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ACE graduate goes global with new career opportunity

Caleb Fierbaugh has always enjoyed a passion for sports. His decision to turn his zeal into a career will soon take him across the globe to begin a new position with the Kaiwen Academy in Beijing, China.

As a senior at South Charleston (W.Va.) High School, he made the decision to go into coaching through the encouragement of his summer league coach. As a fan of West Virginia University football and basketball, Fierbaugh knew that WVU was the best choice for him.

“I chose the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences because I knew my time with sports wasn’t over; it had just begun with a whole new chapter. CPASS was unique because it gave me opportunities see sport from a different angle than most fans,” he explained. 

He earned his BS Athletic Coaching Education degree from CPASS in 2012, with a minor in Sport and Exercise Psychology, and an MS in Athletic Coaching Education in 2014.

As Fierbaugh worked through the ACE program, his vision broadened to understand the perspectives of coaches, players, officials, administrators and others. “It gave me the opportunity to spread my wings and go into my favorite part of sport: the mind. Having an SEP minor has helped with my philosophy and re-thinking to make it relatable. I can communicate with athletes in different ways,” he added.

Firebaugh credits his CPASS mentors, Drs. Ziatz and Dieffenbach for their guidance. “Dr. Ziatz (who retired in 2014) was the first professor from CPASS whom I met when I started college in 2008. Dr. Z helped me realize that my choice was the correct one. Dr. D had an immediate impact on me. She coaches at a high level; she is able to bring that level to the classroom,” Fierbaugh said.

“Dr. D offered the advice I needed but it was not the advice that I was expecting.  Dr. D was always in the student’s corner to help you succeed and be there to get you back on the right path,” he explained.

Fierbaugh says CPASS provided the tools to strengthen and create new skills and learn how to adapt to any situation in his career. “The ACE master’s degree program was excellent. It allowed me to build on my undergraduate degree and expand my thought process. I learned how to consider all angles of a conversation before arriving at a solution or plan,” he said.

As a college student, Fierbaugh learned to identify and embrace opportunities that would later help in his career. “Being from a somewhat small town in West Virginia to now going to China is an unbelievable break,” he added.

Fierbaugh, who currently lives in Kansas City, Missouri, first worked for Ripken Baseball and traveled the country teaching youth baseball. “I never would have dreamed I would see parts of the country that I have visited. I had never been to anywhere west of Kansas City. I have seen impressive venues while coordinating clinics (Progressive Field, Cleveland Indians/Kaufman Stadium, Kansas City/TD Ameritrade Park, College World Series home field),” said Fierbaugh.   

Fierbaugh suggests that students keep an open mind when looking for jobs. “If you want to coach at the college or professional level, allow yourself to reimagine your goal of getting that dream job. The Ripken Baseball clinics helped me realize that I do well at explaining drills and doing one-on-one and group instruction,” he added.

Fierbaugh changed his focus and started looking for instructor jobs instead of assistant coaching jobs. “Allow yourself to change your goal,” Fierbaugh concluded.
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