Master of Arts in Higher Education (MAHE) Theses

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

C. Skip Trudeau

Second Advisor

Timothy Herrmann

Third Advisor

Scott Moeschberger


The current study looked at the perceptions student-athletes held of the impact of their coaches in regards to moral and character development. Through a qualitative systematic grounded theory approach, the study strove to answer the questions “What perceptions do student-athletes hold of their coaches’ moral development and character building efforts?” and “Do coaches have positive or negative impacts on their teams’ moral development?” Eight athletes from a private, faith-based institution in the Midwest participated in interviews. Findings of this study suggest that student-athletes hold positive perceptions of their coaches’ moral and character development abilities. Student-athletes specifically highlighted well-communicated expectations, intentional mentorship, and the integration of faith as being key contributors to their positive experiences. The theory that intentional mentorship of athletes by coaches leads to students’ positive character development emerged directly from the data. This finding highlights the significance of mentorship roles coaches can often play and that athletic departments should encourage this mentorship practice.