Professional Biography

Dr. Colleen M. Hacker, Ph.D.

Internationally recognized Speaker and Consultant in Performance Psychology 

  • Five TIme Olympic Coaching Staff
  • Certified Consultant - AASP
  • USOC Sport Psychology & Mental Training Registry

Dr. Colleen Hacker has served as a member of the United States coaching staff for five Olympic Games as a Mental Skills Coach and Performance Psychology Specialist. Dr. Hacker began her National Team service in 1995 working with the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team. During her tenure, the National Team won the first Gold Medal awarded in women’s soccer at the 1996 Olympic Games. As part of the most watched women’s sporting event in world history, the Team was again crowned World Champions with their dramatic overtime victory over China in the 1999 World Cup. Named as an Assistant Coach in 2000, the National Team won a Silver Medal at the Sydney Olympic Games and a second Gold Medal in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. In the most watched Olympics in history, the Team won their third Gold Medal in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing China. The United States is the only country in the world to finish in the top three of every major world championship in soccer history. Hacker also served as the Mental Skills Coach for the Olympic Field Hockey Team at the 2008 Olympic Games in China her fourth Olympic Games Coaching Staff selection. Serving as the Mental Skills Coach for USA Hockey (reigning World Champions), Dr. Hacker was a member of her fifth Olympic Coaching Staff as Team USA won a Silver medal in the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. 

In addition to her work with National Teams, Dr. Hacker serves as the mental skills coach to professional, international and Olympic athletes in a variety of sports including Major League Baseball, the NFL, MLS, NWPS (professional soccer), USA swimming, crew, speed skating, track and field, and tennis to name a few. She has also served as the Sport Psychology Consultant for the Under 16, Under 19 and the Under 21 United States Youth National Soccer Teams. Her strategies for peak performance are sought by corporations, business groups, professional sport teams, civic organizations and both print and television media. With more than 30 years experience in higher education, she is currently a Professor in Kinesiology at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington. Dr. Hacker has conducted extensive, applied research in the field of sport psychology with particular emphasis on peak performance, team building, leadership, mental toughness and psychological skills training for excellence. 

Dr. Hacker received her Bachelor of Science degree in Health and Physical Education from Lock Haven University (PA). She earned her master’s degree in Exercise and Sport Science at the University of Arizona and received her Ph.D. in Exercise and Movement Studies from the University of Oregon in 1992.

Dr. Hacker has received numerous professional awards including the Distinguished Professional Practice Award from AASP (the first woman to do so), the American Psychological Association’s Presidential Citation, Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award (the highest teaching honor awarded by the University), the NAGWS Pathfinder Award, the NASPE Inspiration Award, the President Medal from PLU, the NSCAA Letter of Commendation and the National Award of Excellence, to name a few. She has been inducted into the Pacific Lutheran University Hall of Fame, Pierce County Hall of Fame and the NAIA National Soccer Hall of Fame. She is a member of the Board of Governors for the NSCAA, the NSCAA Women’s Soccer Committee and the Board of Advisors for the Alliance of Women’s Coaches. Dr. Hacker received the NAGWS Honor Award, the most prestigious award presented by that organization. Most recently, she has been honored by AASP with the Distinguished Professional Practice Award, the first woman to receive that honor. ESPNW named Dr. Hacker as one of 30 women in the country who “change the way sports are played”. She has served on the United States Olympic Committee Performance Enhancement Team, is a member of the USOC Sport Psychology and Mental Training Registry and is an AASP Certified Consultant.

Much in demand as a speaker and consultant, Dr. Hacker has delivered over 100 professional presentations and published more
than 45 articles, chapters and a book. Dr. Hacker has worked with corporations such as Morgan Stanley, NIKE, Martha Stewart Living, Meredith Corporation, S.C. Johnson Company, MTV Networks, Infinity Broadcasting, Thrivent Insurance Company, The New Yorker Magazine, Citadel Broadcasting, Conde Nast, Million Dollar Round Table, Bankers Association, GLAMOUR, Parent’s Magazine, House and Garden, Franciscan Health Care Systems, Better Homes and Gardens, Westwood One, General Mills, and Equinox as well as civic groups and organizations. She has published widely in professional journals and books. Her work has been featured in Jere Longman’s book, Girls of Summer, Lauren Gregg’s The Champion Within, Michelle Akers’ book, The Game and The Glory, The Soccer Bible, Brandi Chastain’s It’s Not About the Bra and Tom Farry’s book Game On: The All-American Race to Make Champions of Our Children.

Dr. Hacker has delivered lectures and invited papers at such diverse groups as the Miller Humanities Lecture, the American Psychological Association, the National Institutes of Health, the Pan American Sports Organization, the Association of Applied Sport Psychology, the American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance and the United States Olympic Committee Coaching Summit. Articles about Dr. Hacker’s work have appeared in Newsweek, USA Today, Sports Illustrated, The APA Monitor, The New York Times and The Washington Post, among others. Dr. Hacker has been featured on national television outlets including CNN, FOX, ESPN, Discovery Channel, ESPN2 and Extra. Recently, the 1999 World Cup Soccer Team was featured on an ESPN documentary in the Nine for IX series entitled “The 99ers”. Her publications and presentations have impacted audiences both academic and corporate. Her book, Catch Them Being Good (Penguin Books and Viking Press) a collaboration with champion soccer coach Tony DiCicco, was released in 2002. Dr. Hacker’s insights into topics such as the psychology of excellence, leadership, the power of choice, team building, performance psychology, mental toughness, and “The secret of the slight edge” strike a chord with organizations and corporate audiences both nationally and internationally.