Sports Performance Psychology Expert Dr. Tim Rice Set to Come to Ashford as University of the Rockies Transitions
When Dr. Tim Rice caught his first baseball at the age of 8, he knew he wanted to spend his life playing sports. What he didn’t know is where his love of the game would take him.
“Baseball became football, football became basketball, and basketball became every sport imaginable,” says Rice, who serves as University of the Rockies Lead Faculty, Sport and Performance Psychology, and Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) Academic Program Director.
Thanks to his passion for sports, Rice has had the opportunity to travel throughout the United States and Europe. He has coached soccer, track and field, cross country, golf, and more than 600 basketball games. He even fulfilled his dream of working in international sports as a consultant with Basketball Ireland, the FIBA governing body for the sport in the country. And he serves on the Elite Performance Committee (EPC), which governs the national underage team structure for Ireland. Today, he is widely regarded as an expert in sport and performance psychology due to his extensive and wide-ranging work in the field.
“It’s one thing to get the scholarship and the study in there, but in this field, you have to get practical experience,” he says. “I did several internships — 900 total hours. All the experience of shadowing leaders in this field and seeing how specific strategies in sports psychology and management make a difference on the performance side has given me a lot of insight.”
Rice began his coaching journey at the University of Mobile. While there on a cross country scholarship, he pursued a degree in physical education and also served as a student assistant coach under famed college coach Bill Elder.
“I always wanted to go into teaching, but the coaching bug bit me,” says Rice.
Coaching presented him with the opportunity to venture out of Alabama to a camp in upstate New York, where despite some initial culture shock, he says he launched his career.
“As a kid from the south, to go to New York and not hear people saying ‘y’all’ was a big adjustment,” Rice recalls.
Rice continued to pursue his education, earning a master’s degree and a doctorate from the United States Sports Academy. In 2010, his career path brought him to University of the Rockies. Initially he was hired as an adjunct faculty member but rose through the ranks to become the director of the Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) program, the largest academic program at the university.
“People have allegiance to the Rockies and what it’s done for them,” he says. “For me, I started out adjunct and now am the director of a program with over 400 students. Every student and every faculty member at the Rockies has taken their own path to get from point A to point B.”
As University of the Rockies prepares to integrate with Ashford University — in a transition designed to create a comprehensive and strengthened institution that includes the undergraduate programs of Ashford, the doctoral programs of University of the Rockies, and the master’s programs of both — faculty like Rice are set to bring their expertise to even more students.
“I look at the transition as a way to help us keep the Rockies flame alive for years to come,” he says. “The resources that Ashford will provide will not only improve student success but will also help all of us do our jobs better.”
No matter where he’s teaching and how far he’s come — both literally and figuratively — Rice finds the greatest satisfaction guiding each individual student through the transformation the doctoral programs bring.
“One of my favorite days is commencement because I get to see students walk across the stage and they come to me and get hooded in front of the entire community,” he says. “When I see them walk toward me, I think about the challenges they’ve gone through, going from one kind of person to the next. They are now ‘doctor,’ and I had an impact on that.”
Written by Ashford University staff