Golden Gate's Pete Seitz announces retirement after 35-plus years in Collier County Public Schools

Alex Martin
Naples Daily News

In 1986, Pete Seitz got an opportunity to work in the Collier County Public School system.

Little did he know, his tenure would last for over 35 years.

Seitz announced his retirement last week from the school he called home for 16 years.

"Golden Gate is a unique place," Seitz said. "I think there's a misnomer out there about it. I have three daughters, all three of them came here, and they didn't have to, but they wanted to come here. It's a great school and it has good teachers, and has good coaches. And I think that's half the battle is getting everybody on the same, the same page.

In case you missed it:Ernie Modugno, Collier's longest-tenured AD, retiring after 33 years at Naples High

Vote:Naples Daily News Athlete of the Week poll by Babcock Ranch for Jan. 3-8

Congratulations!:See who won the NDN Athlete of the Week for Dec. 13-Jan. 1 sponsored by Babcock Ranch

Pete Seitz, longtime Golden Gate athletic director, retires after 16 years at Golden Gate High School and 36 years in Collier County Public Schools.

"But the other thing I think is when you're young, you don't get it, but man, 16 years just flew by. You blink your eye and your kids go through high school, you blink again, next thing, you're at the end, so it's pretty wild."

Seitz graduated in 1982 from Barron Collier before playing Division III baseball at William Penn in Oskaloosa, Iowa. From there, he was hired to work at Lely in 1986, where he worked as an assistant on the varsity baseball team, including the 1989 squad that won the Class 3A title over Tampa Plant.

After two decades at Lely, Seitz applied for the Golden Gate job in 2006 and got the position, taking over for Jim Ragusa just two years after the school opened in 2004. From there, Seitz was tasked with building an athletic program.

"Pete, what he's done for our district, in the classroom, you know, on the field, and what he's done as an activities coordinator, is special," said Mark Rosenbalm, Collier County Coordinator for Interscholastic Athletics. "He's been excellent for students, for parents, for faculty. He's done just a great job, and he's done it with integrity. And to me, his career has been no less than very successful."

One of Seitz's biggest accomplishments at Golden Gate was seeing the amount of kids who received statewide recognition, as the number only grew during his 16 years at the school. Designing a gym from scratch, something he did shortly after being hired, was another thing he recalled early on.

"I think if we walked into the gym entranceway, you'd see an awful lot of all-state pictures up there," Seitz said. "The gym, when I took over, there wasn't anything in there. So getting people's input in designing a gym from nothing, the inside of it was fun to do, but none of that happens without those kids, who all became all-state athletes in whatever sport, they made it to the Wall of Fame.

"We have the same thing in the hallway of the weight room, so kids know what they're working for when they go in there. And that's really one of the cool things."

Taking over at Golden Gate will be former Immokalee activities coordinator Joe Lee Gallegos, who was hired at Immokalee in 2014, while serving nearly six years at the school.

Pete Seitz, longtime Golden Gate athletic director, retires after 16 years at Golden Gate High School and 36 years in Collier County Public Schools.

"I knew the school would be in good hands and the athletic department was because he has a background in athletics, and he's a very good communicator," Seitz said. "So, my phone is available to him, he'll call me if he needs something, but he'll be good for the kids. And that was really my only concern is hoping they'd hire somebody who kids will like. And Joey is one of those guys that the kids are drawn to."

Stability is one thing that Seitz got asked about a lot in recent weeks, describing his wife, Rebecca, as an important piece to that puzzle.

"People asked me in the last couple of weeks, once you know how did you do it?" he said. "Because if you look at this job, people don't stay in them for long, long periods of time. And so you think, how did I do it for 16 years? It comes down to my wife. She allowed me to do it. We did it together. She had to take care of the kids when they were little.

"At one point there were Tiny Titans in this school, that program and they would come out to the events. It takes a special person to give up a lot of the things that she did for me to do this."

Follow Southwest Florida Sports Writer Alex Martin on Twitter: @NP_AlexMartin. For the best sports coverage in Southwest Florida, follow @newspresssports and @ndnprepzone on Instagram.