Inaugural chair named for Sport Leadership and Administration at UMass Boston

Joseph N. Cooper has been named the inaugural J. Keith Motley Endowed Chair for Sport Leadership and Administration at UMass Boston. Cooper taught for six years at the University of Connecticut’s Neag School of Education, where he specialized in sport management, gender and race in sport, and higher education.  

“Dr. Cooper is a rising star in his field and an extraordinary addition to the faculty of UMass Boston,” said Interim Chancellor Katherine S. Newman. “His scholarly achievement sets a very high benchmark for the quality of this new and exciting program. Students from all over the country will flock to our campus to learn the history, sociology, and psychology of sport, while simultaneously developing expertise in management. Under Cooper’s aegis, they will become the next generation of dynamic innovators in the sport industry.” 

Cooper’s academic focus has been on ways sport serves as a catalyst for holistic development and positive changes in society, a topic he studied as a student at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and in his doctoral research in the field of Kinesiology at the University of Georgia.

“To be a part of something so innovative, something so pioneering, was very enticing,” said Cooper. “It will be a game changer centered on championing diversity, inclusion, and equity in the sport industry in the 21st century and beyond.”

The J. Keith Motley Endowed Chair for Sport Leadership and Administration and a corresponding scholarship are supported by a $5 million gift from Boston-based industry leader, New Balance, a champion of diversity and equity in the sports industry.

“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Joe Cooper as the inaugural J. Keith Motley Chair and believe his demonstrated passion and educational expertise regarding youth and sport will successfully drive this innovative program forward on behalf of New Balance and the UMass Boston teams,” said Jim Davis, New Balance chairman. “We look forward to supporting his efforts to best prepare UMass Boston students for the many exciting career opportunities in the sports industry.”

A distinguished advisory board of sports legends will help to guide the program and develop internships for the students. Olympic track star (and UMass Boston honorary degree recipient) Edwin Moses, former New England Patriot Andre Tippett, Boston Celtics star Tom “Satch” Sanders, and Baseball Hall of Fame executive Jeff Idelson are among the board members. Representatives of the Boston Red Sox and Fenway Sports Group, Boston Bruins, Boston Athletic Association, Boston Celtics, City Year, Boston Sports Museum, Bank of America, Citizens Bank, New England Patriots, ESPN, Reggie Lewis Center, and New Balance will round out the powerhouse board. 

“The UMass Boston New Balance Sport Leadership and Administration program has been uniquely designed to be responsive to today’s needs for strong leadership within the sports industry while at the same time keeping an eye on the changes and advancements so that our students are prepared for future opportunities to lead in the ever-changing and developing industry,” said Charlie Titus, vice chancellor for athletics and recreation, special projects and programs. “We intend to produce future leaders for the United States and the international sports industry.”

The BA in Sport Leadership and Administration is designed for undergraduates from diverse backgrounds looking to obtain leadership positions in the vast and growing field of sports administration and management, such as coaching and athletic administration, sports marketing and broadcasting, and sports finance, social media, and event management. 

Registration is still open for the first course in the program. SL101 Foundations of Sport Leadership, which examines the historical and contemporary role of leadership in the globalized sport industry. Students have the opportunity to study and identify effective leaders across the sport industry and create a personal leadership portfolio. The course is open to all students, regardless of current major.