During WWI, General Douglas MacArthur observed closely how officers and enlisted men alike with experience in team sports (football, baseball, basketball, etc.) and some individual sports (boxing, fencing, swimming, etc.) performed better under combat conditions. This observation left a lasting impression on him. When General MacArthur served as the Superintendent of the Military Academy at West Point, he initiated the expansion of their competitive sports program. The focus of this effort was to provide cadets with the physical discipline required to compete in academy-level athletics as well as team skills and sportsmanship. From this activity, cadets expanded their understanding of leadership as well as a belief that “the game is not over until the game is over.” Even today, West Point graduates are known for their tenacity – on and off the field. It is with tenacity that these cadets graduate into commissioned officers who are skilled leaders, gifted team players, and warriors who do not know the meaning of surrender or quit. Not long after West Point initiated their expanded focus on team sports, the other academies followed suit. Therefore, all of the academy admission boards seek outstanding young men and women who are proven scholars; but also, proficient athletes as well as leaders. And for this reason, Greystone was directed by the academies to create a challenging sports program as part of its Physical Fitness program.
From the very beginning when the Greystone concept was nothing more than an idea, a challenging fitness and sports component seemed like a natural fit. Not only would such a program help to prepare students for their Candidate Fitness Assessment (CFA), Physical Readiness Test (PRT) and Physical Fitness Examination (PFE)*, it would also serve as a bonding mechanism to help bring the team together as a tight unit – something that is essential to our goal of high achievement for our candidates. From 1998-2000 while serving as a Naval Academy instructor, the Greystone Founder, Commander Dave Bailey was able to speak to several officers and coaches within the various academy sports programs. They were intrigued with the possibility of elevating the level of physical conditioning and sports involvement of candidates entering the academy and therefore willing to contribute their advice and counsel. However, it was not until he spoke with Lieutenant Stewart Smith, former Navy SEAL and now a world-renowned fitness consultant, that the Greystone Physical Conditioning Program took shape. Stew provided Greystone with a fitness plan specifically designed to empower students to increase their strength, agility and stamina so they can “maximize” each section of the CFA. The workout plan was then implemented into a morning workout routine using the Schreiner campus and extensive athletic facilities. From the very first day, Greystone students have followed this workout plan designed by Stew Smith and all have significantly improved their CFA scores, making them more competitive academy candidates.
Although the CFA only represents 10% of the candidate evaluation score, Greystone is committed to “leaving no stone unturned” because our candidates are completely motivated to maximize every opportunity to earn their academy appointments. Additionally, by improving strength, agility and stamina, students are more capable of excelling through their summer training experience awaiting them at the academies. All candidates, participate in a 6-7-week summer training program filled with physical and mental challenges that they must endure prior to the start of their academic year. Failure to successfully complete the academy summer training program will result in dismissal or the assignment of remedial training. Therefore, one of the major objectives of any candidate must be that they are in the best shape of their lives! Pushing the forward edge of the fitness envelope will ensure that they are not the target of “negative leadership motivation” for falling behind during their summer training, the less attention they attract from the academy upper class, the better!
In regard to competitive sports, all Greystone students are full-time Schreiner students and as such, they are eligible to participate in Schreiner varsity, JV, and intramural sports. However, due to the conflicting time demands of the Schreiner varsity and JV sports teams and the Greystone program, most Greystone students elect to solely participate in intramural sports to maintain their focus on academics which represents 60% of the competitive scores for reapplicants.
Over 87% of all Greystone students were varsity athletes in high school and therefore many aspire to become varsity athletes at the academies. The trick to making this happen for the Greystone candidate is to first get them “qualified” to enter the academy. We do this by providing them with the skills they will need to excel in the classroom. Once a cadet or midshipman can succeed academically, varsity sports become a reality; however, unless the athlete can survive the rigorous academics, even the very best athlete will run the very real risk of being separated from the academy. Therefore, academics are always are the top priority at Greystone.
Consequently, over the course of the last 15 years, several Greystone students made the dream of academy varsity sports participation a reality. They made it possible by employing the academic skills they mastered while at Greystone and now are excelling in the classroom as well as on the field.
*The CFA is administered monthly beginning in August. For those candidates in need of the PRT or PFE, Greystone also administers those assessments on a monthly basis. The Executive Director is authorized to submit all CFA/PRT/PFE results to the academies.