Play Like a Champion Today 

National Sports Leadership Conference

Kinship Through Sports: GROWing a Community of Hope

June 26-27, 2020

Our prayers go out to all those affected by the current COVID-19 crisis. We are monitoring the situation closely as it relates to this summer's Sports Leadership Conference. Given all the information we have at this time, the conference remains scheduled for June 26-27, 2020. It is our hope that current safety precautions will mitigate the spread of the virus so that we can safely gather this summer. Rest assured that if we are unable to host the conference for any reason, all those registered to attend will be refunded in full. Follow us on social media or check back here for updates and don't hesitate to email us at with any questions.

The Play Like a Champion Sports Leadership Conference is the premiere gathering of youth and high school athletic administrators and coaches from across North America. Held on the beautiful campus of the University of Notre Dame, experience two days filled with connection, education and inspiration.

These three pillars are reflected in our conference theme. 2020 conference attendees will have unique opportunities to interact in kinship, explore the core elements of Play Like a Champion's GROW approach, and be inspired by some of the brightest minds in the industry. The conference will challenge participants to create opportunities for all children to participate in a developmentally-focused sports experience that changes lives for the good. Drawing on cutting edge research, professional development will be offered with an emphasis on fostering children and adolescents’ motivation, teamwork, and decision-making. This conference is a unique opportunity to network, share best practices, and collaborate with other concerned leaders to improve sports for children.

Featured speakers in 2020 will include experts in coaching, community sports development and moral and spiritual leadership, as well as youth, high school and collegiate coaches and leaders addressing current topics in sport. Attendees can look forward to sessions that focus on the following areas:

  • Exploring the GROW Approach with sessions on developing Goals, building Relationships, providing opportunities for athlete Ownership and creating a Winning experience.

  • Expanding opportunities for girls in youth and high school sport.

  • Introducing non-traditional sports in communities and leagues.

  • Developing Leadership Skills in Athletes

  • Encouraging Physical Literacy and PLAY

The Conference will feature a number of interactive sessions and round-table discussions designed to connect attendees while fostering best practices. Attendees can also access an in-depth introduction to the Play Like a Champion philosophy for those who want to apply the approach to their organization and a special track for those who want to become Certified Trainers in the Play Like a Champion Today Educational Series network. To learn more about this year's event, click on the interactive 2020 Conference Preview magazine!

Featured Speakers for 2020

More speakers to be announced in coming weeks!

Brian Mitchell

Former NFL All-Pro & Super Bowl Champion, now an analyst & speaker.

In 223 professional games, Mitchell had more than 23,000 all purpose yards (2nd All-Time in NFL). 

As a motivational speaker, he speaks to audiences about coaching from the heart.

Jennifer Baker

Baker is the Athletic Director at Johns Hopkins University. A graduate of the United States

Naval Academy and college lacrosse player, she worked at Cornell University and Under Armour prior to

her current role.  At Hopkins, she has established a unique, high-level leadership training for student-athletes.

Dr. Jason Richardson

Richardson is a BMX Pan Am Games Gold Medalist and a renowned Olympic Psychologist

working to maximize athlete performance. Having earned an MBA in Global Management and a doctorate

in psychology, Richardson works with high performance teams, executives & athletes on creating a championship impact.

Carey Casey

Casey is best known as an ambassador and speaker in the American sports community.

As the former CEO of the National Center for Fathering, member of a White House Task Force, and a former sports

chaplain for the Dallas Cowboys and Kansas City Chiefs, Casey has earned a reputation as a dynamic communicator. 

Derek Brown & Dr. Julie Globokar

Brown is the Founder and Head Coach of Boxing Out Negativity, an anti-violence program that empowers Chicago's at-risk youth to realize the best within themselves. Globokar serves as Board Chairperson for Brown's organization. She has a Ph.D. in criminology, law and justice from the University of Illinois and is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Concordia University.

Meghan Morgan

Morgan is the Executive Director of Girls in the Game, a non-profit that seeks to empower girls to

be game-changers and works with them to create opportunities to grow into strong, confident

leaders with bright futures.

Dr. Joe Congeni

Congeni is the Medical Director of the Sports Medicine Center at Akron Children's Hospital as well as a Professor

of Pediatrics at Northeast Ohio Medical University. A favorite from past conferences, the award-winning physician

has done extensive research on sports injuries, frequently appears in the media and is a long-time youth coach himself.

Tom Farrell

Farrell has 28 years of TV production experience that includes projects such as The Haney Project (Golf Channel) and the

recent documentary series Basketball or Nothing (Netflix). Having worked with several athletes in his professional career,

he is also a CYO Board Member & youth sports coach in his hometown of Philadelphia.

Michael Holstein

Holstein serves as the Chief Content Officer for The Content Farm & Head of Content for America SCORES, a non-profit serving 12,000+ disadvantaged youth nationwide. His award-winning TV & Film career includes writing for HBO's The Wire and working on high-profile PBS projects and blockbuster films. His 2019 documentary Soccer in the City won the US Coaches Media Award.

Check back, more speakers will be announced soon!

“This conference was the best professional conference of my career.

It was a life changing experience. Through athletics, we have the power to change the world”

~ 2019 Conference Participant

Some attendees from the 2019 Conference pose for a photo following a friendly competition.

The Play Like a Champion Leadership Conference Provides Attendees with:
  • Mastery of Play Like a Champion Today coaching philosophy & materials.

  • A comprehensive “game plan” for elevating the moral climate of youth sport in schools and organizations.

  • The knowledge and resources to lead Play Like a Champion Today Workshops for coaches and parents in schools & community settings.

  • Membership in a national community of ethically-minded sports leaders.

  • A plan to reach out to vulnerable children through sports.

  • Meals and tours of some the University of Notre Dame's premier facilities.

What are people saying about the Play Like a Champion Today Sports Leadership Conference?

“Being able to meet with coaches from over 26 states gives you great perspective and lessons on how to run youth programs."

"A life altering experience for anyone involved in athletics."

"I was inspired by the research, professionalism and passions of the presenters. I feel spiritually and socially nourished thanks to our retreat, the wonderful liturgies, meaningful prayers service, fellowship and shared meals. Upon leaving, I am eager to do more for the young athletes entrusted to me and through athletic ministry."

~2020 Conference Participants

"We believe every child has a right to play. If someone has the right to play, coaches have a special duty. This conference, its attendees, panelists, speakers, partner presenters and coaches opened the door to so much great information. I've come home and researched all of the above people, bought books, read articles and picked up a movie. The conference hasn't stopped for me.”  

~ 2017 Conference Participant

“Thank you so incredibly much for an insightful and informative conference at Play Like a Champion.  It is an honor to attend every year, and I hope you and the staff know what an impact you each make in sports. I am grateful for all that I learn, and I look forward to continuing to attend every summer.”  ~ 2018 Conference Participant

"I was very happy to have been part of it. There were so many excellent speakers and valuable information and community shared. I only wish I had known about it years sooner.”  ~ 2018 Conference Participant

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Play Like a Champion Today Educational Series

Tel: 574-250-6424

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