We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich, and are sending our deepest condolences to Rosandich’s family and friends. Dr. Rosandich, who passed away on Saturday, August 29, 2020, at the age of 88 from natural causes, served as the President of USA Team Handball during the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games. He was an influential force in the international handball community, as well as in the sports community as a whole, and will be deeply missed.
A long-time leader in sport and sport education around the world, Rosandich founded the United States Sports Academy, an educational institution of sport that offers degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels to students around the globe and serves as the only accredited free-standing sports university in America.
Rosandich decided to found the Academy in 1972, in response to a poor performance by the United States Olympic team in the 1972 Munich Games. Research suggested that American athletes were lacking quality coaching and training, which Rosandich believed could best be remedied through education. Read more about the U.S. Sports Academy and Rosandich's legacy here.
Rosandich was awarded the Olympic Order in 1997 from the International Olympic Committee, the highest award of the Olympic Movement that is awarded for particularly distinguished contributions to the Olympic Movement, i.e. recognition of efforts worthy of merit in the cause of sport.
Rosandich starred in football and track and field at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, where he graduated with a degree in physical education and history in 1954. He went on to earn a master’s degree in sport administration from the National School of Sport at the University of Indonesia and a Ph.D. in research at Union Graduate School in Ohio.
Following graduation from UW-La Crosse, Rosandich began a 20-year career of service in the United States Marine Corps Reserve, where he coached numerous world record and Olympic track and field athletes. He was the founder and director of the inaugural Marine Corps Schools Relays in Quantico, Va., and was named the All-Marine Track and Field Coach, All-Marine Cross Country Coach and All-Service Coach in 1956 in which capacity he coached the military track and field athletes in the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games.
He was inducted into the UW-La Crosse Athletic Wall of Fame in 1983, named the Maurice O. Graff Distinguished Alumnus in 1989, and is honored annually with the Rosandich Thesis Award, which recognizes the student with the best master’s degree thesis of the year.
Please see below for a letter regarding Dr. Rosandich's passing from International Handball Federation President, Dr. Hassan Moustafa.