Numerous studies have shown the high level of influence interscholastic coaches’ yield at their respective campuses (Côté & Fraser-Thomas, 2007; Fredericks & Eccles, 2006; Greendorfer, 2002). This influence is not confined to athletes only, but extends to a large portion of the general student body as well. Coaches, especially interscholastic coaches, can become centers of influence (COI) for physical fitness and physical activity participation throughout the entire student body. This often unsolicited influence can have dramatic effects on how non-participants view initiatives and opportunities encouraged by “their” coach. For example, coaches can personally recruit new athletes, provide mentoring, and/or encourage participation in after-school activities.
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Ted Burden is a doctoral student of Sport Management at The University of Texas at Austin. Mr. Burden’s primary research interests include sport and physical activity program development, design, and practitioner certification. Mr. Burden has presented at AAHPRED, NASSM, and the USOC National Coaching Conference.
Dr. Marlene Dixon is an Associate Professor and Fellow in the T.L. Long Professorship for Education at The University of Texas and a former collegiate volleyball and basketball coach. Her primary research interests include multilevel factors that influence the experience of coaching, as well as methods for improving the coach-athlete interface.