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Neil Widmeyer

Sport psychology lost one of its pioneers and well-loved practitioners when Dr. Neil Widmeyer (Doc Wid) passed away on December 11, 2015. An internationally recognized researcher in the social psychology of sport, Neil was a charter member of AASP and served on the Executive Board as Social Psychology Chair in the mid-1990s.

Neil taught for over 30 years at the University of Waterloo (Ontario, Canada), contributing greatly to its academic and athletic programs. He was an energetic teacher who loved to pass along his knowledge pertaining to sport psychology, as students at all levels will attest. Neil was inducted into the University of Waterloo Warriors Hall of Fame (1995) as a 'Builder' based on his innovative coaching contributions in the 1960s and 70s to basketball and track and field programs.

From a research perspective, Neil is perhaps best known for his contributions to our understanding of group cohesion and aggression. Neil undertook several well-cited studies devoted to understanding and measuring cohesion within sport. The Group Environment Questionnaire (Carron, Brawley, & Widmeyer, 1985; test manual monograph, 2002) remains one of the most utilized measures of sport-related cohesion. Additionally, Neil's work on aggression (1980s and 90s) continues to be cited by researchers seeking to describe and reduce aggression in sport. While his research contributed meaningfully to the field of sport psychology, he greatly valued the relationships he formed with collaborators and close friends Bert Carron, Larry Brawley, and E.J. McGuire.

Doc Wid remained a very active (and sought after) Canadian sport psychology consultant after his retirement. He helped in the mental preparation of athletes playing for the Guelph Storm Hockey organization (Ontario Hockey League) for 21 years, in addition to countless individual and team sport athletes (at all levels and ages) who asked for his help.  His most recent consultation work was for Canadian National Team boxer Mandy Bujold.  Neil's efforts on Mandy's behalf extended beyond the day of his passing as he asked for any funeral donations to be directed to her athletic pursuits.

Neil was an avid athlete, coach, researcher, teacher, and sport psychology consultant, who was a loving husband to his wife Lynn (54 years married) as well as a proud father (to Kim, Kelly, and Greg) and grandfather (to Zachary, Megan, Madeline, and Emily).

For those who knew him, Neil will be remembered for his unique ability to light up a room and make you feel like a valued and important person. He was the consummate teacher, and he will be missed immensely by his family, friends, and colleagues.

Written by Mark Eys, Larry Brawley, and Kim Dawson