North Sanpete names gym after retiring athletic director Sharon Christensen
- PLEASANT—It’s not every day you have a gym named after you—particularly if your last name isn’t Huntsman or Eccles.
If naming rights were determined by hours committed, it’s very fitting that North Sanpete High School (NSHS) just named its main gym after retiring athletic director Sharon Christensen who has spent 31 years at the school building its athletic programs.
Christensen was surprised by the announcement last Wednesday, May 17, at an end-of-semester assembly where Christensen’s daughter Holly Bradley paid tribute to her mother live via Skype.
“The high school was our second home,” Bradley said and shared several memories including toddling around the gym in a walker while her mother held practice. Bradley’s favorite memory was when in her junior year she was on the volleyball team that took state with her mom as coach.
Christensen first came to North Sanpete High in 1987 after receiving a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Weber State and teaching at Weber High for a year. Since leaving Weber, she has spent the rest of her career at NSHS. Over the years, she was head coach in five different sports: volleyball, basketball, softball, girls golf and track, and took her volleyball teams to several state championships.
Christensen has spent the last 15 years as the school’s athletic director, gathering many awards and certifications along the way. The awards include High School Coach of the Year 1994, North Sanpete School District Teacher of the Year 1999, UHSAA Distinguished Service Award 2001, 3A Coach of the Year 2006, North Sanpete School District Outstanding Service Award 2006 and UIAAA State Award of Merit 2012.
Principal Nan Ault announced her most recent certification, that of Certified Master Athletic Administrator, at the assembly. Previously, she had received a master’s degree from the University of Utah in exercise and sports science and had been named a Certified Athletic Administrator.
“She has spent 30 years teaching classes and doing her thing in that gym—the main gym. It’s time to not call it the main gym anymore,” Ault said at the assembly as she announced they were changing the main gym’s name to the Sharon Christensen Gym. (Christensen later said having the gym named after her was “overwhelming.”)
The assembled students broke out in cheers at the announcement and followed it with the school cheer.
Christensen, who is married to Mark Christensen (“a Moroni boy,” she calls him), says she and her husband and daughter Angie will be moving to St. George to be near family, but expects they’ll come back from time to time to visit.
Retirement, she says, “is an opportunity for change, a chance to do something different.”
“I’ve had a great experience, met a lot of wonderful people and learned a lot,” she says. “I have a lot of good memories and I’m fortunate things have been as nice as they have.”
Christensen says while she and her husband haven’t solidified all of their plans—“we’re moving to the next stage of our life”—she hopes to be able to play more golf in St. George.
School officials say whatever Christensen chooses to do with her newfound spare time, she is going to be missed.
“Sharon is a person that has really made all of our athletic programs run smoothly,” Principal Nan Ault says. “She has contributed countless hours, is an excellent coach and a master teacher. She has been a vital part of our school community for some time and we are going to miss her.”
This evening, at 7 p.m. there will be an open house at the school to honor Christensen.