CHAMPAIGN, IL-Long-time Special Olympics executive Jim Schmutz has joined the American Sport Education Program (ASEP) as its executive director. Schmutz’s 19-year career with Special Olympics includes extensive work in development of sport programs both nationally and internationally.
"Jim’s program development experience and understanding of sport education issues will be assets to ASEP and Human Kinetics," says Brian Holding, Human Kinetics’ CEO. "He comes with an understanding of how quality education improves sport and will be focused on delivering that education to more coaches."
ASEP, whose partners include youth sport groups, state high school associations, and Olympic sport governing bodies, develops and delivers education programs based on the philosophy of "athletes first, winning second." High school associations in 35 states recommend or require ASEP courses, including 40 of 67 counties in Florida that use ASEP programs to meet the Florida Department of Education Coaching Education requirements. That education is delivered through classroom and online channels. In one of its largest collaborations, ASEP partnered with Babe Ruth League and Ripken Baseball in 2006 to provide the leagues’ mandated coaching education program. More than 65,000 league coaches have participated in the online training program to date.
"Having respected organizations like Babe Ruth League and Ripken Baseball mandate ASEP’s program for all volunteer coaches is a huge testament to both the importance of education and the quality of ASEP’s content," Schmutz comments. "The most valuable outcome resulting from a mandate that requires coaching education is a higher-quality experience not just for the athletes but for all organizational stakeholders. The importance of the mandate cannot be overstated, and I am excited to spread that message. I look forward to building more customized partnerships with organizations based on the mandate model."
In addition to various executive roles within Special Olympics’ sport development, Schmutz was a licensed financial advisor with Merrill Lynch and has served the Washington, D.C., nonprofit sector in financial management education. Schmutz holds a master of science degree in sports administration from Saint Thomas University in Miami and earned his bachelor of science degree in management and French from Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina.
The American Sport Education Program is the leading U.S. provider of sport education programs for local and national youth sport organizations, park districts, state high school athletic associations, individual school districts, and elite-level sport organizations and national governing bodies of Olympic sport programs. With the most easy-to-use and highest-quality programs, ASEP has educated more than one million coaches, officials, administrators, parents, and athletes. For 28 years, local state and national sport organizations have partnered with ASEP to make sport a safe, successful, and enjoyable experience for all involved.