These brothers, who excelled in different athletic fields in high school, went to different colleges, but still share a common passion for sports and have chosen the same career path.
Teaching and forming students and young would-be-athletes, Matt and Marc Pitts have overcome any adversities and taken on the challenges to pursue this common career path as teachers and coaches at Thayer High School.
Both brothers played all sports in high school, with Matt receiving All-State honors in baseball before going on to Southwest Missouri State. Marc attained All-State status in football his senior year at Thayer High School and continued his education while playing basketball for William Jewell College in Walnut Ridge, Ark.
Matt says he knew at an early age he wanted to be a coach. "I knew I was probably not going to be good enough to reach the major leagues or the NBA, so, coaching would be one way to stick around the game," he said. After coaching a couple of years in the Koshkonong school system, an opening became available as an assistant coach with Thayer High School.
Under the guidance of now retired head coaches, Cliff Hawkins and Steve Atkisson, Matt honed his skills and gained valuable coaching experience on his way to becoming a head baseball and boys basketball coach.
Marc initially took the accounting/business path in college, but the thrill of the game and his passion for sports, drew him back to a coaching career.
With Marc as an assistant coach and junior varsity coach, Marc and Matt have not competed against one another in their coaching careers, but the competitiveness is always there. "Even if we are playing Nintendo, golf or whatever, you always want to win, and yes, we have been upset with each other, but that is just a part of growing up and being brothers," Matt said.
"Marc and I are best friends, we think a lot alike. Marc is very knowledgeable about all the sports he coaches. It is great to have someone share his honest opinion with you and tell you what he thinks, instead of just being a yes man."
Marc's decision to go into coaching came during his senior year in high school. "Although I enrolled in those business/accounting classes and liked them, I knew I couldn't do that the rest of my life," Marc said.
Being a teacher and coach is a difficult task, the brothers said. Attempting to guide tomorrow's adults with the education necessary to co-exist in an ever-changing society, and instill the drive and direction in a competitive marketplace, a teacher's job has many rewards as well as disappointments.
"You know, sometimes, we may spend more time with these kids than their parents do, between the classroom and the field or court. In some instances, we might be the most stable and consistent factor these kids have. You have to take a lot of pride in that and you want to be a role model for those kids," Matt said.
Last year, Matt was assistant coach for the football team and spent game time up in the coach's box, spotting and helping direct play action on the field. This year, Marc and Matt both bring their expertise and advice down on the field to assist Head Football Coach Billy Webber. "It's nice to have that collaboration down on the field," Matt said. Matt is now the head basketball and baseball coach with Marc assisting with the varsity boys. Marc has taken the reigns of the junior varsity boys and head coach for junior high basketball teams.
The Pitts brothers' mother, Carol, was librarian for the elementary school before moving over to the high school when Matt was in the third grade. Dad, Curtis Pitts, a Frisco/BNSF railroad engineer, now retired, has become head babysitter for Matt's two sons, Gage and Easton, and Marc's son, Landry. All three of the children's names are unique, yet have no family ties.
Marc and his college sweetheart wife, Valerie, went through baby-name books and discarded a long list. A couple of weeks later, they went back to the discarded list and agreed upon Gage. When their second son arrived, he also received an interesting name. "It is purely coincidental that Easton is the name of a bat company. It just worked out that way," Matt said.
With the name Landry Bowden, Marc said, "When it came time to choose a middle name, Coach Bobby Bowden of Florida State has always been an inspiration to me, so, that is why we used it for a middle name. Landry, is a name that his mom came up with and was not anything other than just a neat name." Landry being the last name of the former Dallas Cowboy's football coach is coincidental, but is unique that his name comes from two football coaches.
The Pitts are hometown boys, close brothers, family and two coaches. Matt and Marc take pride in their passion of sports. They work with their players to instill respect for each other as well as respect for the game.
Matt and Marc say they are proud to be a part of Thayer High School.
"When we were in T-ball, maybe 4 and 6, Billy Webber was maybe 18 or so, and Billy was our coach. It's kind of neat, now, we are down on the field collaborating with him," Matt said.
"When the opportunity came along (to coach at Thayer), I was happy. It makes me very proud to coach in my hometown. You know, you always want to go home," Marc said.