A life dedicated to improving sports for children

A life dedicated to improving sports for children


The National Alliance for Youth Sports (NAYS) today announced the retirement of Fred Engh, the organization’s founder and CEO. He will continue as president of the board overseeing special projects.

“I have never met a more dynamic and caring individual than Fred Engh,” said Marty Johnston, NAYS’ chairperson of the board. “It has been my honor and privilege to be a part of an organization that he founded and poured every ounce of his energy into every single day to make sports the very best they can be for children. It is truly inspiring to reflect on the millions of young lives that have directly benefited from his efforts through the years.”

His remarkable career has been defined by innovation, vision and passion, as he has tirelessly worked to make a difference in the lives of children through the power of sports.

He created the National Youth Sports Coaches Association (NYSCA) in 1981 because he was deeply concerned about the emotional and physical damage volunteer coaches were causing to children they were coaching, often without even realizing it.

It was an idea that forever changed the nation’s youth sports landscape.

The organization evolved into the National Alliance for Youth Sports (NAYS) in 1993, where NYSCA became one of many programs Mr. Engh oversaw – along with spearheading innovative training programs for parents, administrators and officials that have been embraced and utilized in more than 3,000 cities nationwide and on U.S. military bases worldwide. 

“I look forward to leading this organization and honoring the incredible legacy of my dad,” said John Engh, who assumes the role of executive director. “Working here for the last 28 years in many different capacities has been an incredible experience. I’m thankful for the opportunity the board has given me to build on this extraordinary organization my dad started 35 years ago that has never wavered in its commitment to providing top-quality programs and resources to enhance sports for children everywhere.”

Since NAYS’ inception Fred Engh has widely been recognized as one of the foremost authorities on youth sports, as he has frequently appeared on national television programs such as Good Morning America, CNN, ESPN’s Outside the Lines, The Today Show and ABC World News Tonight. He has shared his insight with publications like Sports Illustrated, Time and Newsweek; as well as appeared on more than 1,000 radio talk shows.

In 1999, he authored Why Johnny Hates Sports, a first-of-its-kind look at the serious problems plaguing organized sports and, more importantly, what needed to be done to correct them. In 2015 he wrote Unsinkable Spirit, which chronicles his amazing life story and which has captured several prestigious awards.  

Through the years he has spoken at numerous national and international conferences, including the International Forum on Sport in Doha, Qatar and the Pre-Olympic Symposium in Greece.

He has been named one of America’s top 100 sports educators, is in the Youth Sports Hall of Fame and is in the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Sports Hall of Fame.

An accomplished athlete himself, he was a national prep school wrestling champion. He also coached high school football, served as an athletic director and held high level positions with the Athletic Institute and the American Sports Education Institute before creating NAYS, which would become the nation’s most well-known and respected advocate for youth sports under his leadership.

Fred Engh Why Johnny Hates Sports NYSCA Passion

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