Cubs mourn the loss of sports psychologist Dr. Ken Ravizza

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SAN FRANCISCO – The Chicago Cubs today mourn the loss of renowned sports psychologist Dr. Ken Ravizza, who passed away last night at the age of 70.

Ravizza was widely considered as a leader, innovator and pioneer of sports psychology and mental skills programs that the athletics world knows today, impacting countless athletes and coaches from the professional ranks, college ranks, amateur ranks, Olympics and more. Ravizza’s relationship with Cal-State Fullerton, where he taught courses across the mental skills spectrum, spanned nearly 40 years in addition to his work with scores of athletes – not to mention the reported impact he had on heart surgeons, musicians, military cadets and beyond.

Cubs Manager Joe Maddon first met Ravizza in the mid-1980s while working in the California Angels minor league system. Their relationship spanned more than 35 years and three major league organizations, as Ravizza followed Maddon to the Tampa Bay Rays as a mental skills consultant and became a cherished member of the Cubs organization in a similar role when Maddon was named manager here starting with the 2015 season.

Ravizza’s work with the Cubs was felt across all levels of the organization and his tenure was punctuated by the club’s 2016 World Series Championship. Ravizza was a member of the Positive Coaching Alliance’s Advisory Board and the author several books that define the way sports psychology and mental skills are taught and practiced today.

Maddon today offered the following remembrance on behalf of the Cubs organization in honor of his dear friend:

“Ken was a pioneer in his field, and yet he was an even greater human being. He had this calm, patient approach to his craft yet his message was always loud and clear. His words were impactful, made you think and were accompanied by passion and understanding. Ken’s message resonated with a lot of different folks … whether you were a professional athlete who had reached the mountaintop, a first-year coach or somewhere in between, Ken was there to lend his voice and help others achieve their dreams.

“He really was the best in the business. Ken had the ability to remain contemporary, and his message never got old. In the early days we really had to push for his acceptance, and we had to organize his own meetings. Today it seems like nearly every organization has a mental skills presence, and a large part of that is due to the work Ken did to make his field more mainstream.

“He would always say ‘attitude is a decision’, that it’s your choice to approach your day with a positive vibe or a negative vibe … that was something he related when we first met nearly 40 years ago and it still applies today. His voice and thoughts shall remain in my mind forever. He was a wonderful man and a great friend who made a major impact on my life and my coaching ability. On behalf of the Cubs, I extend my deepest condolences to Ken’s wife, Claire, and their two daughters, Nina and Monica.”

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