Instructor highlights athletic, educational career

November 08, 2016

Rachel Librach

rlibrach@uccs.edu

Not many people can say that they competed as part of two Olympic bobsledding teams, managed a retail store, served as CEO of the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation and taught college classes at UCCS.

     But Darrin Steele can say that he wore all of these hats.

     Steele, an instructor for the Sport Management Program, is working toward a Ph.D. in leadership, research and policy at UCCS.

     Steele has taught in the College of Business since 2011. His classes include SPTM 1000: Introduction to Sport Management, BUAD 1000: Introduction to Business and MKTG 4510: Sport Marketing.

     Steele was always interesting in teaching, and decided to begin his career by getting involved at UCCS.

     “I like sharing the experiences that I have. When I was a student, I didn’t like how every once and a while you would get an instructor that just didn’t have any real world experience,” said Steele.

     “In a lot of business courses and sport management, I find that it is really helpful to be able to relate it to practical applications.” Steele teaches one or two classes per term.

     Steele’s main focus is the Introduction to Sports Management course. He believes he can offer students valuable insights into business management and networking.

     “You really have to take advantage of every opportunity that you’ve got. Throughout the academic program, you’ve got the opportunity to meet a lot of people out in the sport business world and I encourage students to set up a LinkedIn account, which is great for networking.”

     Steele has a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Illinois. During college, Steele competed in track and field.

     In 2006, Steele started his Master’s of Business Administration at the University of California Berkeley.

     After a year in San Diego, Steele was hired as the CEO of the U.S Bobsled and Skeleton Federation in 2007.

     Along with his teaching and educational experiences, Steele has had a career as a decathlon athlete who competed in various events.

     Steele was part of the National Guard’s sport program in 1994 after turning down a recruitment offer to the U.S. bobsled team.

     Steele attempted to make the Olympic track and field team in 1996, but did not qualify.

     In 1996, Steele also joined the Army and was granted an extension for his World Class Athlete Program for a two years if he joined the bobsled team. Steele quickly fell in love with the sport and discovered that he had a natural talent for it.

     “I was probably a better bobsledder than decathlete in hindsight,” said Steele. The best aspect of bobsledding was the comradery with the other athletes, said Steele.

     The team members were competitive and challenged one another within their sport, according to Steele.

     In 1998, Steele competed in the Nagano Olympics in the number two position. Two years later, he tried to make the track and field team again, but did not qualify. Instead, Steele retired from bobsledding and started working.

     In 2002, Steele decided to attempt to make the bobsled team for the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Because of 9/11, Steele was feeling very patriotic.; he came out of retirement and was able to participate on the 2002 bobsled team as one of the brakemen. Steele’s team did not place.

     In the future, Steele said he can see himself continuing to work with the U.S. Olympic Committee in various roles and is motivated to see himself working with kids with autism and developmental disabilities.

     Steele’s son has autism, which inspired Steele to incorporate autistic children into athletics. Physical activity is a way to reach kids where current programs aren’t connecting with them, said Steele.

     “Anxiety is one of the big reasons kids tend to not stick with current programs since their condition hinders much of what they can do. It’s also the structure of the organizations that they are trying to participate in, and autistic kids tend to get left out a lot.”