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, do research, and lecture on various topics related to the sociology of Sport.

The primary focus of my professional life continues to be revising Sports in Society: Issues and Controversies, with the 11th edition published in early 2014 (McGraw-Hill Education).

To meet regional needs for a sociology of sport textbook, I’ve partnered with Peter Donnelly (University of Toronto) to produce two Canadian editions of Sports in Society, the second of which was translated into Japanese; Elizabeth Pike (University of Chichester, UK) and I have produced two editions for students in the UK and Europe; and produced the second Australia edition of Sports in Society.  Finally, a Southern African version of Sports in Society, coauthored with Cora Burnett (University of Johannesburg), was published in January, 2014. 

Sports in Society is also translated into Japanese, Chinese, and Korean, with a Croatian translation underway.  Other books include the Handbook of Sports Studies, co-edited with Eric Dunning (Leicester University) and published by Sage in 2000; and Inside Sports, co-edited with Peter Donnelly (University of Toronto), published by Routledge in 1999 and translated in Korean in 2011.

My recent research has dealt with sport mega-event legacy issues as well as sport and national identity in Slovenia and the United States, and the relationship between the sociology of sport in Brazil and North America (with Wanderley Marchi, Junior in Curitiba, Brazil). Currently, I am working with Tom Farrey (ESPN investigative journalist), the director of Project Play, sponsored by the Aspen Institute and funded by the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation with additional support coming from Nike, ESPN, and the United States Olympic Committee. The goal Project Play is to reshape youth sports in the United States so they are organized in age appropriate terms and focused on the health and overall development and well-being of young people.  

  My recent presentations have focused on using sport studies research to inform public policy (for a Sports Studies and Higher Education Conference at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago); 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 the annual USA Ultimate conference), the impact of neoliberalism on sport (at a research conference in Curitiba, Brazil), the coming crisis in intercollegiate sports (for a symposium at Boston College), creating balanced legacies for mega-events (at a national physical education conference in Brasilia), challenges facing the sociology of sport (in Malmo, Sweden), current trends in sociology of sport (at the Norwegian Sport University, Oslo), and sport and social class, among other topics (at the University of Ljubjana in Slovenia).     

I earned M.A. (1970) and Ph.D. (1972) degrees in sociology from the University of Notre Dame (in 1971 and 1972, respectively), and completed an undergraduate degree in sociology and psychology at Regis University in Denver, Colorado (in 1966). Since 2003 Nancy Coakley and I have lived in Fort Collins, Colorado to be close to our daughter, Danielle, her husband, Tom, and their three daughters (Maddie, Ally, & Cassidy).

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/coakley11e.


(2014) "Assessing the Sociology of Sport: On Cultural Sensibilities and the Great Sport Myth." International Review for the sociology of Sport (forthcoming).  

(2014) "Sport and Socialization." In George Ritzer, ed., Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology. New York: Blackwell.    

(2013) "Youth Sports." In David Levinson & Karen Christensen, eds. Encyclopedia of World Sport (3rd Edition, online). Great Barrington, MA: Berkshire Publishing.   

(2013) "Sport Mega-Events: Can Legacies and Development Be Equitable and Sustainable?" (with Doralice de Souza, Federal University of Paraná) Motriz, Rio Claro 19(3): 580-589.  

(2012) "Federal government funding and sport: The case of Brazil, 2004-2009."  International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics 4(3): 411-426 (with Barbara Schausteck de Almeida, Wanderley Marchi, Júnior & Fernando Augusto Starepravo; all at Federal University of Paraná).  

(2011) "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. Online, http://ojs.c3sl.ufpr.br/ojs2/index.php/alesde/issue/archive.  

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

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

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

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

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

(2006) "The Good Father: Parental Expectations and Youth Sports." Leisure Studies 25(2): 153-163.      


"Sport Studies: A 360-Degree Window to the World." Keynote address at the conference, Science, Higher Education and Business: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Sport Studies, Research and Development in the Caribbean; University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago (January 16, 2014).  

"The Art and Origins of American Youth Sports." Presentation (with Charles Brock, Curator, National Museum) at the Aspen Institute Project Play Summit, Aspen, Colorado; April 10, 2013.  

"Building Brasil through Sports: Is It Worth the Cost?" Presentation (with Barbara Schausteck de Almeida) for the Department of Sport Management and Development, University of Chichester, West Sussex, UK; April 22, 2013.  

"Pushing Limits: Sport, Spectacle & Performance Enhancement." Presentation at the University of Chichester, West Sussex, UK; April 23, 2013.          

"Doping Control in Sports: Ineffective Strategies, Misplaced Resources." Keynote presentation at the Conference of the International Network of Humanistic Doping Research-"What do we (really) know about doping?" Aarhus, Denmark; August 15, 2013.  

"Integración Social y Deporte: Posibilidades y limitaciones globales ("Social Integration and Sport: Global Possibilities and Limitations"). Keynote address at the Congress of Asociación Latinoamericana de Estudios Socioculturales del Deporte (ALESDE) - "Sport & Physical Activity in the Process of Latin American Integration; Concepción, Chile; October  25, 2012.  

"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, 2011.  

"Youth Sports: The Tricky Task of Defining Development." Keynote Presentation, National Coaching Conference, United States Olympic Training Center, Colorado Springs; June 24, 2011.  

"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.