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College of Education creates new master's for athletic administration

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Educational Administration graduate student Ben Carruthers said he was not sure how he was going to pursue his passion for sports after playing baseball at TCU as an undergraduate.

“I’ve been playing basketball and baseball since I was a little kid,” Carruthers said. “When you grow up doing something and have a love for something, it’s only natural for you to want to stay in that for your life and try to make a career out of it.”

A career in sports could become a reality, thanks to a new master’s program in the College of Education, Don Mills, distinguished professor of educational leadership, said.

“When an elite athlete visits a campus, they want to know about the sport, of course, but they also want to be able to see what kind of services are available, [and] what kind of career path is there for them after they graduate,” Mills said.

Athletics has become an important part of higher education, he said. The graduate program for Athletic Administration focused on athletic leadership. Mills said the program should be ready around this time next year.

“We have started to develop a program so that folks who want to work with student athletes but don’t want to be coaches, who want to be involved with higher education through athletics, have a way they can learn how to be effective administrators at the college and the university campus,” Mills said.

Carruthers said he always admired the leaders at TCU. Athletics director Chris Del Conte’s leadership was what inspired Carruthers to run an athletics program someday, he said. Del Conte’s leadership has taken TCU athletics to a higher level, Carruthers said.

“Athletics as a profession has become more attractive to prior student athletes,” Carruthers said. “You go through the profession of four years of college athletics, and then I think it’s only natural for that to continue over and to become a profession.”

Jackie Torda, former Horned Frog soccer player and current graduate student, said she did not have specific plans when she graduated last May, but she knew she wanted to continue her involvement in TCU athletics.

“When I was approached with the opportunity to go to grad school and then work in the marketing department over in the athletics department, I knew it was something I couldn’t turn down,” Torda said.

Mills said he felt, like Torda, an increasing number of women have become interested in athletic administration. In years past it was ideal for athletics directors to be men and now women are more involved in administration, he said.

Mills said the goal is to have an equal number of men and women in the program. Torda said she is eager to continue to learn more about the world of athletic administration.

“I am really excited that this program will hopefully be developed, and I’ll be able to take some classes that will really help me in the Athletics Administration and give me a good foundation and a basis for what I want to do in my future in sports and education,” Torda said.

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