Date of Award



© 2021 James Thomas Daley

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dawn Mackiewicz

Second Advisor

LaTonya Bolden

Third Advisor

John M. Rosene


The purpose of the case study was to examine the self-perceived leadership characteristics, behaviors, and communication styles of professionals within the pillars of the high-performance sport model, specifically athletic trainers, and strength and conditioning coaches, to gain perspective on their ability to influence student-athletes and colleagues at the NCAA DIII level. A qualitative case study format allowed the researcher to engage with a small sample of participants and explore the differences and similarities between the participant groups. Participants were selected based on their primary job title and setting at over 80 institutions of higher education that participate in NCAA Division III institutions within the extended New England region. A total of 331 individuals were sent an electronic survey by email. Twelve participants (six athletic trainers, six strength and conditioning coaches) agreed to and completed a semi-structured, follow-up interview to gain perspective on their ability to influence student-athletes through their own displayed leadership. Interview audio was transcribed and analyzed through three levels of coding. Six themes were developed from the data analysis (caring/relationship, educate/teaching, culture, leadership, communication, conflict).

The data revealed very few differences in the leadership perspective of the certified athletic trainers and strength and conditioning coaches that participated. Participants exhibited a lack of knowledge and experience when it came to leadership theory and leadership training in their professional careers while still aspiring to fulfill their professional obligations of mentoring younger and less experienced staff members. Further research should be conducted to establish a standard for leadership education, development, and implementation within the pillars of high-performance sport, specifically athletic training and strength and conditioning.


Ed.D. Dissertation

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