Jim Fitzsimmons – Our Division. Our Stories.

Jim Fitzsimmons, He/Him

Director, Fitness and Recreational Sports

About Me

I’m just a guy who has allowed his passions to guide his purpose. I have been lucky enough to travel most of the world and it has convinced me relationships and experiences matter more than all of life’s trinkets. I find 99% of what people obsess about on a daily basis really doesn’t matter in the big picture.

Jim Fitzsimmons Photo


  • Doctor of Education, Educational Leadership, University of Nevada, Reno
  • Master of Science, Physical Education, University of Nevada, Reno
  • Bachelor of Science, Physical Education, University of Nevada, Reno

Professional Work Experience

  • First Responder (Paramedic, Police Officer)
  • Strength and Conditioning Coach
  • Elementary School, High School Teacher
  • Community College, University Professor
  • Fitness and Recreational Sports Director

Notable Internships & Awards

  • 6th Place at the 2012 Crossfit Games
  • Selected as Top 40 Collegiate Rec Leader

Who inspires you?

Anyone who refuses to accept conformist wisdom. Anyone who says, “I will” and then does, when everyone says, “you can’t.”

What are you currently watching on Netflix?

I’m not. Life is not a spectator sport.

What’s the last book you read?

I just finished: The Case Against Sugar, The Shell Collector, and The American Sphinx: The Character of Jefferson. It seems like I always have three or four going at the same time.

Tell me about a time you failed. How did you deal with this situation?

Oh man there are SO many! I study the failures more than the successes, there isn’t much to be learned from success, but failure? If you’re paying attention and taking responsibility, there’s a whole lot of learning to be had. I don’t believe we truly fail until we quit or blame someone else, so I don’t ever quit, and I don’t blame.

Discuss a time when your integrity was challenged.

I find we are asked to compromise our integrity on a daily basis. We live in an age of entitlement and it has become common for people to expect you to compromise your integrity to appease their wants at the drop of a hat.

How did you handle it?

I don’t go there. Growing up I spent a lot of time with my grandpa Doug who was a WWI combat veteran who fought from the second year of the war until the armistice. A large man, a kind man, a man whose body was heavily disfigured from his wounds, a man whose words are still with me today. “Your integrity is married to those most sacred things that comprise your character. Once you let go of one, you inevitably let go of the others and then what? You are ruined”.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in the last year?

That everything I learned on the playground in grade school is more important than anything I’ve learned since.

What is one important skill every person should have?


What is the coolest thing you’re working on right now?

My son’s and I are building a zip-link that should result in several trips to the emergency room.

This interview is part of a series entitled Our Division. Our Stories. that seeks to highlight some of the outstanding members of the Division of Student Services at the University of Nevada, Reno. For more information, please contact the Student Services Development and Engagement Committee