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Sports and after-school programs are opportunities for character development.

Whether young people are on a tennis team or a robotics team, their coaches have a responsibility to foster and model character. And not just performance character (such as grit and resilience). All sports coaches and adults involved in after-school programs also need to reinforce the core values as honesty, gratitude, and service to others. 

Coaches Develop Character

Chris Moore, President of Positive Coaching Alliance, interviewed former NFL player and coach Herm Edwards about the relationship between sports and character at the 2021 Character.org Forum. Watch the clip.

Herm Edwards is the head football coach at Arizona State University. Prior to his role at ASU, he was an ESPN analyst and head coach for the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs. Originally an athlete himself, Edwards played cornerback for ten seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Rams, and Atlanta Falcons.

Champions For Character

Champions For Character – Sports

Character.org is proud to recognize the St. Louis-based organization Character Loves Company for inspiring and empowering coaches and athletes to model and foster the core values of integrity and sportsmanship. The organization was founded by Pete Paciorek, a former MLB baseball player and author of the book Character Loves Company: Defining the Teachable Moments in Sports-A Guidebook to Character Literacy Development.

Champions For Character – After-School

Character.org is proud to recognize the Center for Leadership Development (CLD) for empowering African-American and minority youth in Central Indiana to practice the character strengths of integrity, discipline, and purpose. Based in Indianapolis, and founded in 1977, more than 12,000 young people have “graduated” from CLD’s after-school programs and character development experiences.

Interested in learning more?

Here are some organizations that can help you get started:

InsideOut Initiative

Empowers school communities to implement purpose-based athletics.

Penn Athletics Wharton Leadership Academy

Provides student-athletes with opportunities to receive best-in-class leadership training that focuses on character, personal values, and effective communication.

Character Development and Leadership

Teaches student-athletes the importance of character, leadership and sportsmanship.


A grassroots movement with a mission to spread the importance of positive sportsmanship.

Positive Coaching Alliance

Offers resources to help coaches create a more inclusive experience for all athletes.