Spartans honored for their successes in the classroom.
Jim Pignataro is in his 12th year as the Associate Athletic Director for Student Services and Director of Student-Athlete Support Services (SASS) and his 16th year overall at Michigan State University (MSU).
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 85 tutors; Overseeing Athletics Department units Athletic Training and Strength and Conditioning; and is the Athletic Director's liaison to MSU Sports Medicine.
Michigan State student-athletes have excelled not only in competition, but in the classroom as well. For seven consecutive semesters, Spartan student-athletes have posted better than a 3.0 cumulative grade-point average. Nearly 400 student-athletes (398) posted a cumulative GPA above 3.0 in the spring semester of 2014, marking the second-highest total in the history of the department, and 17 teams also reached that mark. Additionally, 268 student-athletes earned Academic All-Big Ten honors throughout the 2013-14 academic year, including 59 Big Ten Distinguished Scholars (min. 3.7 GPA). In the spring of 2012, the athletics department compiled the highest grade-point average in program history with a 3.0644. The graduation success rate under MSU Athletics Director Hollis is a remarkable 87 percent.
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.