Graduate Student Alumni Spotlight
Student Name: Mark Saroni
Employer: Paragon Training
Position: Owner/Founder/Head Coach
What attracted you to this field?
I’ve been in love with endurance sports for a very, very long time. I started competing in triathlons when I was 12. I ran cross country and track at UT Tyler while also serving as President of the Triathlon Club and racing the USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championships four years in a row. I’ve always enjoyed teaching and working with youth and through a series of fortunate events ended up owning my own business in San Antonio and doing just that for a living!
Why did you choose UT Tyler?
Because I wanted to run cross country in college but also race triathlons. I saw that the coach, Bob Hepler, was a triathlete himself and figured he would be friendly to triathletes who also ran.
What do you like most about UT Tyler?
I liked that it was a small school with a tight knit community. I had the opportunity to get to know my professors and work closely with them during the time I was there.
What are your career aspirations?
My goal is to continue to grow my business and assist more and more athletes in their pursuit of excellence.
What's your work experience?
I’ve worked in fitness centers and taught swim lessons since I was in high school. In college I was a graduate assistant and worked the concession stand at soccer and basketball games. Aside from that, I’ve never had a “real” job post-college. I went straight from graduate school to coaching athletes privately and starting San Antonio’s first year-round homeschool swim team. From there things just snowballed until I woke up one day and realized I wasn’t just “coaching,” I was running a business!
Do you have any advice to pass along to other students interested in this program?
I feel very fortunate to be where I am today. In many ways I feel like I just fell into my situation. I didn’t have a plan when I graduated school and I’d encourage most people to have more of a plan than I did. What I’ve ended up doing is pretty unique and not all that typical for most kinesiology majors. I’d encourage people going into the field to have a good idea of what they want to do WITH that degree. I’ve always said, you can’t get out of school and get a job with a kinesiology firm, those don’t exist. I’d also encourage students to take a few business and financial classes. I wish I’d taken accounting in college because it would be extremely useful today! It’s important to be well-rounded and that wasn’t something I really thought about while I was in school.
Learn more about our Kinesiology degree