Sport Psychology

Smith Carlos StatueThe Sport Psychology program, housed within the Department of Kinesiology, features a balance between the research and applied domains, and offers a high degree of flexibility that allows undergraduate and masters-level students to customize their studies to meet their individual needs. Whether your goal is to be a better coach, or go on to complete your Ph.D., the SJSU Sport Psychology program will help prepare you for success.

About the Sport Psychology Program

Woman sitting with a laptop on her lap in a librarySport Psychology has strong roots at SJSU, dating back to the 1940s when Dorthy Hazeltine Yates started a class for aviators and athletes called "Psychology of Adjustment" in 1942. Interestingly, particularly for that time period, she also worked with high-level boxers on relaxation techniques and other forms of basic psychological skills training! Sport Psychology continued to be a major presence at San Jose State through the influential work of the late Dr. Bruce Ogilvie, often referred to as the grandfather of North American Sport Psychology, and Dr. Tom Tutko, who began working with athletes in the 1960s. They later authored the classic text entitled, "Problem athletes and how to handle them," and their research laid the groundwork for future researchers and practitioners.

Currently, the Sport Psychology program maintains a strong interdisciplinary focus, so that students have the freedom to draw from various disciplines both within and outside of Kinesiology. For example, graduate students have drawn from the areas of Sport Sociology, Cultural Studies, Women's Studies, Exercise Physiology, Cognitive Psychology and Coaching/Pedagogy. Our diverse group of students come from a variety of cultural and academic backgrounds, and past masters degree recipients have gone on to successfully pursue doctoral degrees, as well as work in teaching, coaching and private business. Finally, graduate students now have the opportunity to conduct research in the newly created Department of Kinesiology Qualitative Research Lab, which is equipped with a variety of data collection and analysis materials.

In short, the nationally recognized faculty in the Sport Psychology program share a passion for both research and teaching, and look forward to helping both undergraduate and graduate students achieve their personal and academic goals, whatever they may be.

Sport Psychology Faculty and Staff

Dr. Theodore Butryn Ted Butryn, Ph.D.
Sport Sociology and Sport Psychology
Graduate Program Coordinator

Jessica Chin Jessica Chin, Ph.D.
Research and Core Specialist
Undergraduate Program Coordinator

Matthew Masucci Matthew Masucci, Ph.D.
Professor (Interim Associate Dean-CHHS)
Sport Philosophy and Cultural Studies

Dr. Tamar Semerjian Tamar Semerjian, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair
Sport and Exercise Psychology

Sport Psychology Faculty Bios

Dr. Ted M. Butryn

  • B.S. in Human Performance (Sport Psychology), University of Tennessee (1993)
  • M.A. in Kinesiology (emphasis: Sport Psychology), San Jose State University (1997)
  • Ph.D. in Cultural Studies & Sport Psychology, University of Tennessee (2000)

I currently teach and conduct research in both applied sport psychology and critical sport sociology. I teach a variety of courses, including graduate courses in research methods (qualitative emphasis) and sport sociology, and undergraduate courses in psychology of coaching, diversity, stress, and health, and sport sociology. My recent research areas in sport psychology involve the intersection of applied sport psychology and critical sport sociology and cultural studies, athletes' use of music in sport, and I am currently finishing a study on college football players' experiences of friendships. Within the domain of sport and culture, my main emphasis is on the application of cyborg theory to sport, and the cultural meanings of professional wrestling. My recent publications have appeared in The Sport Psychologist, Sociology of Sport Journal, Journal of Sport and Social Issues, Journal of Sport Behavior, and Research in Philosophy and Technology. Finally, I have consulted with athletes in several sports, including men's and women's cross-country, football, men's golf, men's judo, women's water polo, and women's soccer. Outside my professional life, I was a member of the 1991 NCAA championship track and field team at Tennessee, and continue to pursue both competitive and recreational athletic endeavors.

Dr. David M. Furst

  • B.A. in Psychology, San Francisco State University (1969)
  • M.A. in Physical Education (concentration:Sport Psychology), UC Davis (1972)
  • Ph.D. in Physical Education (concentration:Sport Psychology), Penn State (1981)
  • M.Ed. in Counseling Education, Penn State (1982)

I currently teach a graduate course in sport psychology and research methods, and undergraduate courses in sport psychology, sport sociology, and stress management. My primary areas of research interests include endurance athletes, attentional focus, and altered states of consciousness. My research studies have appeared in the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, the British Journal of Social Psychology, Journal of Sport Behavior, the Journal of Clinical Psychology, and Psychological Reports. Currently, I am an Associate Editor for Perceptual and Motor Skills and the Journal of Sport Behavior, and I also review textbooks for numerous publishers. I have mentored both masters and doctoral students at three different universities, and one of my doctoral students won the university wide award for the best dissertation of the year. My students have gone on for the Ph.D., or found positions in teaching, coaching, or private business. Outside of academics, I have been a competitive distance runner for over 40 years. Achievements include running the fastest 5K in the US within my age group in 1991, and winning the National Cross Country Championships in the seniors division in 1996.

Dr. Matthew A. Masucci

  • B.A. in Liberal Studies (Philosophy & Psychology), Salisbury University, MD
  • M.A. in Philosophy, Ohio University
  • Ph.D. in Social/Cultural Foundations of Sport & Cultural Studies, University of Tennessee

In my role as the Interdisciplinary Specialist in Sport Studies, I teach a variety of courses including Sport in America, Diversity, Stress, & Health, as well as Graduate Research Methods with a focus on qualitative methodologies. In general my research is interdisciplinary and involves the intersection of cultural studies, critical sport studies, philosophy, and sociology. Primarily my work has centered on the intersection of sport and narrative and the implications on both identity and moral choice making. My research has been published in the Journal of Sport and Social Issues, among others and I have recently presented research on the Tour de France and seven time Tour winner Lance Armstrong at international conferences. In the realm of sport studies, I am currently working on a critical, historical and political analysis of Mixed Martial Arts fighting. I have served on several sport psychology focused Master's thesis and I welcome the opportunity to bring my disciplinary perspective to our student's work. Beyond my scholarly activities, I enjoy participating in a host of outdoor activities including running, hiking and camping. In addition, I have been a competitive cyclist (road, track and mountain bike) for the better part of 20 years and still compete occasionally in multisport and cycling events.