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Tinti named Athletic Director of the Year



Terri Castelaz/Daily News photo
NORWAY HIGH SCHOOL Athletic Director Joe Tinti talks with girls basketball team members from left, Anna Falk, Payton Paquette, Mary Cavagnetto and Deanna Cruz.

NORWAY — Norway High School’s Joe Tinti has been named 2023-24 Athletic Director of the Year by the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association for Region 1, which includes nearly all of the Upper Peninsula.

Tinti, the school’s athletic director for the past 10 years, will be presented with the award March 16 at the annual MIAAA Mid-Winter Conference in Traverse City, with more than 500 athletic directors in attendance.

“It’s an honor to be recognized for my consistent dedication to our athletes and students,” Tinti said. “Athletics is one aspect of school and it plays a big role in their lives — it’s important to show them our support.”

While working in a small, rural district in the Upper Peninsula, Tinti has all of the athletic director duties of a larger district with less support, Superintendent Lou Steigerwald noted.

“Joe consistently rises above the duties and needs of his position,” Steigerwald said.

“Joe is always professional and organized and consistently goes above and beyond for any student or staff member,” NHS Technology Coordinator Steve Andrews added. “He is passionate about his numerous roles in our district and is always willing to do what it takes to keep making our district better.”

Tinti has been Norway High School principal as well for the past 14 years and served on multiple committees at NHS.

He has coached varsity girls basketball at both Norway and the School District of Niagara, and has served as an assistant coach in numerous other sports during his time at NHS. He’s had multiple conference and regional championship teams. Several times throughout his career, he has been named regional Coach of the Year.

“Joe strongly believes that athletics are an important part of both the school and in student’s lives,” Steigerwald said.

“For him, it’s less about whether we have championship teams. Rather, athletics are an outlet for students and a means for keeping students engaged.”

Tinti earned his bachelor’s degree as well as his master’s degree from Northern Michigan University in Marquette. He spent his first two years in education at the School District of Niagara as a science and social studies teacher and also served as the athletic director for two years before moving back to his hometown of Norway.

Tinti says one of his greatest successes has been the relationships he has built with current and former students and student athletes.

“I like to think that I have had an impact on them and will continue to in their life whether it’s hard work, athletics, dedication, perseverance or doing what’s right.”

Some advice that he has always passed along to his teams is this: “How we handle adversity defines our character.”

“We all go through tough times but it’s how we come out of that and being ready for that moment” Tinti said, adding it’s not just in athletics but life.

As far as challenges, he said it’s finding a balance with family. He credits his wife for the support as she attends all the games.

Tinti said with dual rolls he also worries about giving students and staff members the time and help needed. “I’m a fixer and the older I get I realize I can’t, but still try,” he said.

Tinti gave much of the credit to his mentors and coaches through the years, especially Dan “Lefty” St. Arnauld.

“He gave me my opportunity in 2004 as a volunteer coach that later led to full-time teaching and athletic director at Niagara,” he said. “He was very influential along the way.”

Tinti said his parents ingrained in him at an early age the importance of community and getting involved.

“I’m proud to be part of this community,” said Tinti.

He has two daughters — Chloe, 11, and 5-month-old Raelynn — and an understanding and supportive wife, Jamie. He also operates a small farm along with his brother and father in Norway.

The MIAAA is a 50-plus-year-old association with nearly 700 members serving as athletic administrators in numerous high schools and junior high/middle schools in Michigan. As partners with the Michigan High School Athletic Association, the MIAAA works to promote the educational value of interscholastic athletics and the role and profession of athletic director.

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