Enhancing education through sports – School News Network

Sparti — Sparta’s new athletic director jumped at the opportunity to return 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 wanted to get back to his roots. “(I) took the opportunity. It looked good. It (was) something that would bring us home.

“A lot of really good things happen here – beautiful facilities, fantastic people.”

Read on to find out more about Sparta’s new sporting director:

Other positions you have held in education:

  • Assistant Athletic Director, California Polytechnic State University (Cal-Poly)
  • Assistant Director of Athletics, San Diego State University
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How about jobs Outside of education? “I used to direct sports, so I have a soft spot for our high school officials and middle school officials.”

One summer, Pettit was a merchandiser for Coca-Cola, stocking shelves. “It was a tough performance,” he said. “I was in shape,” he added, noting that during busy periods the stock would often fly off the shelves once he’d stocked it.

Pettit also worked as an 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 the United States Sports Academy in Daphne, Alabama;
  • PhD in Educational Leadership from San Diego State University
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Nick Pettit and his wife Amber have three children (photo courtesy)

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 has twice climbed Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. “I’ve done some pretty big hikes all over the Western United States.” He also enjoys traveling and said his sporting travels have taken him to every state in the United States except Alaska and Rhode Island.

The biggest lesson you learned from students: “To support their pursuit of opportunity and advancement and what they love to do, which helps them thrive as people … (and) use athletics as a way to enhance their education.”

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If I could go back to school, which class would you choose and why? “Freshman year in high school, because that’s when you really start to get on track with your education, and (I could) build my resume for college and really look for opportunities that I wanted to do early on.” Pettit enjoyed competing at a higher level of athletics in high school and also the opportunity to meet a lot of people in his large high school.

If you walked into a school building to hear music from a favorite artist or band, what would it be? “Beautiful Day” by U2: “I love it.”

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