02/05/09 — Mount Olive names Rec director

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Mount Olive names Rec director

By Steve Herring
Published in News on February 5, 2009 1:46 PM

Chris Bitzenhofer

MOUNT OLIVE-- Before moving to Mount Olive to attend college Chris Bitzenhofer had never heard of a pig picking. But since coming to eastern North Carolina, he said, he has fallen in love with the town and this part of the state.

Bitzenhofer, 24, has been hired by the town as its recreation director, the first to hold the position in several years.

He has been working for the city of Greenville, doing landscaping work for the public works department, but said he already plans to move back to Mount Olive.

Bitzenhofer, a native of Raleigh, who received his bachelor of science degree in recreation and leisure studies with an emphasis in sports management from Mount Olive College, will begin his new duties Feb. 16.

The Mount Olive Parks and Recreation Commission Selection Committee offered him the job in late January and he accepted this week.

His starting salary will be $28,000 ,plus the town's usual benefit package that includes insurance, retirement and 401K plan for a total of about $35,000.

The town had hoped to have a director in place last month. However, the first person who was offered the job turned it down.

"This is a huge opportunity for me," Bitzenhofer said. "I am extremely excited that I will be able to work in recreation and in the town."

"I wanted to live in a small town," he said. I feel lucky. I feel real blessed."

While at college Bitzenhofer said that he had not been that aware of the town's recreation programs until he learned about the Hurricanes youth football team.

The town's lack of recreational facilities will be a challenge and one that in the future will be a priority, an expensive one, he said.

"I have a lot to learn," Bitzenhofer said. "I am real excited and looking forward to learning about the recreation program and using what I learned to do to develop recreation in Mount Olive."

Town Manager Charles Brown said in an interview last week that the new director would be responsible for more than just T-ball, baseball and basketball programs. Brown said the town wants a slate of programs for all ages from youths to senior citizens.

Bitzenhofer was a member of the junior varsity basketball and golf team at the college. He also was a member of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee and a member of the North Carolina Recreation and Parks Association.

Bitzenhofer was a recipient of the Michael Martin Memorial Scholarship, the Mount Olive College junior varsity basketball Coach's Award and the Mount Olive College Golf Coach's Award.

"It is readily apparent that Mr. Bitzenhofer will bring the level of energy and enthusiasm to the Mount Olive Parks and Recreation program that is needed to continue to move the program forward and to make it a program that residents of the Mount Olive area will be proud of," Brown said.