EMU REC/IM assistant director makes a positive impact on many
Ask anyone around the REC/IM Building at Eastern Michigan University about Jackie Moffett and the common motif is a positive influence on others.
Assistant Director of Student Personnel, Front Counter Operations and Warner Locker Room Access, Michelle Owens remembers when she was a student at EMU in 1990 and how Jackie motivated and helped her succeed.
“I came in to say hello to my roommate (at the REC/IM) and she introduced me to Jackie Ray and instantly became friends,” Owens said. “Jackie just has that charisma that inspires and motivates you. He has a way getting you to do things that you know nothing about.”
Owens recalls when Moffett wanted her to become an official for intramural football.
“I am sitting in his office and proceeds to go get a whistle and a flag,” Owens said. “He gave the whistle to me and told me to blow the whistle and throw the flag. Once I did, he told me that I was good to go.”
Assistant Director of Club and Intramural Sports Kyle McAlear looks up to Moffett as a leader.
“Jackie has been a very great influence on my career and personally he is one of my mentors,” McAlear said. “As a professional coming in to the field as a young person, I have learned a lot from him. He is a great teacher to students and most importantly, loves sports.”
Moffett, who is the Assistant Director of Student Supervisors, Summer Fun Camp and Warner Locker Room Rentals at the REC/IM has always been in athletics throughout life.
Born in Taylorsville, MS, Moffett grew up playing sports and became a star athlete Taylorsville High School, where he played football, basketball and track and field.
“I was all-state in football and basketball my senior year,” Moffett said.
While in high school, he received a scholarship to play at the University of Southern Mississippi in 1979 and played for three seasons.
A devastating back injury ended Moffett’s collegiate career, so he decided to be involved with campus recreation.
“My fourth year on campus, they brought me into the office because I was also involved with intramural sports at the time and they offered me a job with benefits on the basis that I would switch my degree from criminal justice to recreation,” Moffett said. “It was one of the best moves I ever made in my life and I have been doing campus recreation for over 30 years now.”
After switching degree programs in 1982, Moffett graduated from Southern Miss in the summer of 1984.
He worked at USM for one more year before going to Texas A&M University and worked in the same capacity from 1985-87.
A meeting with the director of recreation and intramurals at EMU, Bob England, at a conference in New Orleans, LA would lead to Moffett taking a position running intramural sports at the REC/IM in the fall of 1987.
After working in intramural sports for seven years, he took a job as an Amateur Athletic Union National Headquarters in Indianapolis, Ind.
However, Moffett realized after five months on the job that he missed working in campus recreation. He applied for a position at the University of Tennessee.
“A position opened up at the University of Tennessee and I went there and spent 11 and a half years there,” Moffett said.
In 2006, he resigned and went back to Southern Miss and volunteered in the foundation department and hoped to create a position in the process, but it ultimately failed.
Things came back in full circle in Jan. 2007. Moffett re-applied and became the intramural director again.
Moffett admitted once he came back the second time at EMU, that he expressed his regret for leaving.
“When I left Eastern the first time, it was a very sad day for me,” Moffett said. “I loved the people that I worked with, the institution, but the only reason why I went to AAU was because the person that gave me my first start in campus recreation Lou Marchiani, who was now the executive director and he brought me there. I realized not long after that I wanted to work back on a college campus.”
Moffett ran the intramural position for five years until he approached the Associate Director of Facility Operations, Lou Gianino about the opportunity of working in another division.
“I approached Lou and asked him about the opportunity of switching over and doing something else. Now my position is that I oversee the supervisor who runs the facility operations, the Warner men’s and women’s locker rooms and run a summer fun camp with Kristi Teasdale during the summer for kids 6-12.”
The most rewarding thing Moffett took away from running intramurals was the ability to see the kids compete every day.
“There’s a lot of kids that come to EMU (who) played high school sports that don’t have the opportunity to play at the next level,” Moffett said. “All they have to do is show up and play at their games and that is always rewarding to see kids be able to still play.”
Follow Eugene Evans on Twitter @GenoSportsguy.