|JIM PIGNATARO - MSU Varsity "S" Club Honorary Member - 2009|
Jim Pignataro is in his 8th year as the Associate Athletics Director for Student Services and Director of Student-Athlete Support Services (SASS) at Michigan State. His duties include: Overseeing the operations of the Clara Bell Student-Athlete Academic Center which houses 12 full-time employees, two graduate assistants and over 100 tutors; Has Athletics Department units Athletic Training and Strength and Conditioning oversight; and is Athletic Directors liaison to MSU Sports Medicine. Under Pignataro’s guidance, MSU’s sports teams academically have posted record cumulative grade point averages ranging from 2.9573 to 3.0036 and for the first time in school history the Athletics Department has posted back-to-back 3.00 or higher cumulative GPA. During his tenure student-athletes have posted the largest number of sports with a 3.00 cumulative team grade point average or higher at fourteen. In addition, the highest number of student-athlete maintaining a 3.00 CUM GPA (333) came after the Fall 2007. The Spring 2009 term produced the highest department GPA of 3.0036, and 37 student-athletes achieved a perfect 4.00 grade point average.
Community outreach and service have been a priority for Pignataro’s program placing over 300 student-athletes in outreach activities during the 2006-07 academic year. Now in its seventh year, the outreach initiative called PACT (Putting Athletes and Community Together) has reached over 50,000 area children as well as touched the lives of many.
Pignataro’s vision on diversity programming has had a significant impact on the daily lives of student-athletes. In 2003, he created the Student-Athlete Multicultural Center, which now provides quality leadership programming for MSU student-athletes as well as provide social and outreach programs. The mission of the program is to provide student-athletes with cultural and diversity experiences that enhances their professional growth, development and leadership. The Program is designed to collaborate with campus resources, elevate the academic success of student-athletes and increase the campus involvement of student-athletes.
No stranger to Michigan State, Pignataro served as the Assistant to the Director and Athletics Academic Counselor at Michigan State from 1996-2000. He left MSU to serve as the Assistant Athletics Director for Academics at Eastern Michigan University from June 2000 to June 2002. The 37-year-old also worked in Athletic Academic Services at Florida State University (1995-96) and the University of Tennessee (1994-1995) prior to his arrival at MSU. Born in Queens, N.Y., Pignataro grew up in Raymond, Maine, and graduated from Gray-New Gloucester High School in 1990. He was a multi-year varsity letterwinner in baseball at the University of Maine at Farmington. He received his bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary business administration/economics from Maine-Farmington in 1994 and a master’s degree in athletics administration from Tennessee in 1995. Pignataro is married to the former Alana Inkala, who competed on MSU’s women’s tennis team, and has two children Alison and James.