You may have seen them on the sidelines, in the stands, or heading off to meetings; but what does an athletic director really do? This summer, on each Friday, we will take you behind the desk with the heads of the athletic departments from St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference member institutions. This week's interview is with Pete Paciorek, Principia College Director of Athletics.
Paciorek was named Director of Athletics at Principia College in April, marking a return to the campus where he served as Assistant Athletic Director and Head Baseball Coach from 2006-11.
You returned to Principia this past spring, what has it been like to return to campus after six years away?
"Coming back to Principia College was like coming back home. My family and I could not be more grateful for this opportunity to return. Having three young children this time around made the decision and the move that much easier. I want my children to grow up in the Principia environment, which embodies the Christ example like nowhere else that I have been before."
Can you talk about your work at IMG and why you wanted to go back to an administrative role at Principia?
"While at IMG Academy, I did much of what I am doing here at Principia. I was the head instructor and director of camps for baseball at IMG, so I helped with the hiring, oversight, productivity of as many as 30 different high-level coaches. I loved my time at IMG because of the caliber of people that I was surrounded by, as well as the fountain of sport related knowledge that exists there. I learned something about performance training, leadership, management, teamwork, and more every day while at IMG. All that knowledge and preparation has prepared me well for the duties that I will have here at the college."
You wrote a book on character in athletics. What is the importance of having character and how can sports be used to teach this?
"Yes, I published a 332-page book/guidebook on character development through the vehicle of sports. I have been involved in athletics as a professional athlete and coach for over 20 years, and I feel that the number one responsibility of every coach (at all levels) is to teach life lessons. My book is titled: Character Loves Company - Defining the Teachable Moments in Sports: A Guidebook to Character Literacy Development. Only a very small percentage of amateur athletes have the opportunity to turn "pro" in their sport. However, if our young student-athletes are learning how to 'win the right way', care for their teammates, overcome adversity, and all the other endless character values that can be developed through sports, then we, as coaches and sport managers, have done our jobs effectively."
What are your goals as an Athletic Director at Principia?
"As the Director of Athletics at Principia College, I hope to continue the strong tradition of character unfoldment that is so integral to the foundation of our college and the Christian Science Religion. We are going to win a great deal, but we will never sacrifice our integrity or our highest respect for our opponents in pursuit of a singular victory."
As a school that pulls prospective students from a relatively specific pool, how you sell Principia to those students?
"We may have a smaller recruiting pool than our competition, but I do not see that as a limitation. I expect us to win, and to win the right way. I truly believe in what the four-year experience has to offer at Principia College. We have world-class coaches, and I expect to recruit world-class student-athletes. If you look closely at our Athletic Department staff, we have individuals with a wealth of knowledge and passion for their sports: former professional athletes, former Olympians, World-Game Gold Medalists, etc. Our athletic facilities are second to none at the NCAA Division III level. Principia College is a special place and when prospective students step foot on the campus, they can feel it.