Twenty-first annual gala honors success in the classroom and community.
Pignataro was recognized during the 2016 N4A Convention.
Spartans honored for their successes in the classroom.
Pignataro has been the Associate Athletic Director for Student Services and Director of Student-Athlete Support Services (SASS) at Michigan State since 2002, and has overseen the Sports Medicine and Performance Department (athletic training, sports medicine, strength and conditioning) since 2007.
In addition to his previous roles, Pignataro coordinates the resource allocation group, which was identified as one of the four primary areas of focus by MSU Athletics Director Mark Hollis in his new leadership structure for Spartan Athletics. The resource allocation group will evaluate the funding of many different components, including the core areas of scholarships, operations, compensation and facilities. In his new role, Pignataro will have a lead role coordinating the collaboration between the various focus groups.
Pignataro's duties include: overseeing the operations of the Clara Bell Student-Athlete Academic Center which houses 12 full-time employees, two graduate assistants and over 85 tutors; overseeing athletics department units athletic training and strength and conditioning; and serving as the Athletic Director's liaison to MSU Sports Medicine.
In June 2016, Pignataro was named the recipient of the 2016 Lan Hewlett Award. Pignataro was recognized during the 2016 N4A Convention, held June 9-11 at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas, Texas.
Michigan State student-athletes have excelled not only in competition, but in the classroom as well. For nine consecutive semesters, Spartan student-athletes have posted better than a 3.0 cumulative grade-point average. Nearly 400 student-athletes (378) posted a cumulative GPA above 3.0 in the spring semester of 2015, marking the highest total in the history of the department for the spring, and a record 18 teams also reached that mark. The spring semester of 2015 also saw Spartan student-athletes compile the highest cumulative grade-point average in program history at 3.0791. Additionally, 271 student-athletes earned Academic All-Big Ten honors throughout the 2014-15 academic year, including 78 Big Ten Distinguished Scholars (min. 3.7 GPA).
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. He 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, New York, 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.