1979 – Graduated the first two Master of Sport Science degree students, who were in Sports Medicine and who were both women. They were Carmen Charnook-Cellon, whose first job was as an athletic trainer with the U.S. Secret Service, and Viki Ray, who became the head athletic trainer for women’s sports teams at Louisiana State University.
1980 – Founded the “Operation Bounce Back, ” which was the first cardiac rehabilitation program in the region and improved thousands of lives.
1981 – Became a candidate for accreditation by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
1981 – Signed a multi-million dollar contract with the Royal Saudi Air Force for a major Physical Fitness, Sports and Recreation program. This was the first of many in Saudi Arabia that included other groups, such as the Royal Saudi Air Defense Forces.
1982 – Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos became the first head of state in history to visit the Academy and the Mobile area. Since its founding, the Academy has brought five heads of state to the area, including Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao of Timor-Leste; His Excellency Najib Tun Razak of Malaysia; His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa of Bahrain; and Prince Albert Alexandre Louis Pierre Grimaldi of Monaco.
Dec. 13, 1983 – Master’s degree programs accredited by SACS, making the Academy the nation’s first and only free-standing, accredited institution dedicated solely to professional graduate studies in sport.
1984 – Established the American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA), which is believed to house the largest collection of sport art in the world, and named Ernie Barnes as the first Sport Artist of the Year.
1984 – Established the United States Sports Academy’s Awards of Sport in conjunction with the Los Angeles Olympics. Howard Cosell, a legendary American sports announcer, won the inaugural Ronald Reagan Media Award and then acted as the emcee for the event for many years.
Summer 1986 – The Academy purchased a permanent campus on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay, in Daphne, Ala., which remains its current home.
1990 – All debt retired on the Academy campus.
1990 – Began offering a doctorate in sports management (Ed.D).
1993 – Introduced distance-learning education as a delivery system for its academic programs for the first time.
1996 – Accredited by SACS at the doctoral level, at which time the distance learning delivery system was also reviewed and approved.
1998 – Great Spanish artist Cristóbal Gabarrón painted a mural, “A Tribute to the Human Spirit, ” on the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in professional baseball. The mural on the face of the Academy’s two-story building is one of the largest public offerings of art in the United States.
2000 – Graduate programs approved by the North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM), an activity of the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE). The Academy was again reviewed and approved in 2008 through 2015 and is now one of only three universities in the United States whose sports management degree programs are approved at all three degree levels—bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral.
2000 – ASAMA conducted the U.S. Olympic Sport and Art contest for the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) for the first time during the Sydney Games. It has conducted the national competition for American artists every Olympics since then, which includes Athens in 2004, Bejing in 2008 and London in 2012.
2001 – Introduced web-based course delivery.
2004 – Appointed as the official educational arm of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA).
2004 – Added an accredited upper-division bachelor’s degree to its programs.
2005 – Developed the College Football Game of the Year Award. The committee who selects the game reads like a “Who’s Who” in college football. It is led by chairman Jack Lengyl, who served as the longtime U.S. Naval Academy athletic director.
2006 – Abbot Shi Yongxin, the spiritual leader of more than 400 million Chan Buddhists, was awarded an honorary doctorate during his visit from the Shaolin Temple to the Academy. The Abbot and Academy agreed to deliver a Shaolin Kung Fu Philosophy course online to the world. It debuted last year.
October 2008 –Robert Wyland, America’s premier marine life artist, painted a 30-foot mural of three dolphins swimming, “Faster, Higher, Stronger, ” on the Academy’s east entrance.
April 2012 – The Academy has grown into the largest graduate school of sport education in the world today. Known as “America’s Sports University, ” it continues to be a recognized leader in sport education across the globe. The university’s degree programs are meeting the needs of physical educators, coaches, exercise scientists and sports administrators, awarding thousands of degrees throughout its 40-year history.