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Published December 03. 2010 05:00PM

Back in October, Christy Spanitz made a decision that inspired Northwestern Lehigh Athletic Director Jason Zimmerman to make one of his own.

Spanitz approached Zimmerman to tell him of her decision to leave her job as the school's athletic trainer after serving the position full-time for the last seven years.

With her family living in Central Pennsylvania, Spanitz wanted nothing more than to finally free up some time to spend with her loved ones.

"The biggest thing was the hours, especially around the holidays," Spanitz said. "My parents are not old, but while they're still here I wanted to make sure I had the chance to spend some quality time with them and even my husband by getting home at a normal time every night versus all of the late nights."

Knowing that athletic training involved long hours of service, it was a move Spanitz had to make. But it wasn't easy to leave a fulfilling job that she still enjoyed.

"I know it kind of sounds cliché-like that coaches say that and stuff, but you kind of know when it's time and it was time," Spanitz admitted. "When I talked to Jason, it was a difficult thing for me to admit to myself because it was something I wanted to do for so long and was very rewarding to me. But I just knew it was time to get out.

"I told him this and he was kind of shocked. It didn't take long for the light bulb to go on and for him to kind of start working on how can we take the next step."

In addition to being the trainer, Spanitz had also served the last three years as part-time as the athletic department's secretary. It didn't take long for Zimmerman to figure out a way to keep her on board as a member of the Tiger family.

"I kind of had a rough fall to begin with," Zimmerman said. "When I found that out, I got a pit in my stomach. She just did a phenomenal job for us keeping our kids healthy and getting them back on the field of play, but I knew when she was ready to get out of that profession that the part-time gig she had in my office wasn't going to be enough to keep her around.

"So, we had to do some quick figuring and it ended up the buildings and grounds lady retired and they weren't going to replace her with a full-time person. So, we took two part-time positions and were able to maintain Christy's services up at the school."

After standing on the sidelines of her last football game as athletic trainer nearly a month ago, Spanitz relinquished her duties as the Tigers trainer and took on a whole new full-time position.

Spanitz was appointed as the school's secretary to the Director of Athletics and Student Activities/Buildings and Grounds. She will be in the same department as her husband, Gary.

Spanitz got the "best of both worlds" when everything was finalized thanks to a unanimous vote by the school board.

"It's wonderful," said Spanitz. "I have a little bit better hours, but I'm still at the school I came to love. I'm still there with the kids and I can still attend sporting events. But, now I can kind of just look forward to sitting back and enjoying the game. Not necessarily watching for the next injury to occur. I want to sell some tickets at games and just get to interact with some of the parents a little bit more in a different way than what I did before. Just sit back and be able to talk to people and that kind of stuff.

"It was just a huge relief to me that everything kind of fell into place and it all sort of seemed it was meant to be because things kind of fell into place rather quickly actually. It was just great because I kind of knew it was time for me to get out of athletic training."

While she may have served her last hours in the trainer's room, some of the aspects within her former position roll right into her new job.

"Basically, my administrative stuff will stay exactly the same because my job in athletics, other than getting rid of the trainer part, like the office work - that will all stay the same and it's just that now I have the addition of buildings and grounds," Spanitz said. "There's a lot of overlapping in those two departments because within athletics we take care of all of the facilities kind of stuff and with that entails custodial and the grounds guys to set it up and be there for coverage for the events.

"There is a lot of overlapping anyway. With me being in both offices, it kind of works out for each other."

No one is happier to see Spanitz sticking around than Zimmerman.

"If I would have lost her in that office I would be up the proverbial creek because she's phenomenal," Zimmerman stressed. "She's one person I could trust that if I would not be able to perform my duty that she could step right in there and do a great job.

"I thank the school board and the administration at Northwestern Lehigh for doing some things to retain her services. We literally threw the idea out there at them and in one month they were buying into it. Don't get me wrong, it was cost-saving to the district, but it was a win-win for everybody."

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