Benefits of Leadership Training Courses for Athletic Directors

Benefits of Leadership Training Courses for Athletic Directors

Athletic administrators play such an important role in student athletics. They set the tone and direction for all of the programs under their watch, and their philosophies can have far-reaching effects not only on the programs themselves but also on the students’ lives that are affected by these programs.
It’s why we spoke with Jolene Fugate, an experienced and brilliant athletic director that also serves as Commissioner for West Catholic Athletic League in Northern California. In addition to running these programs, Fugate is a teacher that provides leadership training courses (LTCs) for other athletic directors (ADs) and administrators.  

How LTC Courses Are Affecting Athletic Programs

One of the reasons we were so excited to meet with Fugate is that, in addition to being a commissioner, she also serves as an educator for other athletic directors. Fugate offers LTC Courses through the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association, or NIAAA, as part of their certification program for ADs. 
“NIAAA certification program is three-prong,” says Fugate, “continued education, professional growth, and program development. They’ve developed these classes over the course of years – everything from the very basic,  so your entry-level classes … all the way to how to develop a handbook, how to announce games, and everything that goes into the athletic director job.” 
In our interview, Fugate talks about the many benefits that come from these LTC courses for current and prospective athletic directors ready to really hone their craft. Some of the benefits she discusses in our interview are that LTC courses:
*Reminds You What Your Goals Are – The first LTC course that Fugate taught was just an introduction to Education-Based Athletics. But that introduction was a critical part of leadership. It brought athletic directors back towards the “very core of what we’re all doing here, and helping [the athletic directors] understand it’s an extension of the classroom.” Putting this into perspective helps drive leadership decisions from ADs. 
*You’re Prepared to Help Your Students Thrive – These courses, which evolve based on challenges that are felt throughout the field, provide a chance to continue education to address those challenges. Bullying, hazing, inclusion, education, and more – these are challenges that many athletic directors face at different times, and it helps provide an opportunity for ADs to be prepared for when they come across these issues so they can respond in an evidence-based way.
*Adds Legitimacy to Your Resume – Athletic directors may not always require certification, but those that have that certification are showing potential schools, students, parents, and teachers that they’re ready to take on the role through these ever-changing, up to date programs. “It’s a way to have professional development,” says Fugate,” A way to prepare for embarking on this great career with the knowledge and ability to help students thrive. 
The goal of these types of programs is not just leadership. It’s to “make athletic director’s professional educators,” which means they “have to be educated with the times of what’s happening.”
According to Fugate, “ NIAAA is … trying to make athletic directors professional educators, and so we have to be educated with the times of what’s happening.” 

The Value of Professional Training and Continuing Education for ADs

Our conversations with Fugate, which you can listen to using the link below, have really emphasized the value that these LTC programs at NIAAA offer to those that are pursuing, not only, a career as an athletic director but also a major force in the lives of the children that are coached and educated under these programs. 
“Step out and take the challenge head-on” advises Fugate for those that are looking to become athletic directors or are thinking about programs that may help them in the field. For those individuals, that program may be LTC classes and certification, which has helped thousands of athletic directors become more responsible, effective, and influential educators for student-athletes. Learn more by listening to our interview from CNAA now.