Former NFL coach and Presidential Leadership Scholar Daron Roberts traded crafting plays to win football games for teaching plays to win at life. As a lecturer and founding director of the Center for Sports Leadership & Innovations (CSLi) at the University of Texas, Daron’s focus is to cultivate the character development, leadership skills, and long-term welfare of athletes and coaches.

Daron developed a course, “A Gameplan for Winning at Life,” that is taught to incoming freshmen at UT. During each academic year, Daron teaches nearly 300 students.

While attending PLS, Daron was inspired to expand the reach of CSLi through the Captains Academy program.

“Captains Academy brings boy and girl captains of the high schools in Austin to UT to three half-day leadership training sessions,” Daron said. “The genesis for this idea was born from PLS. I saw how my own leadership style was enhanced after the first and second PLS sessions and understood that there was a need for this type of leadership training at the high school level.”

The program, jointly crafted by Daron and the Austin Independent School District, provides training to high school team captains in areas of effective communication, human intelligence, and decision-making. After 100 participants completed the pilot program in 2016, Captains Academy was made available to any high school team sport captain in Austin.

Daron Roberts

Class of 2015


Founding Director, Center for Sports Leadership & Innovation,

The University of Texas at Austin

About His Project

Captains Academy trains high school varsity captains in critical leadership skills. The program, jointly crafted by Daron Roberts and Austin Independent School District, will provide leadership training to 140 captains during the fall of 2015. This training addresses the lack of consistent development programs in the areas of effective communications, human intelligence and decision-making for high school student-athletes. To date, AISD and the Center for Sports Leadership & Innovation have signed a memorandum of understanding that will enable participants to undergo three days of training in September 2015. The program will scale up to include two additional districts in 2016.