Sparta — Sparta’s new athletic director seized an opportunity to come home to Michigan.
Nick Pettit, a Grand Ledge native who graduated from Michigan State University, took over as athletic director on July 11. He and his family moved from California where he worked in higher education.
“It just seemed like a really good opportunity to help kids and do great things here,” said Pettit, who was looking to get back to his roots. “(I) looked at the opportunity. It looked good. It (was) something that would bring us home.
“There’s a lot of really good things going on here – beautiful facilities, fantastic people.”
Read on to learn more about Sparta’s new athletic director:
Other positions you have held in education:
- Deputy athletic director, California Polytechnic State University (Cal-Poly)
- Associate athletic director, San Diego State University
How about jobs outside of education? “I used to officiate sports, so I have a soft spot in my heart for our high-school officials and middle-school officials.”
One summer, Pettit was a merchandiser for Coca-Cola, stocking shelves. “That was a tough gig,” he said. “I was in shape,” he added, noting that often during the hot sales times, the merchandise would fly off the shelves soon after he stocked it.
Pettit also worked as equipment manager for the San Francisco 49ers.
‘It just seemed like a really good opportunity to help kids and do great things here.’– Athletic Director Nick Pettit
- Bachelor’s degree in food industry management, Michigan State University;
- master’s degree in sports management from United States Sports Academy in Daphne, Alabama;
- doctorate in educational leadership from San Diego State University
Family: He and his wife, Amber, have three children: Beau, 14; Ty, 12: and Tori, 8.
Hobbies/interests/little-known talent: “I love cooking, baking, golf, fishing, hiking,” said Pettit, who climbed the Half Dome at Yosemite National Park twice. “I’ve done some pretty major hikes all over the Western United States.” He also enjoys traveling and said his athletic travel has taken him to every state in the U.S. except Alaska and Rhode Island.
The biggest lesson you have learned from students: “To support their quest for opportunities and advancement and what they enjoy doing, what helps them be successful as people … (and) use athletics as a way to enhance their education.”
If I could go back to school, what grade would you choose and why? “Freshman year in high school, because that’s when you really start to get on a track with education, and (I could) build my resume for college and really look at opportunities that I wanted to do early on.” Pettit liked competing at a higher level of athletics in high school, and also the opportunity to get to know a lot of people in his large high school.
If you walked into a school building to theme music by a favorite artist or band, what would it be? “Beautiful Day” by U2: “I love that.”