John Pantuosco has more than 30 years of experience as a teacher and coach at high schools in the Longmeadow, Mass., area. After watching his four adult children earn graduate degrees of their own, Pantuosco decided to follow in their footsteps by seeking his own master’s degree from the United States Sports Academy.

The Academy’s latest Student of the Month, Pantuosco said pursuing his Master of Sports Science (M.S.S.) degree in sports studies fulfilled one of his longtime dreams.

“I watched all four of my adult kids surpass me with their own graduate degrees and I was just so proud of them,” Pantuosco said. “I always said I would do the same thing one day, and now thanks to the Academy I am doing it. It is something I always wanted to do, and I just decided it was finally the right time.

“The Academy was a perfect fit for me. I’ve been a teacher and a soccer and track and field coach for a long time, and I just decided that it was time to give myself that educational boost. I can’t say enough about the Academy and its faculty and staff. Dr. Sandra Geringer (Director of Recreation Management and Sports Studies) and Dr. Brandon Spradley (Chair of Sports Management) were really a big help and always there for me when I needed them.”

Since his selection as Student of the Month, Pantuosco recently finished his M.S.S. degree program. Like many Academy students, he took advantage of the Academy’s mentorship program.

“I worked under Longmeadow High School athletics director Michael Capotosto for my mentorship and we worked very well together,” Pantuosco said. “I have a lot of experience and thought I knew a lot, but the mentorship really broadened my understanding of how to run an athletics department.”

In addition to more than 30 years in coaching, Pantuosco can also count four state championships in boys soccer at Somers High School, also in Mass. His teams missed the playoffs just one time in 10 years at Somers.

“I love working with kids and watching them grow from year to year,” Pantuosco said. “Being a coach at the high school level has its challenges, but it is just so rewarding. After coaching for so long, I now get to coach the children of some of the players I coached 20 years ago. That’s very rewarding.”