Thomas Pingel graduated from Ball State University in 1984 with a bachelor’s in Business Education. In the following interview, he displays his pride in his alma mater and discusses how volleyball changed his life.
What experiences or critical lessons from your time at Ball State proved helpful in getting where you are now?
There were many, but one was probably to recognize potential opportunities and maximize them the best you can as you never know where they may lead.
What advice do you have for students at Ball State who may wish to follow in your footsteps?
While I didn’t go into the field of my major, the education and experiences I received in completing that educational process laid the groundwork for preparing me for my venture into the business world. Use the tools provided to you at Ball State to prepare you for the next steps in life – whether it’s in the area of your major or not.
If you could re-live one day from your Ball State experience, what would it be?
Wow – lots to choose from here. Probably the MIVA Conference Championship match in 1984 when we rebounded from being down two sets to none versus Ohio State and came back to win the match and qualify for our first trip to the Final Four in five years. This was very gratifying after Ohio State had done the same to us twice in the past three years.
Can you remember a class or an experience that changed your life?
Probably my student teaching experience. While it wasn’t always pleasant, it was perhaps the best real-world experience I could have asked for. Significant in my maturation process.
What instructor made the most significant impact on you, and why?
Expanding on my above answer, Butch Jorous was my student teaching instructor at Muncie Northside High School (now Muncie Community Schools’ Northside Middle School) at the time. He stressed that it was essential to bring your best effort and performance to each day’s class.
How did Ball State contribute to your success in life?
Given that virtually all of my significant vocational time has been spent in the volleyball world, the experiences through my five years at Ball State were invaluable. Of course, my time with the men’s volleyball team was a significant part of my experiences, but that led to my coaching positions with Munciana Volleyball Club and the varsity coach for two years at Northside. Dealing with the good times as well as the not-so-good was very important. What was also very important was the networking with the numerous Ball State volleyball alums who also went on to be significant people in the volleyball world. All of these aspects were very important.
Why have you continued to maintain a relationship with your alma mater?
Ball State continues to represent many of the best parts of education, life experiences, and life-long friendships. No school does this better!
What are your passions outside of work?
I’ve now lived in Colorado Springs for nearly twenty-three years. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. I love the climate and the outdoor activities that you can participate in year-round. Golf, hiking, and fly fishing are among the things that keep my interests outside of volleyball.
“Spotlight On:” is a story series produced by the Ball State University Foundation in which we discuss current events, University news, and the importance of philanthropy. To read past stories, click here.