Play Like A Champion Today™ Sports Leadership Conference set for June 24 to 26

Author: Notre Dame News

Play Like a Champion Today™

The Play Like a Champion Today™ (PLC) Program of the University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) will hold its sixth annual National Sports Leadership Conference on campus June 24 to 26.

Perhaps the largest gathering of directors and representatives of sport leagues in the country, this conference prepares leaders from both public and Church-sponsored sports programs to lead coach and parent educational workshops in their home dioceses, parishes, schools and local sports organizations.

Educators, coaches, former and current collegiate athletes and professors from a variety of fields – psychology, education, medicine, theology and business – will engage participants in an exploration of the ways in which youth and high school sports can contribute to children’s and adolescents’ moral and spiritual development. It is a distinct opportunity to learn the latest trends in sport-based character development and to network and share best practices with sport leaders all across North America.

Play Like A Champion Today™ partners with schools and sports organizations by offering coaches and sport parents interactive, educational workshops. In the six years since the program began, more than 15,000 coaches and 3,000 parents have completed the workshops and 95 percent say they would recommend it to others. These adults have in turn touched the lives of half a million young athletes.

Featured speakers for this year’s conference include: An opening charge offered by Jeff Burris, Notre Dame All American under Coach Lou Holtz, 10 year veteran of the NFL and a current high school coach; Randy Waldrum, coach of the 2010 national champion Notre Dame women’s soccer team; Jack Swarbrick, Notre Dame athletic director; Bob Bigelow, former NBA player, selected as one of the 100 most influential sports educators and author of “Just Let the Kids Play;” Susan Saint Sing, member of the 1993 U.S. Rowing Team, current collegiate coach, and author of “Spirituality of Sport.”

Play Like a Champion Today™

This year’s conference sessions will include: leadership development for coaches and administrators, preparation for presenting PLC workshops in local sport communities, ways to build moral community on sports teams, understanding coaching as a ministry and the spirituality of sport, how to develop partnerships with athletic parents, a youth sportsmanship program, high school athlete retreats, strategies to conscientiously distribute athlete playing time, a PLC workshop for effective officiating, an approach to mentor coaching in at-risk communities, a new sport-specific safe environment training, and the latest insight into sports injury prevention.

Speakers will demonstrate strategies for developing champions on and off the sports field. They will challenge toxic elements in the youth and high school sports culture that place winning and ego-centered success over the development of the whole person as a member of a team. The conference also will feature a banquet dinner in the Notre Dame Stadium Press Box and a tour of the football locker room and facilities.

The Play Like A Champion administrative team is led by Clark Power, a 29-year member of the Notre Dame faculty; Kristin Komyatte Sheehan, a 1990 Notre Dame graduate and former cheerleader for the 1988 national champion Notre Dame football team; and Oscar McBride, a 1994 Notre Dame graduate and four-year letter winner under Coach Holtz.

Conference registration is available here. For more information about Play Like A Champion Today™ and its educational programs, visit or contact the PLC office at 574-631-9981 or