Pietrok Leads PE and Athletics

  • Mark Pietrok
    Nina Johnson

In June 2020, Mark Pietrok was named director of physical education and athletics at Lewis&Clark. Pietrok, whom many know as “Petie,” had been serving as the interim director since April 2019 and was previously the senior associate director of physical education and athletics as well as head athletics trainer. He has been with Lewis & Clark since 1989.

What’s your vision for Lewis & Clark athletics?

Like everyone in athletics, I’d like to see us improve our competitiveness. Given the talent of our current players and new recruits, we’re poised to do that. I’m also excited about the Huston Sports Complex renovation. It promises to boost our baseball and softball programs and allow us to add men’s soccer and women’s lacrosse. We’re in the fundraising stages now.

I want to expand our outreach to alumni through different avenues, including the Athletics Hall of Fame and the Pioneer Athletics Club. It means a great deal to me to recognize our former student-athletes who have made a mark on Palatine Hill. I feel like I’m a bit of a bridge from the old alumni to the new. I still remember legendary coaches Fred Wilson, Dean Sempert, and Eldon Fix and can tell their stories to those who never knew them. I want to make sure the rich history of Lewis & Clark athletics—and the people who have meant a great deal to this department —are not forgotten.

The final piece is to continue building on our ChamPIOns philosophy, with its foundation of classroom, competition, community, and character. We are coming off our best semester ever academically, and I’m very proud of that. We also want to continue our community service work, both on campus and in Portland.

What has motivated you during your 32 years at Lewis & Clark?

That’s an easy question. The students. I love being around them. Their energy keeps me going, and I’m fortunate to have been around long enough now to see the impact of athletics on their post-college lives.

The one constant in my life has been athletics. I enjoy being around people engaged in athletics. I find experiential learning to be critical in the development of students whether it’s in athletics, theatre, music, or art. The athletics world has given me opportunities that I would never have had elsewhere.

I hope we continue to offer those same possibilities to students to grow and learn in ways that aren’t necessarily found in the classroom.

What’s the appeal of Portland for student-athletes?

I spent most of my life living in Portland, and it’s an unbelievable place. Students have opportunities in literally every direction. We’re an hour from the mountains and the snow … we’re an hour and 20 minutes from the coast. It’s a very rare situation that a small NCAA Division III school sits in a city like Portland. Our access to Portland makes our students’ education much richer and their career goals more attainable.

Last year’s challenges included the pandemic, wildfires, and other unforeseen events. What are you most proud of in terms of how L&C athletics adapted?

I’m most proud of our students and staff facing so many changing dynamdics head-on. It’s been great to see their resilience. Despite having to navi- gate restrictions that have changed on a week-by-week basis, they have thrived. The entire L&C community has been incredibly supportive. I couldn’t be prouder of our students’ can-do spirit and their desire to learn, even in an environment that has been so challenging.

Spring Sports Back in Action

For the first time since mid-March 2020, the Lewis & Clark Pioneers returned to competition during spring semester. Games have been played without fans for most of the season; however, supporters have been able to watch home games via PioStream, the college’s video streaming service. Contests continue through May with schedules available at LCPioneers.com.