Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Graduate Coordinator and Professor of Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport
Specializations: Sport Facility Design, Sport Finance, Sport Law, Sport Management, Sport Marketing
Thomas Sawyer, Ed. D.
Office Phone: (812) 237-2645
Dr. Sawyer received his Bachelor of Science degree (1968) in Health, Physical Education, and Recreation and a Master of Physical Education degree (1971) concentrating on HPER and sport administration from Springfield College (Springfield, MA), the “Harvard” for Physical Education/Coaching and YMCA executives. He received his doctorate (1977) from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech or the Hokies) in higher education administration with an emphasis in community college administration.
He has taught in higher education since 1969 (Virginia Military Institute (VMI) [1969-79], University of Bridgeport (UB) [1979-81], Montana College of Mineral Science and Technology (Montana Tech) [1981-84], and Indiana State University (ISU) [1984-present day]). Dr. Sawyer earned the rank of full-professor at age 38. He has been a department head (Montana Tech), department chairperson (Indiana State University, Department of Physical Education), associate athletic director (Montana Tech), director of recreational sports (VMI, UB, and Montana Tech), baseball coach (Springfield College, VMI, and UB), track and field coach (VMI), soccer coach (UB, and Terre Haute South Vigo High School), director of academic partnerships (ISU), and a sports official (HS and college baseball, football, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, track and field, and volleyball). He is a long time member of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (AAPHERD); National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE); Indiana Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (IAHPERD); North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM); The Sport and Recreation Law Association (SRLA); American Association for Active Lifestyles and Fitness (AAALF), and the American Association for Physical Activity and Recreation (AAPAR).
Dr. Sawyer has written over 150 professional articles, numerous chapters in textbooks, and six textbooks. He has delivered over 175 presentations and workshops at state, regional, national, and international conferences. He currently serves on the board of directors for the AAALF (now AAPAR). Dr. Sawyer served as AAALF’s president from 1998-2001. He was the Chair of the Policy Board for the Journal of Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (JOPERD) from 2000-2003. He was the Chair of the Editorial Board for JOPERD from 1992-94. Dr. Sawyer also served as the president of the Indiana AHPERD in 1992. He currently is the editor for the Indiana AHPERD journal/newsletter. He was the Law Review editor for JOPERD from 1997-2003,2009-12 and formerly the editor of the Journal of Legal Aspects (1995-2000). Finally, he served as the treasurer and executive director of the Society for the Study of the Legal Aspects of Physical Activity and Sport (SSLASPA) from 1992-2000 now known as the Sport and Recreation Law Association (SRLA).
Dr. Sawyer’s community service has focused on three major areas: (a) working on public school improvement with the North Central Association and the Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA-CASI) where he has served as an NCA-CASI Ambassador and External Visitation Chair (1984 – present), (b) serving as a coaching education specialists delivering a statewide coaching education program to public schools called LANSE (1988-present), and (c) volunteering for the American Red Cross with the local chapter since 1984, with the state governing body from 1992-1998, 2001-2006, and with Service Area 5 (Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio) beginning in July 2004 and ending in 2008.
Dr. Sawyer is a sport and recreation consultant working with lawyers on the defendant and plaintiffs side in injury cases. The cases worked focus on recreation facilities and programs, sport facilities, and physical education facilities and programs. Dr. Sawyer provides expert reports and testimony.
Dr. Sawyer has been awarded the Caleb Mills Distinguished Teaching Award (ISU, 1995), the Howard Richardson Outstanding Performance Award (School of HHP, ISU, 1995), the Faculty Distinguished Service Award (ISU, 1997), the Theodore Dressier Distinguished Research and Creativity Award (ISU, 2010), and the Council on Facilities and Equipment honor award 2002, the Sport and Recreation Law Association honor award 2003, the American Association for Active Lifestyles and Fitness honor award 2003, and American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance honor award 2004, elected as a fellow to the North American Society for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport, and Dance Professionals (2001), and others.
He is married to Kathleen Sawyer and has three grown children (Shawn, a Senior Correctional Officer Specialist with Federal Bureau of Prisons, Terre Haute; Peter a major in the US Army Military Police stationed in Fort Hood, TX; and Meghan a graphic design artist at SONY DADC). Dr. Sawyer has four lovely grandchildren – Aubree, Finley, Alexandra, and Grayson). He and his family (except Peter) reside in Riley, IN.
... education is not to reform students nor amuse them nor make them expert technicians. It is to unsettle their minds, widen their horizons, influence their intellects, stimulate their curiosity, allow them to create freely, and teach them to think logically, if at all possible.