Title: Director, Mental Training
Company: Northwestern University
Location: The Woodlands, Texas, United States
Francis Pirozzolo, Director of Mental Training at Northwestern University, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Scientists for dedication, achievements, and leadership in neuroscience and sports consultations.
Dr. Pirozzolo was an athlete growing up, and was interested in the differences between people who succeed and people who failed, especially the discrepancy about what people have to say about talent. As a neuroscientist, he was able to use research to look at the scientific underpinnings instead of relying on testimonials as evidence. Dr. Pirozzolo found his calling in the field as it married his interest in sports and his curiosity into the inner workings of the mind. He first earned a diploma at the University of Rochester. Following this degree, Dr. Pirozzolo earned a PhD in neuroscience at The University of Chicago in 1977.
In a career spanning more than 40 years, Dr. Pirozzolo is most proud of his work as a mental skills coach in Major League Baseball, and he has worked as a sports psychologist to some of the world’s most accomplished athletes, including Evander Holyfield and golfers such as Bernhard Langer, Greg Norman, and Christie Kerr. Dr. Pirozzolo has previously served as the player development coach for the Houston Texans, and mental skills coach for the Detroit Tigers, the Texas Rangers, the New York Yankees, and the Houston Astros. During his time with the New York Yankees, he received four World Series rings. Furthermore, Dr. Pirozzolo was the Chief of Neuropsychology Service at the Baylor College of Medicine and has also taught at the University of Houston, the University of California, Los Angeles, and Northwestern University. In addition, he has consulted for sports programs at different universities, including Rice University, Texas A&M University, the University of Oklahoma, the University of Houston, Texas Christian University, and Fordham University.
On top of all of these endeavors, Dr. Pirozzolo has authored and coauthored more than 16 books, 250 papers, and various other forms of publications. He has written “The Putter’s Pocket Companion,” “The Mental Game Pocket Companion,” and has co-authored, “The Game I Love,” “Sam Snead: A Swing for A Lifetime” and “Multiple Intelligence and Leadership.” He has recently worked on a book with his son, Joseph, also a neuroscientist, “The Rage to Master: Development of Talent in Young Athletes” and has another book in development. In 2004, Dr. Pirozzolo earned the Winston Shell Award for innovation in player development from the NFL for his tenure with the Houston Texans. On a civic level, he has served as a board chair for the Gulf Academy-Youth Search Ministries, has done charity work with the Catholic Church, and has taught golf and baseball to underprivileged children.
The Vice President of the United States, Dan Quayle, recommended that Dr. Pirozzolo spend his sabbatical year expanding his research efforts to understand the limits of human performance at the NASA Johnson Space Center. Dr. Pirozzolo followed through with this and carried out research devoted to understanding “team performance under pressure.”
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