Jay Coakley, Ph.D.

Jay Coakley, Professor Emeritus

Professor Emeritus, Sociology Department
University of Colorado, Colorado Springs


After 33 years in the Sociology Department at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, I retired from full-time teaching in 2005. Today I continue to write, conduct research, lecture, travel, and spend time with Nancy Coakley, our daughter and her family here in Fort Collins, Colorado (60 miles north of Denver).

The focus of my professional life continues to be sociology and the sociology of sport. I continue to revise Sports in Society: Issues and Controversies, soon to be in its 11th edition (2013, McGraw-Hill).

To meet regional needs for a textbook in the sociology of sport, I’ve partnered with Peter Donnelly (University of Toronto) to produce a Canadian version of Sports in Society, soon to appear in its third edition. Elizabeth Pike (University of Chichester, UK) and I produced a United Kingdom version, the second edition of which will be published after the 2012 London Games. Chris Hallinan (Monash University, Australia), Brent McDonald (Victoria University, Australia), and I produced the second edition of Sports in Society for students in Australia. Finally, a pan-African version of the book is now being prepared by Cora Burnett and her students at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa.

Sports in Society is also translated into Japanese, Chinese, and Korean, with a Croatian translation underway. My hope now is to develop a website at which students and instructors worldwide can access information about global issues, meet and work with peers who share similar interests in sports as social phenomena, and contribute relevant videos, photographs, and other materials to the site.

My current research focuses on issues of sport and national identity in Slovenia and the United States, the relationship between the sociology of sport in Brazil and North America, and legacy issues related to the 2014 men’s World Cup in Brazil and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. I’m also critiquing a highly suspect and evangelistic proposal to build a new on-campus football stadium at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

Some of my recent presentations have been on using social research and theory to inform public policies (for Kinesiology Conference in Opatija, Croatia), changing definitions of development and youth sports (for National Coaching Conference, USOC), preserving play as a sport becomes institutionalized (for USA Utimate), the impact of neoliberalism on sport (Curitiba, Brazil), the coming crisis in intercollegiate sports (Boston College), creating balanced legacies for mega-events (Brasilia), challenges facing the sociology of sport (Malmo, Sweden), current trends in sociology of sport (Norwegian Sport University, Oslo), and sport and social class, among other topics (University of Ljubjana, Slovenia).     

To schedule a lecture, contact me at jcoakley@uccs.edu or 970-416-1325 (home, land phone) or 970-231-6420 (cell). Additional information about Sports in Society and resources for instructors teaching courses on this topic is at www.mhhe.com/coakley10e.


In addition to his work on Sports in Society: Issues and Controversies, Jay Coakley co-edited with Eric Dunning (University of Loughborough, UK), the Handbook of Sports Studies (Sage Publications, 2000), and with Peter Donnelly, Inside Sports (Routledge, 1999). He has authored over 150 articles and book chapters, primarily on sport, society, and culture. Much of this work focuses on youth sports and socialization issues, race and ethnicity, gender, deviance and violence. He has lectured worldwide at universities and conferences for professional associations, and often speaks to groups of coaches and sport administrators. He also has lectured on issues of race and cultural diversity in sports and academic institutions.

Coakley currently holds a Visiting Professor appointment at the University of Chichester in West Sussex, England where he was also awarded an honorary fellowship in 2007. He was the founding editor of the Sociology of Sport Journal (1983-1989) and serves on the editorial boards of scholarly journals in sociology and kinesiology/physical education. He is past president of the Sport Sociology Academy of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance, and of the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport; he continues to serve on national and international committees and is currently doing research with colleagues in Slovenia and Brazil, and is working with the newly formed Latin American Association for the Sociocultural Study of Sports.

In 2009 Coakley was named to the Hall of Fame of the National Association for Sport and Physical Education and was identified in 2007 as one of the “100 Most Influential Sports Educators by the Institute for International Sport. Active in connection with social issues, Coakley also received in 2004 the Citizenship Through Sports Annual Award given by the Citizenship Through Sports Alliance.

Coakley received his M.A. (1970) and Ph.D. (1972) degrees from the University of Notre Dame. He currently lives in Fort Collins, Colorado.


“Youth sports: What counts as ‘positive development’?” Journal of Sport and Social Issues 35(3): 306-324. (2011)

“Ideology Doesn’t Just Happen: Sports and Neoliberalism.” ALESDE Revista 1(1): 67-84. Open access online, http://ojs.c3sl.ufpr.br/ojs2/index.php/alesde/issue/archive. (2011)

“Complicating the Relationship between Sport and National Identity: The Case of Post-Socialist Slovenia.” Sociology of Sport Journal 27(4): 371-389 (2010, with Mojca Doupona Topič)

“Sport Specialization and Its Effects.” In Sandra Spickard Prettyman and Brian Lampman (Eds.). 2010. Learning Culture through Sports: Perspectives on Society and Organized Sports (pp. 7-17).

“The `Logic’ of Specialization: Using Children for Adult Purposes.” Journal of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance 81, 8: 16-18, 25 (2010).

“From the Outside in: Burnout as an Organizational Issue.” Journal of Intercollegiate Sport 2, 1: 35-41 (2009).

“Studying Intercollegiate Sports: High Stakes, Low Rewards.” Journal of Intercollegiate Sport 1, 1: 114-28 (2008).

“Teaching Sociology: Sports Rediscovered.”  FOREWORD in Kyle C. Longest, ed., (2008). Teaching the Sociology of Sport: A Collection of Syllabi, Assignments, and Other Resources (pp. v-ix). Washington, DC: American Sociological Association.

“The Good Father: Parental Expectations and Youth Sports.” Leisure Studies 25, 2 (2006): 153–163.



“Current Trends in Sociology of Sport.”  & “Youth Sport-for-Development: Problems & Prospects.” Presentations to Faculty & Students, Norwegian University of Sport & Physical Education, Oslo, Norway, May 7, 2012.

“Life on the Margins: Forging Careers in the Sociology of Sport.” Keynote address—The Social Science of Sport: Scientific Quality, Position, and Relevance; Malmö, Sweden, April 19–21, 2012.

“Social Class & Sports: Money, Status, & Power in Sports.” & “The Power & Prevalence of Neoliberalism: Implications for Sports.” Presentations to Sports Studies Faculty & Students, University of Ljubjana, Slovenia, March 29-30, 2012.

“University Fault Lines: Escalating Tensions Between Athletics & Academics.” Keynote speech, Boston College speaker series on Athletics and the Academy: Towards 2020. Boston, MA, March 21, 2012.

“A Balanced Olympic Legacy: Is It Possible?” Presentation at the University of Brasilia, March 1, 2012.

“Youth Sports: What Counts as `Positive Development’?” Campus Lecture, University of Chichester, UK, September 15, 2011

“Using Social Research & Theory to Inform Public Sport Policies.” Keynote Address, 6th International Scientific Conference on Kinesiology, Opatija, Croatia,
September 10, 2011.

“Sport-for-Development Myths & Realities.” Presentation to Kinesiology Faculty and Students, University of Zagreb, Croatia, September 7, 2011.

“More than a Game.” Panel Speaker, Aspen Ideas Festival, Aspen Institute, Aspen, Colorado, July 1.

“Youth Sports: The Tricky Task of Defining Development.” Keynote Presentation, National Coaching Conference, United States Olympic Training Center, Colorado Springs, June 24.

“Business, Tourism, and Gold Medals versus Youth and Community Empowerment: Seeking a Balanced Olympic Legacy.” Keynote address at the 1º Reunião do Projeto de Pesquisa Rio 2016; Curitiba, Brazil, May 2011.

“Preserving Play: The Ultimate Challenge.” Keynote Address, Annual Conference of USA Ultimate, Washington DC, February 25, 2011.

“Making It: Understanding the Big Picture.” Keynote address at the 2010 Minority Women in Coaching Conference, US Olympic Training Center, Colorado Springs, CO, October, 2010.

“Sport and National Identity: The Case of Latin America” (with Mojca Doupona Topič). Keynote address at the Second Congress of the Asociatión Latinamericana de Estudios Socioculturales del Deporte, Maracay, Venezuela, September, 2010.

“Using Social Research and Theory to Inform Public Policies Related to Sports.” Closing keynote address at the Second Congress of the Asociatión Latinamericana de Estudios Socioculturales del Deporte, Maracay, Venezuela, September, 2010.

"National Identity and Sports in Slovenia: A Post-Socialist Perspective" (with Mojca Doupona Topič). Paper presented at the conference of the International Sociological Association, Gothenberg, Sweden, July, 2010.

“10 Things Coaches Should Know About Youth Sport Participation” (with Rick Howard).  Feature session presentation, Annual Conference of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, Indianapolis, March, 2010.

“High School and College Sports: The Public Face of Education in the United States.” Paper presented at the Interscholastic Sport Seminar, Ryukoku University, Otsu-City, Japan, August, 2009.

“The Implosion of Neoliberalism: New Opportunities to Reclaim Physical Activity and Sports for the Common Good.”  Raymond A. Weiss Lecture at the 2009 AAHPERD National Convention, Tampa Bay, Florida (April, 2009).

“Outreach Isn’t Enough: Transforming the Dynamics of Wealth and White Privilege in Rowing.” Keynote address at the annual US Rowing convention, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, February 14, 2009.

“The Social Dimensions of Burnout.” Invited presentation at the Second Scholarly Colloquium, National Collegiate Athletic Association Convention, Washington, DC, January, 2009.

“Sport, Media, and Global Trends.” Keynote address given at the First Annual Conference of the Asociatión Latinamericana de Estudios Socioculturales del Deporte, Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil, November, 2008.

"Sports Don’t Just Happen: Fun and Games in Neoliberal Societies." 2008-09 DeVos Distinguished Speakers Series presentation, University of Central Florida, College of Business, October, 2008.

“Are We There Yet? The Long Trip to Inclusion in Sports.” Presentation to the NCAA Women’s Coaches Academy, Denver, June, 2008.

“Sports Don’t Just Happen: Physical Activity and Cultural Production in Neoliberal Societies.” Keynote address at the European Association for the Sociology of Sport, Bled, Slovenia, May, 2008.

“Studying Intercollegiate Sports:  High Stakes, Low Rewards.” Presentation at the Scholarly Colloquium on College Sports at the conference of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, Nashville, TN, January, 2008.