VSU's Fitness Guru

August 8, 2010

VSU's Fitness Guru


If it entails fitness, Shawn Phippen is likely involved. The Assistant Director of Fitness, Facilities and Aquatics implemented personal training, exercise testing, swim lessons and Red Cross classes for Student Recreation Center (SRC) Members; he coordinates several campus 5K races and oversees nearly 100 student employees. His schedule would make most people tired before their first cup of joe.

"I like keeping busy, and I love helping students develop into better leaders and individuals," said Phippen, who has been known to pull 16-hour workdays. "I am currently working with Housing and Residence Life to create a Wellness Floor; I am also trying to create a lifeguarding club and competition, which will challenge lifeguards throughout the country to compete for prizes and improve their skills."

The fall is a busy time for this California native, who started working at VSU in 2003. Phippen is gearing up for the VSU Fun Run -- held Saturday, Aug. 21 -- and the 10K Turkey Trot in November. Come Halloween, Phippen will help organize Campus Recreation’s Haunted Trail October 26-28; the spooky walk through the VSU Ropes Course raises money for student professional development opportunities. Red Cross classes (CPR, first aid, and lifeguarding instructor courses) begin the third week in August.

Phippen, whose research interests include exercise and immunology, teaches several courses at VSU. Athletic Care and Prevention of Injuries challenges students to design rehabilitation programs and prevention information about a variety of common sport injuries. His lifeguarding course prepares students to teach swimming lessons and engage in water and other life saving skills. Students enrolled in Biomechanics learn the mechanics of human movement.

"Biomechanics plays an important role in helping students learn how to improve performance, rehabilitation and injury prevention," said Phippen, who earned a master’s degree in sports medicine and a minor in biology. "Students learn to break down movements and complete a compressive project on a movement, which includes filming the breakdown of all elements of the movement from the muscles involved to the angles and forces."

When he is not teaching or training at the SRC, Phippen is likely spending time with his wife, Crystal, and three dogs -- 12-year-old Beagle Tess, two-year-old pit-bull-lab mix Elvis, and one-year-old mutt Lucey. Crystal, who Phippen met at VSU, teaches at math Valdosta High School and VSU Continuing Education. The two purchased their first home on June 29.