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Jared Pittman '20 Reflects on Kalamazoo College Experience

Jared Pittman playing football.
Photo by Kimberly Moss

Jared Pittman '20 graduated from Kalamazoo College in June with a degree in history. The running back from Muskegon, Michigan (Muskegon HS) led the team in rushing the past three seasons. He finished his career with 708 yards this past season with six touchdowns, highlighted by a 182-yard game against Finlandia, the fourth-highest single-game rushing total in school history. Pittman also owns the eighth-highest mark, 170 yards in a game at Rockford in 2017.

Jared moved to the coaching side of the game this fall as he is working as the offensive graduate assistant for the Hornets, specifically coaching running backs and tight ends, while enrolled in the graduate sport management program at Western Michigan University.

"The transition from being a player to a coach has been very smooth," Jared said. "The relationship I had with the coaching staff as a player being a two-year captain has paid dividends in my transition to being a coach. I think sometimes as players, we don't see what the coaches see, the visions they have, and the lessons they try to teach us. Being on the coaching side now, all of those things are clear, and I can help the players understand those things better in my role. I have a passion for football, a passion for seeing the people around me do better and get better, and have an overall love for Kalamazoo College football. This is a special institution and a special program and a great place for me to kick off a future career."

It's an unusual time to begin a coaching career, with Kalamazoo College courses taking place virtually this fall.

"Things are constantly changing, so as a staff we are adjusting day by day," he said. "We're doing a lot of recruiting, a lot of virtual meetings, and staying in touch and communicating with our players as much as possible. We're looking forward to a spring season and doing everything we can to have our team prepared for when we start practicing and preparing for a season again."

Jared cited the skills of time management and discipline gained while being a student-athlete at K as instrumental in preparing him for the transition and the demands of being a graduate assistant.

He interned at the Muskegon County Hall of Justice during the winter and summer breaks of 2017. His SIP (Senior Individualized Project), titled "From Gold Coast Ex-Servicemen to Revolutionaries," focused on highlighting the experience of Gold Coast servicemen fighting under British colonial rule during World War II, and how those experiences allowed those men to become primary leaders in the Gold Coast independence movement.

Jared credits Kalamazoo College for exposing him to the real world.

"I have interacted with people from all different walks of life and have developed the skill of versatility," he said. "Being versatile allowed me to navigate through the institution better and then it allowed me to navigate the world better. K has taught me a lot about myself and where I want my position in the world to be."

Going through the ups and downs of football played a critical role in Jared's development as well.

"We went from 1-9 to 7-3 to 2-8 between my sophomore and senior seasons," he said. "I had seen some of my worst days during that 1-9 season, and for a short time considered giving up the game I love so much. I had to talk to myself and figure out what type of man I was going to be. I decided to put my head down and go to work for a better season alongside my teammates. The next year, we had the best start in program history in the last 50 years, and I had to remember how to handle success and keep myself and the team humble on that epic journey. Lastly, my senior season, we went 2-8, and my leadership was tested. Having gone through those three different periods, my character and leadership all grew within that time period, and I am proud of the result and product that has come from it."

College football provided many of the lessons learned and many of the opportunities ahead.

"Playing a sport at Kalamazoo College allows you an amount of growth that you cannot get elsewhere," Jared said. "Handling athletics, maintaining that competitiveness on the playing field that carries over to the classroom, in the end, brings out the best of yourself in both places. You get real-world experiences that prepare you for life after school."

See more of Jared's experience in a video feature published during the fall of his senior year: