Candidate Statements for Division 47. Society for Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology

Please note that the submission of a candidate statement was voluntary, so not all candidates listed on the ballot will have a statement.

Candidate: Mitch Abrams, PsyD

Office: President-elect

Candidate Statement:

I am honored to have the opportunity to run for President-Elect of Division 47. I believe that in sport and life, a lot of success depends upon timing. For me, I believe that time is now.

We are at a time when sport is not an escape from reality, but is a reflection of the world’s problems. Whether the topic is performance enhancement, social justice, or mental health issues athletes face, sport psychologists have the expertise and proficiency to step up and answer the call. Athletes should not be alone in their advocacy as sports provide the perfect platform to draw society’s attention to inequities. Sport psychologists should, and will be, standing with athletes.

This coincides with the call to action from the sports world and the ever-present media to look for answers. Though I have been outspoken in my areas of expertise, anger management, sexual & domestic violence, and trauma in sports, I have often been a loud voice in the darkness. I hope that this office allows us to collaborate, students and professionals, from Division 47 and beyond, to speak to the many issues that need attention. Mental health issues for athletes and cultural diversity awareness will be two areas prioritized.

I believe strongly in not just talking about a platform, but taking action. I will work to make sport psychology deliverable to the places that have not had access because ultimately, helping people perform their best is something generalizable to all populations; not just those playing sports.




Candidate: Douglas M. Hankes, PhD

Office: President-elect

Candidate Statement:

Doug is a licensed psychologist and the Director of the Auburn University Student Counseling Services. For the past 15 years, he has been a member of the Optimum Performance Sports Team that provides performance and mental health-related services to Auburn University student-athletes. Doug has previously served on the Division 47 Executive Committee as the Secretary-Treasurer (2010-13) and the Newsletter Editor (1998-2003).

It is an honor to be asked to run for President of Division 47, an organization that has played an important role in my professional identity as a sport and counseling psychologist. My work on previous executive committees has led to many meaningful personal and professional relationships and resulted in several accomplishments that I was proud to be a part.

Three content areas will guide my mission as President. First, continue to promote the Proficiency in Sport Psychology. It is still highly disappointing the number of professionals in “sport psychology” who are either unaware or dismiss the importance of a model to guide the competent practice of sport psychology. Second, reemphasize ethics as a foundational element within sport, exercise, and performance psychology. I find too many sport psychologists playing fast and loose with a blanket explanation that they work in a “unique” field that encourages non-traditional approaches. Third, support what seems like a renaissance in the use of exercise and physical activity in the prevention and treatment of mental health issues throughout the lifespan. As President, like any good sport psychologist, I hope to under promise and over deliver.




Candidate: Brandonn S. Harris, PhD

Office: Member-at-Large

Candidate Statement:

It is a great honor to be considered for the Member-at-Large position within Division 47: The Society for Sport, Exercise & Performance Psychology. Having the opportunity to serve Division 47 as its program co-chair for the past two years has been a tremendous experience and privilege. As my role as program co-chair comes to an end, I am eager to continue furthering the mission and agenda of our Division as a Member-at-Large. Additionally, having the experience to serve the Division for the previous two years has prepared me to continue supporting the Society's current initiatives, including social activism and justice, as well as proficiency-related endeavors supporting the competent and ethical practice of professionals in our field. I am extremely dedicated to fulfilling the duties of this position with the same care and quality as my predecessors and on behalf of our members and field. This could include serving as a chair of ad hoc committees and supporting our membership committee. Further, I would also ensure that the reviewing and updating of the Division’s Policies and Procedures document occurs in an efficient manner and that this and other important resources continue to be made available through our Division’s website. The work our Division is charged with is very important to the continued progression and development of our field. It would be an honor to continue working on behalf of our members and field in this role to continue the exciting and critical efforts that have been accomplished thus far.




Candidate: Vincent Granito Jr., PhD

Office: Council Representative

Candidate Statement:

It is an honor to be nominated for the Council Representative Position of Division 47. This is a great time to be involved with Division 47 with the renewal of the proficiency and the work being done on the Clinical Practice Guidelines. Division 47 is now positioned itself to become a leader in establishing sport, exercise and performance psychology as a profession. Division 47 has always had an eclectic mix among our members, with professionals from psychology, sport sciences, and medicine. While the field is taking off, it is also a time for transition and change within the overall APA structure. The APA council made the historic decision to support pursuing accreditation of master’s level programs in psychology in areas where APA already accredits. This could have tremendous implications for the field of sport psychology and the work Division 47 does.




Candidate: Anthony P Kontos, PhD

Office: Council Representative

Candidate Statement:

I am honored to be nominated for APA Council Representative for the Society for Sport, Exercise & Performance Psychology/Division 47. I was fortunate to serve the Society/Division 47 previously as Program Chair, Member-At-Large, and President, and learned a great deal about our Society in relation to the overall APA governance/framework. This is an important time of growth and recognition in our field, with challenges- promoting ethical practice, enhancing social justice, building evidence-based standards- and opportunities- enhancing training for students and developing practice guidelines. We need a strong presence in APA Council to support our shared purpose and goals.

My vision for this position is to focus on the following key objectives for our field and Society: 1) leverage the resources of APA (e.g., Board of Professional Affairs, Committee of Specialties and Proficiencies, Committee of Professional Practice and Standards) to support our efforts in developing and implementing Practice Guidelines, 2) promote- through the APA Board of Scientific Affairs- increased support for research to build evidence for practice within our field, and 3) enhance training opportunities and professional pathways for students and young professionals through the Board of Educational Affairs and Committee on Young Career Psychologists.

I am excited about the potential opportunity to serve you and the Society/Division 47 in meeting the challenges that lie ahead by representing our field in the APA Council of Representatives. Thank you!




Candidate: Bernadette M. Compton, MS

Office: Student Representative

Candidate Statement:

My name is Bernadette Compton and a third year PhD student in American Culture Studies and Sport Psychology at Bowling Green State University. I am currently teaching undergraduate sport psychology and mental skills classes, researching, and consulting at BGSU. I am in the process of developing my dissertation on LGBT sport ally groups. As a student representative for APA Division 47, I would like to advocate for more attention to diversity and inclusion to better prepare APA members for consulting and social justice work. I believe it is important for members to feel competent in their abilities to address diversity and inclusion and have these conversations with their athletes and clients. Secondly, I want to advocate for mental health awareness within the field of sport psychology even if one is not licensed as a counselor or psychologist. While, I am not working towards a clinical or counseling degree, I feel being an advocate for mental health can make a huge impact on my athletes. I know there are sport psychology professionals who do not have the training in counseling or clinical psychology, but with guidance and education these professionals can be advocates within sport and exercise. In short, as a student representative, I want to help build an awareness that the people we work with are more than a single identity.




Candidate: Breigh A. Jones, MA

Office: Student Representative

Candidate Statement:

I am finishing up my last quarter of my Master’s program at the University of Denver in Sport and Performance Psychology and will be entering the PsyD program at the University of Denver this fall. As a student in this field, I have not necessarily been informed or encouraged to become a member myself with Division 47 as much as I have with other organizations. I recognize that this lack of communication/education around this division is an area of growth that I feel excited and equipped to tackle if offered the student representative position. I am extremely passionate about outreach and giving students the resources that they need to succeed in this field. This is evident through my work in my program in which I spearheaded a Diversity and Inclusion Chair position with the hopes of placing these specific values at the forefront of our program. I feel that diversity and inclusion, along with many other values like integrity, life-long learning, service, excellence, and collaboration should continuously be upheld and supported in this field and I am confident that through this position, we can reinforce these values in this division and in the greater Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology community. My greatest purpose in this field and in life is to advocate for others and be a voice for the voiceless. Through this position, I feel that I can fulfill my purpose and Division 47’s by coordinating appropriate trainings and increasing student membership/involvement, because teamwork does make the dream work.