
“Dr. Rosandich founded the United States Sports Academy in 1972 in response to a poor performance by the United States Olympic team in the 1972 Munich Games. Athletes were lacking quality coaching and training. The Academy now offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs as well as a wide array of non-degree sport education programs. The Academy has provided its sports programs to more than 60 countries around the world.
“The campus, which has won architectural awards for its beauty, also houses the American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA). Founded in 1984, ASAMA embodies the enduring connection between sports and art. Through tireless effort, Rosandich built the collection from a half dozen pieces into a world-recognized museum housing more than 1,700 pieces in all mediums. It is thought to be the largest museum of the sport genre in the world.”
The latest honor comes just three months after Rosandich was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the Academy for his long-time leadership. The Academy’s Board of Trustees also honored Rosandich by naming the “Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich Gallery” for him, recognizing his creation of the American Sport Art Museum and Archives, which has provided cultural enrichment to thousands of people. He recently retired from the Academy with the title “President Emeritus.”
A native of Sheboygan Falls, Wisc., Rosandich founded the Academy in 1972. Over the past 45 years, the Academy has conferred thousands of sport-specific degrees to its students and has enriched the lives of countless more through its education and outreach programs that have been delivered in some 65 countries around the world.
Rosandich brought to the Academy a storied career in sport. He starred in football and track and field at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, where he graduated with a degree in physical education and history in 1954. His alma mater has recognized his contributions by his induction into the UW-La Crosse Athletic Wall of Fame in 1983, naming him the Maurice O. Graff Distinguished Alumnus in 1989, and honoring him annually by presenting the Rosandich Thesis Award, which recognizes the student with the best master’s degree thesis of the year. Rosandich went on to earn a master’s degree in sport administration from the National School of Sport at the University of Indonesia and a Ph.D. in research at Union Graduate School in Ohio.
Following graduation from UW-La Crosse, Rosandich began a 20-year career of service in the United States Marine Corps Reserve, where he coached numerous world record and Olympic track and field athletes. He was the founder and director of the inaugural Marine Corps Schools Relays in Quantico, Va., and was named the All-Marine Track and Field Coach, All-Marine Cross Country Coach and All-Service Coach in 1956.
Between 1956 and 1976, Rosandich coached in some 50 countries preparing national teams for international games as part of the U.S. State Department’s “U.S. Ambassadors of Sport” program. In this role, Rosandich was charged with using sport to elevate America’s relationship with nations around the world.
Before founding the Academy, he also served as director of athletics at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. His substantial contributions to track and field earned him induction in the Helms Hall of Fame. He has also been active in professional organizations such as the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA).
Though fully engaged in building the Academy into America’s premier school of sports, Rosandich still found the time to contribute to the profession in many ways, including serving as a supporter, leader and advocate for the global advancement of sport, earning numerous national and international honors. For his work in the Olympic Movement, Rosandich was awarded the highest International Olympic Committee honor, The Olympic Order, in 1997.
Rosandich also created United States Sports Academy’s Awards of Sport program, which each year serve as “A Tribute to the Artist and the Athlete.” The Academy presents the awards to pay tribute to those who have made significant contributions to sport, in categories as diverse as the artist and the athlete in several different arenas of sport.
Rosandich served as the Academy’s president and chief executive officer for 43 years until 2015, when his son, Dr. T.J. Rosandich, was named president and CEO. While Rosandich has stepped down from his role as the Founding President of the Academy, his enduring legacy is that the Academy continues to thrive and serve the profession as an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission Sports University created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research, and service. Located in Daphne, Ala., the Academy continues its vital mission of preparing men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy, call (251) 626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu.
For more information about the award go to www.ishof.net. To view a tribute video honoring Rosandich, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkqnH0L4awg&feature=youtu.be
By Keith Ayers
Keith Ayers is the Director of Communications at the United States Sports Academy. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.