WMU News

Brylinsky joins former Olympians in hall of fame

April 19, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- Dr. Jody Brylinsky, a Western Michigan University associate professor of health, physical education and recreation, recently joined the ranks of such standout Olympians as Wilma Rudolph, Rafer Johnson, Nancy Hogshead and Peter Vidmar when she was inducted into the National Association for Sport and Physical Education's Hall of Fame in San Diego.

The April 12 ceremony honored the Ambridge, Penn., native as an outstanding individual who has achieved new levels of excellence in sport and physical education, and who has inspired others by example.

Brylinsky is nationally recognized as an educator, researcher and activist in the areas of sportsmanship, gender equity and Special Olympics. Throughout her career, Brylinsky has been an outspoken advocate and a tireless promoter of coaching education and sport participation opportunities for all.

"I always loved physical education and thanks to an incredible teacher in eighth grade I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up," she recalls. "And being a pre-Title IX girl, staying involved in athletics was not easy. But I had great parents, and a great school that was ahead of the times. This is probably why I am so committed to both gender equity and daily quality physical education and sport for girls."

Brylinsky, who earned bachelor and master's degrees from Slippery Rock State University, completed her doctoral degree in physical education and sports psychology at the University of Minnesota.

As a past president of NASPE and national leader in the National Association for Girls and Women in Sport and the National Council for the Accreditation for Coaching Education, "she has been a consistent and persistent voice for the importance of sport and its educational values," NASPE officials said in making the award.

Brylinsky continues to be a strong advocate for good coaching and the national movement to set high standards for coaches.

"If we can directly point to what a coach should know, value and be able to do, then we can hold coaches accountable for their actions and the institutions who train coaches as well," she says.

"By creating national standards for athletic coaches we create a public trust that coaches should be skilled, caring adults, who understand the important role they play in sport success."

Brylinsky also works to ensure values and high moral standards among young athletes. "You can't cheat and compete," she says. "The game itself is all about cooperation and respect for self and others. My work with local school districts in improving sportsmanship tries to help young athletes see it is more fun to play fair."

NASPE officials also pointed to Brylinsky's longtime involvement in coaching and creating opportunities for Special Olympians, and her work as a contributing author to NASPE's new book "Coaching Education: Designing Quality Programs."

This year's ceremony highlighted the contributions of Brylinsky and Judi Sheppard Missett, founder and chief executive officer of Jazzercise Inc. Other former honorees include such sports figures as University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers coach Pat Head Summit, tennis great Arthur Ashe, yachtsman Ted Turner and Tony DiCicco, head coach of the 1999 Women's World Cup Champion Soccer Team.

With a nonprofit membership of more than 18,000 professionals in the fitness and physical activity fields, NASPE is the only national association dedicated to strengthening basic knowledge about sport and physical education among professionals and the general public. For more information, visit the organization's Web page at <www.aahperd.org>, the Internet site of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation & Dance. NASPE is the largest of the alliance's six national associations.

Media contact: Gail H. Towns, 269 387-8400, gail.towns@wmich.edu

Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
269 387-8400