Sport Chaplaincy


Dr. Steven Waller and Dr. Harold Cottom

Rev. Harold Cottom, III, D.Min. 
Rev. Dr. Harold Cottom III, of Dayton, OH, has been in ministry for over 28 years and is the pastor of Daytonview Church of the Nazarene in Dayton. Dr. Cottom earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Religious Education from God’s Bible School and College in Cincinnati OH; Master of Divinity degree from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary; and Doctor of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary.

Dr. Cottom competed as a body builder and has been involved with sport chaplaincy for nearly 25 years working closely with high school, college and professional athletes in communities where he has pastored. He also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the M.Div. program.

Rev. Steven N. Waller, Sr., Ph.D., D.Min., CSPC
Dr. Steven Waller, of Nashville, TN, is a tenured associate professor in the department of Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport Studies at the University of Tennessee- Knoxville.  He received his Doctor of Philosophy degree from Michigan State University; Masters of Divinity from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary; and Doctor of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary.

Rev. Waller has been involved with sport chaplaincy for over two decades working closely with high school, college and professional athletes in a congregational context. He also works with athletes at UT and serves as the chaplain for the Knoxville Possums Professional Rugby Club. Dr. Waller is a certified sports pastoral counsellor (CSPC) and is currently pursuing professional certification as a chaplain through the Association of Professional Chaplains. 

Dr. Waller has published several refereed journal articles on sport chaplaincy and is currently coauthoring multiple book chapters on the subject. He currently serves as an associate pastor at Foster Chapel Baptist Church in Knoxville, TN and is a commissioned missionary.  


This specialized area of study in Doctor of Ministry Program examines the role and function of chaplains ministering in sport environments. The primary objective is to provide a solid biblical, theological, pastoral and practical foundation for ministering to players, coaches, and families in sport environments. The student will meet in focus groups on the Dayton campus of United at least twice per year in a week-long Intensive, and will meet in between these Intensives for four days of peer session with their mentor(s). 

Over the span of the program specialized seminars will be conducted to examine the biblical, theological, historical, practical, legal, ethical, and international issues that impact the effectiveness of sport chaplains.   


The overall objective of this program is to help the student to focus on a project conducive to his/her context of ministry.

Program Requirements

  1. Each student must have completed the required coursework in an accredited program with a M.Div. degree or equivalent in Pastoral Care and Counselling.

  2. One basic unit of clinical pastoral education (CPE) in a sport related context, under the supervision of an ACPE supervisor. Each student must complete the basic unit within 24 months of enrollment. 

  3. Each student is required to find and be guided by a professional mentor that is currently serving as a sport chaplain.

  4. Each student must submit an application for credentialing through the International Sports Professionals Association (ISPA) during the first semester of year 2. 

  5. All fees for these requirements will be paid by the student in addition to United tuition and fees. 

Federal student loans are available through our Financial Aid office.

Professional Affiliations

All students are highly encouraged to affiliate with one or more of the following organizations that actively advocate for sport chaplaincy. 

Fellowship of Christian Athletes

Athletes in Action

United States Council for Sports Chaplaincy

Sport Chaplains Roundtable

Sport Chaplains Network