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Week of March 12, 2012

Staff Spotlight

Assistant director in Rec Sports officiates to help guide students

Nicole Green-Valentine knows the key to being a good official.

“You need field presence. You need to be confident in yourself, confident that you know the rules and know how to apply them, and that you communicate well with the players, coaches, parents your partner officials,” says Green-Valentine, assistant director in the Department of Recreational Sports.

Photo by Austin Thomason, U-M Photo Services.

Her work as a referee began as an undergraduate, as an Intramural Sports official and has continued as a personal hobby. The collegiate and high school sports communities have acknowledged her expertise in officiating in several ways. Green-Valentine was recognized as an All-American Flag Football Official as a student, and last fall was selected to work a Michigan High School Athletic Association boys regional final game — both rare opportunities for a woman official as men’s sports typically are officiated by male referees.

“For the playoff games the Michigan High School Athletic Association assigns the games and they try to pick officials who know what they’re doing, so to get a spot in a playoff game in the regional finals was exciting,” she says.

And while Green-Valentine in two weeks will serve as a girls’ high school soccer official, she no longer instructs intramural student referees. Her key job responsibilities now include a broader role to develop student employees. “I am able to help figure out how we can develop our student employees no matter what they’re doing for us,” she says. “What I’m most excited about in working with student development is teaching students how they can take the skills they learn working with Rec Sports and use them after graduation.” Other key responsibilities are planning special events. This will include the Department of Recreational Sports’ upcoming centennial celebration in 2013-14.

She also is responsible for facility management. “We’ve done a lot of improvements at Elbel Field, we’ve installed a new turf field and new fencing; we’re trying to better manage that facility and the Sports Coliseum,” she says.

Green-Valentine says she’s excited about the new job responsibilities. “I’m really encouraged. There’s a lot of potential for me to grow professionally. I think I can help our department in a lot of different ways.”

Six years ago Green-Valentine, who earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a Master of Arts degree in secondary social studies education at U-M, says she faced a tough decision regarding her professional future. “After I graduated, I was offered a part-time teaching job, and then was offered a full-time job with Intramural Sports here at U-M,” she says.

While her job duties have changed, Green-Valentine continues to pursue leadership opportunities with the National-Intramural Recreational Sports Association, the governing body of recreational sports programs throughout the country. In 2010-11 she was selected chairperson of the NIRSA Flag Football Rules Committee, and had the opportunity to develop the 15th Edition of the rulebook.

Other activities include travel, as Green-Valentine and her husband Jeremy enjoyed two weeks in France and Italy last July. “It’s such a different way of life. To try and communicate with someone in a different language is such an experience and it turned out to be so much fun,” she says.

She also is an active practitioner of Bikram yoga, having recently completed a 60-Day Challenge, and still going strong by attending 73 consecutive days of classes. Bikram yoga is performed in a heated room. “It realigns and changes the flexibility of your body, you feel amazing after you’re done doing it.” Green-Valentine and her husband have two Miniature Australian Shepherds, Kanga and Rue.

The weekly Spotlight features faculty and staff members at the university. To nominate a candidate, please contact the Record staff at



Nicole Green-Valentine, assistant director, Department of Recreational Sports, on officiating: "You need to be confident in yourself, confident that you know the rules and know how to apply them, and that you communicate well with the players, coaches, parents your partner officials."


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