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The Carolina Leadership Academy, a nationally renowned training program for UNC athletes, coaches and staff, has been renamed the Richard A. Baddour Carolina Leadership Academy in honor of the recently retired director of athletics, who created the program in 2004.
This is the eighth year the academy has been developing and supporting leadership skills in and out of the competitive environment through interactive workshops, feedback, one-on-one coaching, peer mentoring and educational resources.
“The leadership academy means a great deal to me because it touches every one of our student-athletes and coaches,” said Baddour ’66. “This is the highest compliment I have ever received.” Chancellor Holden Thorp ’86 announced the naming at an event honoring Baddour for his 45 years of service to the University.
The program invests approximately 4,700 hours in training athletes and coaches annually. About 400 athletes, including all freshmen, participate each year.
“The CLA was an integral part of our team winning the ACC regular season, the ACC tournament, and the NCAA tournament this year,” said senior Kirk Urso of the national championship men’s soccer team. “CLA brought together a core group of our team’s leaders to discuss real issues that we were experiencing on our team through the season and offered us advice and solutions to help fix those problems. CLA also informed us about certain pitfalls and warning signs that we needed to be aware of as leaders in order to make sure our team stayed focused and committed to the objectives that we had set out to reach at the beginning of the season.”
Blair Meiggs, a senior captain of the women’s rowing team, said, “The Carolina Leadership Academy is a program that has not only positively impacted my team’s success, but one that has also taught me many lessons I will carry with me for the rest of my life.”
“It’s a great tribute to his impact on Carolina athletics,” said field hockey Coach Karen Shelton. “The leadership training our student-athletes get has been essential to our success on the field, but the impact extends far off the field, to their academic lives, social lives and the people they are when they leave UNC. The training is life-changing for students, and also for coaches and staff. I’ve gained from it personally, and I know my colleagues have, too.”