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The Center for Sports Leadership and Innovation at The University of Texas at Austin

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Daron K. Roberts, founding director of the Center for Sports Leadership and Innovationat The University of Texas at Austin. He also serves as a lecturer in the Liberal Arts Honors program.

Recognizing the need for college and professional athletes to serve as leaders and role models, The University has launched a new center that will help young male and female athletes succeed on and off the field as responsible citizens. The Center for Sports Leadership and Innovation will leverage UT Austin’s expertise in academics and success in athletics to change the culture at a time when national headlines remain focused on high-profile athletes’ behavior and responsibilities.

The first-of-its-kind program will also build on the university’s long-held philosophy of “winning with integrity.” University scholars and experts on character reform from across the country will work with coaches on implementing the most effective detection and intervention methods for drug and alcohol abuse, domestic and sexual assault, concussion awareness and sound decision-making. The goal is to equip coaches with the tools to incite the character reform that many athletes need.

Born in Mount Pleasant, Texas, Roberts holds a B.A. in Plan II Honors and Government from UT/Austin, an M.P.P from Harvard Kennedy School and a Law degree from Harvard Law School. During his tenure at the Forty Acres, he was elected Student Government President. Also, Roberts has worked for the Cleveland Browns, the Detroit Lions and Kansas City Chiefs, and was a corners coach with West Virginia University. In 2010, Roberts founded 4th and 1, LLC - a nonprofit that provides free SAT prep, football skills training and life skills development to high school students in Texas and Michigan.

According to Roberts, the center will serve as the epicenter for the creation of character development curricula in the sports world. The center will use interdisciplinary research, entrepreneurial thinking and strong relationships with outside groups to ensure that young athletes can all become responsible role models. Also, the new center will work closely with the Athletics department, which is already a national model in helping students excel academically. 

John L. Hanson is the producer and host of the nationally syndicated radio series In Black America. It’s heard on home station KUT at 10 p.m. Tuesdays and 6:30 a.m. Sundays — and weekly on close to 20 stations across the country. The weekly podcast of IBA, the only nationally broadcast Black-oriented public affairs radio program, is one of KUT’s most popular podcasts.