Tee It Up: When it comes to leading a team with excitement and passion, you’d have a tough time finding a better example than Christian Spears. This University of Pittsburgh Deputy AD lives his personal mantra and encourages the simple concept “tee it up” among his colleagues every day.
“The ‘t’ stands for time – the time that you put into the things you do. ‘E’ stands for energy. How much enthusiasm and energy to you bring to your work? And the last ‘e’ is for effort. Time, energy and effort. If you’re willing to commit to those things, you can almost accomplish anything that you set out to do.” Spears asserts that this simple test ensures that no matter how daunting the task, focusing on these three things puts success is in reach.
And success seems to be pretty commonplace for Spears. Not only does he come to Pitt with a great deal of athletic administration experience, but he’s also an accomplished academic. After pursuing an undergraduate degree at the University of Washington, he put his time, energy, and effort into earning a Master’s degree and Juris Doctorate from Long Beach State and Ohio State, respectively. Ten years in the classroom paid off when his current position became available.
“Christian’s strategic vision and dynamic personality is an invaluable asset to our department and University. Christian makes others around him better because of his positive outlook, can-do attitude and ability to build genuine relationships with everyone he interacts with.” explains Athletic Director Heather Lyke.
But Christian Spears credits his mentors, like Lyke, for his accomplishments.
“Most importantly, who you work with matters, right? And who you worked for. I’ve had some unbelievably good mentors along the way,” Spears says, “Realizing that who helped you get better is probably more important than where you’ve worked. I love where I work now, it’s amazing, but I probably wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Heather. I love working for her and I know how she cares about the staff.” Spears says being open to the knowledge these mentors share is key. “You have to continue to learn rather than thinking that you know what you’re doing. You can always learn how to do something better. Early in my career, I might’ve thought I knew everything, but now I know better. I’m a lifelong learner, and I try to give back in that respect, too.”
Giving back and sharing his skills and expertise is exactly what Spears does. And as far as we’re concerned, he knows a lot. Like many of our other NEXT UP honorees, he’s always looking to those that are coming up behind him and lending a hand to ensure they both succeed. Congratulations to Christian Spears.