Larry Judge, Ball State associate chairperson and professor in the School of Kinesiology, received the USA Track and Field Joe Vigil Sport Science Award Dec. 3.
Judge was given the award at the USATF 2016 Annual Awards Breakfast in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
The award is given to someone who is active in the area of sports scholarships and utilizes scientific techniques in their coaching methods.
"It’s a really cool award because it really helps me bridge the gap between my former life as a full-time collegiate coach and my current position as a college professor," Judge said.
Judge was a track and field throws coach at Florida before he took his position at Ball State. He coached his athletes at Florida to 34 All-American honors, 16 individual SEC titles and 6 individual NCAA titles within five years.
"It really helps me wear the hat of coach, but also coach educator and sports scientist," Judge said.
In spring 2016, Judge took a sabbatical to coach at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California. In the summer, he went to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and coached Felisha Johnson in the shot put. He returned to Brazil two weeks later to serve as the assistant coach for the throws in the Paralympic Games
Judge said he is grateful his sabbatical fell on an Olympic year.
"It also gave me time to focus in on some of my research and help improve performances of my athletes," he said.
Judge has had the opportunity to work and spend time with Vigil, who the award is named after.
"He’s not just an amazing medaling coach, but also sports scientist and somebody who just epitomizes what coaching is all about," Judge said.
Vigil is a long-time coach and contributor for USATF, co-founder of the USATF Coaches Education Program and 14-time Coach of the Year.
Judge is the current chair of the USATF Coaches Education program, so he said he has a lot of respect and admiration for Vigil.
"Certainly he’s the kind of guy I want to idol and follow in his footsteps," Judge said.