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MSU Executive Associate Athletic Director Jim Pignataro dies at the age of 49

August 27, 2021
<p>The Michigan State football team invited fans to Spartan Stadium on Monday, August 24, for their annual &quot;Meet the Spartans&quot; event. <br/></p>

The Michigan State football team invited fans to Spartan Stadium on Monday, August 24, for their annual "Meet the Spartans" event.

Photo by Chloe Trofatter | The State News

At the age of 49, Michigan State's Executive Associate Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Services Jim Pignataro has died, according to a release from Michigan State Athletics.

Pignataro worked as Associate Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Services and Director of Student-Athlete Support Services, or SASS, prior to his most recent position as Executive Associate Athletic Director. Additionally, he oversaw numerous directors within the athletic program including Student-Athlete Engagement, Academic Services, Athletic Training, Strength and Conditioning and Sports Nutrition.

Pignataro has left an imprint on not only Spartan athletes, but the entire MSU community as his colleagues came together to share their condolences.

“There was no one more passionate about his job, but, more importantly, there really wasn’t a better human than Jim,” Michigan State Director of Student-Athlete Development Angela (Howard) Montie said in the press release. “Next to his family, Michigan State and the student-athletes meant the world to him. His reach, however, went far beyond our community – he was a leader in our profession, and his loss is being felt around the country from those who interacted with him throughout his career. He touched so many lives. While I will certainly miss him as a colleague, I will more so miss my friend."

"I am truly honored to have had the privilege of having a relationship with a mentor, legacy-builder and titan in our profession like Jim Pignataro,” Former football letter winner at MSU, a former graduate assistant in Student-Athlete Support Services and the current N4A President Ashton Henderson said in the press release.

"Brother, mentor, friend and man of God. Those are the words that describe Jim Pignataro,” MSU Associate Athletic Director and Student-Athlete Engagement Elliott Daniels said in the press release. “As a former student-athlete of his at Eastern Michigan and working under his leadership here at MSU, words cannot express his impact on my life over the past 21 years. Jim introduced me and so many industry leaders to a career in college athletics and did so in such an authentic way. His light shines bright and his impact on athletics is felt nationally. Alana, Alison, and Jimmy are forever in His grip and in our prayers."

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