The Scarlet & Black

The Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Justin Thaxton joins Grinnell athletics

Last Monday, Justin Thaxton joined Grinnell College as Coordinator for Diversity and Inclusion in Athletics and Coordinator of Event Management. Prior to coming to Grinnell, Thaxton was the Veterans Student Center Coordinator for South Seattle Community College in Washington.

“This is really a dream attained for me,” Thaxton said. “This place has academics that are ridiculous. When you pair that with athletics, what you have there is a catalyst for a lot of different ideas and innovation. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do here.”

By holding two titles, Thaxton will have a lot on his hands, but welcomes the challenge.

“With the [Diversity and Inclusion], it is more or less set up for me to come and help enforce specific areas like student development, alumni relation/outreach, recruiting and retention of student-athletes of colors and underrepresented groups,” he said. “In terms of event management, one thing that I look forward to is increasing the brand of Grinnell. I want the students to have a presence at each [athletic] event.”

Thaxton has also worked as an assistant for the Community Outreach and Fan Engagement program for the Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Sounders FC.

“[Grinnell] is a small town,” he admitted. “This is different, but I like it because of the fact that it’s different. I tell the students all the time—every time you get an opportunity to recreate yourself in some ways, you should do it because that opportunity will not come up every day.”

Thaxton has been involved in athletics for most of his life. He played football at Arizona State University for one year, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in secondary education. He also received his master’s degree in intercollegiate athletic leadership from the University of Washington. Thaxton also served as a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army from 2002 to 2010.

“Being a player helped me communicate with student-athletes. Being a coach helps me understanding what my coaches need,” he said. “As a coordinator, I’ve done events, alumni relations and been a technical meet director. All these things help me with the general day-to-day grind of athletics. They’re all intertwined.”

While at Grinnell, Thaxton hopes to add more diversity in the athletic department.

“When you look at our teams, I want them to represent the general College,” he said. “Right now, if you look at our team, they don’t look like the rest of the College in terms of diversity. That’s one of the reasons why I am here—to help with the recruitment and retaining of underrepresented groups and people. I want for us to be able go out and for students to go see a game, and to see people out there represent all that we are and not just one particular group.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *