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Summer 2004 | Volume 26, Number 7 | Faculty
Tripps Leads “Athletes for a Better World”

IN 1998, A PROFESSIONAL basketball player tried to strangle his coach during a game. That same year, Fred Northup, a retired Episcopal priest, pursued a vision for a program that inspires athletes to exhibit personal integrity and sportsmanship.

Athletes for a Better World (ABW) set out “to change the culture of sport by reaffirming the development of individual character, teamwork and civic responsibility through commitment to a concrete athletic Code for Living.” Northup appointed Dan G. Tripps, professor of physical education at Seattle Pacific University, to be the program’s first executive director.

Fueled by volunteer efforts, ABW is growing quickly into an influential nonprofit organization with a national governing board. Operational staff members in Seattle, including seven SPU graduate students, facilitate the activities of 50 state organizing committees. They work with major media outlets and oversee outreach efforts to community and interscholastic programs, club sports, and college and professional sports programs.

Bigger dreams are also becoming reality. Legendary UCLA Coach John Wooden has given ABW permission to establish an annual awards event in his name, honoring one college and one professional athlete of exceptional character. In 2005, ABW will contribute in an effort to eliminate alcohol beverage advertisements from sports broadcasts. “We are out there!” says Tripps. “We have regular meetings with staff at the NCAA and every professional sports league to discuss a value-oriented approach and interactive partnerships.”

Tripps hopes Seattle Pacific volunteers will remain integral to ABW’s future: “This is an opportunity for SPU to be an influential voice in the dialogue about the future of sports.” So far, ABW has inspired commitments from more than 50,000 athletes, coaches and parents to demonstrate discipline, respect, cooperation, integrity and compassion.

For information about ABW, visit the organization’s Web site at

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