Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management at Isenberg

Harold J. Vanderzwaag Distinguished Alumnus Award

In 1993, the Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management at Isenberg established the Harold J. VanderZwaag Distinguished Alumnus Award, named in honor of the man who founded the Sport Management Program at the University of Massachusetts. The criteria for the award are: "professional excellence and outstanding achievement in the sports industry and dedication to the Sport Management Program at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst." See List of Award Winners.


Harold J. VanderZwaag, Professor Emeritus, B.A., Calvin College, 1951.  M.A., University of Michigan, 1952.  Ph.D., 1962.

     Dr. VanderZwaag came to the University in 1967 as Head of the Department of Physical Education for Men.  In 1974, Professor VanderZwaag was appointed as the first Head of the Department of Sport Studies (later becoming Sport Management and now the Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management). 

     Dr. VanderZwaag is the author and coauthor of six books. Throughout his tenure he was the president of the Philosophic Society for the Study of Sport and editor of the Journal of the Philosophy of Sport. His academic appointments prior to UMass were the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, DePaul University and the University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana. He was a visiting lecturer at several universities in the United States, Canada and Europe.  It was during this time that he was appointed as a Landsdowne Scholar at the University of Victoria, British Columbia.

     Professor VanderZwaag's career is marked by the development of the UMass Sport Management Department in 1973 and is still revered as the pioneer of Sport Management education. In 2007 Professor Dr. VanderZwaag was recognized by the Institute for International Sport as one of the 100 Most Influential Sports Educators in America.

     Professor VanderZwaag officially retired from the University in June 1993, and passed away in 2011.