UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - After 38 years of service, Utica College Director of Physical Education and Athletics Jim Spartano will retire from the College, effective December 31, 2011. Spartano took some time to talk with Sports Director Jason Powles. Watch the video for the special interview.
Spartano began his career at Utica College in 1973 and since joining the department he has held positions as Director of Physical Education and Athletics as well as head coach of the baseball, men's basketball and women's basketball teams. After accepting his current position in 1982, he watched the UC athletic department develop from a small program into a Division III institution that offers 25 NCAA sponsored sports.
Since 2000, Spartano has guided the UC athletic program to new heights, including the addition of 13 varsity sports, and he currently oversees a department that supports more than 50 staff members and 640 student-athletes.
"It has been a pleasure and great privilege to work with so many outstanding individuals; students and staff alike," said Spartano. "I am so proud to be a part of Utica College and the positive direction it has taken. I look forward to watching UC continue to grow and hope to be an ambassador for UC during my retirement."
Spartano spearheaded the expansion and construction of several athletic facilities on campus including the Harold T. Clark Jr. Athletic Center, the Gary M. Kunath Fitness Center, the Harold T. Clark Sr. Team Facility, Charles A. Gaetano Stadium and the College's Annex at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.
Throughout the years, he has been the proud leader of several NCAA Tournament teams, a vast intramural program, and multiple All-American selections. Coach Spartano played a major role in helping expand the department to 25 NCAA Division III athletic offerings.
Spartano began his career at Utica College as the head men's basketball coach. In seven seasons (1974-1980, 1994-95) he went 85-81 overall. His best season was in 1975-76 when he coached the Pioneers to a 14-8 overall record. Spartano also coached Gordon Taylor, who is Utica's all-time leading point scorer (1,823) and rebounder (1,109).
As a baseball coach, Spartano believed in speed and tight defense to win games. In 12 years (1977-1989) as the Pioneers' skipper he compiled a 198-149 career record. In those 12 years the Pioneers posted just two losing seasons. Three of the teams he coached won the ECAC Upstate Championship and in 1985 he coached the Division I all-stars against the best players from Division II and III at Shea Stadium.
In his undergraduate years, he was an All-Conference baseball player at Oneonta State. During his time as a Red Dragon he broke the school-record for stolen bases. Playing second base, he finished with an incredible fielding percentage of .990. Upon graduation, Spartano played four years of semi-professional baseball for the Milford Macs. He batted to a .403 average in his best season with Milford.
A spectacular career in athletics resulted in his induction into the Oneonta State Hall of Fame and the SUNYAC Sports Hall of Fame. Throughout his career he has taken on several philanthropic projects and he has been a key contributor to the Kiwanis Club of Utica.
Spartano received his master's degree in Physical Education Administration from Syracuse University in 1977. He currently resides in Utica and he is the proud father of two daughters, Adrienne and Rinae.