United States Sports Academy alumnus Dr. Todd Pitts recently earned his doctoral degree from the institution and with it, earned a promotion to become an associate professor in the collegiate ranks.
Pitts has taught in various roles at Davenport University in Grand Rapids, Mich., for more than 20 years. Upon earning his Doctor of Education degree in sports management from the Academy in 2017, Pitts was promoted to become an associate professor of sport management at Davenport.
“I chose to continue my educational endeavors with the United States Academy for a variety of reasons,” Pitts said. “I actually visited the campus prior to making a decision. The opportunity to meet with some of the faculty solidified my decision to attend this prestigious institution. Their passion for learning and student success convinced me this is where I wanted to continue my education. One reason I chose the Academy was the flexibility and convenience of class offerings. Secondly, the Academy enabled me to pursue an area of expertise that was a passion of mine.
“The learning environment at the United States Sports Academy enabled me to think differently. What I mean here is that throughout the courses, papers and exams, I am able to scrutinize issues more critically, therefore allowing me to analyze situations more effectively.”
After leaving a successful 18-year career in the hospitality industry Pitts pursued a career in higher education, securing a position as director of Davenport’s hospitality program more than 20 years ago. He also served as an assistant professor of marketing and management and a teacher of human resources, leadership, marketing and sports management.
As an associate professor, he is charged with facilitating undergraduate courses in the sports management program.
“My interests lie in leadership, marketing and human resources,” Pitts said. “I am also involved in promoting our program to high school and community college students.
“Although this sounds cliché, what I enjoy most about my job is that I get to interact with students as they identify their particular interests in sports management. Being the first to witness that ‘ah-ha’ moment as textbook material learning is transferred to an application based assignment. That is what truly makes my job enjoyable.”
Pitts is also the university’s faculty athletic representative to the NCAA and is also in charge of verifying eligibility of the university’s non-varsity sports.
“I was appointed to the position in 2002 when Davenport University reinstated athletics and we became a member of the NAIA. At that time, we had two sports and 32 student-athletes,” Pitts said.
“In 2016, Davenport University applied for NCAA DII application. We are currently in our third year of the three-year transitional process. Being a part of this transition has been extremely rewarding. From the very beginning, I was involved in the transition, focusing on the compliance portion of the process. Working closely with the Registrar and the Assistant Director of Athletics for Compliance, I helped provide the information necessary to insure university adheres to and meets the necessary requirements for initiating, verifying and validating student-athlete information for academic and athletic eligibility.”
Pitts also recently co-authored a manuscript that will be published to the Academy’s The Sport Journal on Thursday, 27 December 2018. The piece, “Preferred Leadership Styles of Student Athletes in a Midwest NAIA Conference,” examines quantitative data collected from student-athletes at nine universities and compares five dimensions of leadership behavior across athlete gender, coaches’ gender, task dependence nature of the sport played and the difference between responses from “faith-based” and non-religious institutions.
Pitts earned his master’s degree in strategic management from Davenport and his bachelor’s degree in institutional management from Purdue University.