By Jake Brown / Staff Writer
When you hear the name “Dan Naccarato” at Hutchinson Community College, it might sound unfamiliar. If that same person were to swap “Dan” with “Coach,” some people around campus, or in the Hutchinson area would become familiar again.
Naccarato, or “Coach Nac,” is officially titled the Business Management and Entrepreneurship Professor and Program Coordinator at HutchCC. Naccarato is in his 16th year at HutchCC, and his 17th year of teaching, as he taught previously for a one-year stint while getting his Master’s at Emporia State University.
“When I was in graduate school at Emporia State, my dad was a teacher there,” Naccarato said. “He suffered a stroke. The School of Business asked me if I would teach the classes he was scheduled to teach. They already had the name ‘Naccarato’ printed on all the course schedules. So I taught at Emporia State for a year while I was working on my MBA. It was a blast.”
He received his degree from Emporia State University, majoring in Business Administration and minoring in English and Economics, eventually earning his MBA as well.
He had many jobs before instructing at HutchCC, but all prominently dealt with business and money, including a vault teller at Emporia State Bank, Dillon’s grocer in Emporia, Retail Operations Analyst for Dillon’s Headquarters in Hutchinson, Director of Human Resources and Corporate Benefits, and then landing as an Instructor at HutchCC.
He didn’t fail to mention the reason for his namesake, either. “Coach Nac” came from his 24-year run as a football, basketball, and baseball coach around Kansas. Including time with the Salthawk football dynasty at Hutchinson High School, which won seven state championships in eight years.
“Broadway Joe Namath was right when he said: ‘When you win, nothing hurts,’” Naccarato said. “When caring, capable, dedicated people come together and do what it takes to achieve team goals – It’s magic.”
Naccarato is well known for his style of teaching and his positive outlook on life.
“It just seems to me that since I want students to take notes, I ought to reward them by letting them use their notes whenever they like,” Naccarato said.
Along with this, he doesn’t require a textbook, along with no homework. He asks for engagement in conversations and activities in class instead, along with, “… quizzes (“rays of sunshine”) and tests (“supernovas”).”
He is also a Star Wars fan, so the question had to be asked, “How excited are you for the new Star Wars movie?”
“Munching on peanut M&Ms, sipping Macallans on ice with best friends, watching the Royals win the World Series … Star Wars movies are almost that good,” Naccarato said.
Along with that, realize, he is a huge Star Wars fan and is captivated and engulfed with the movie dynasty.
If you want to see more positivity, look no further than Dan Naccarato. The chances are there to take classes instructed by him every semester, and it is not something few would regret.
“It’s a great day to study business!” is his famous line. However, it’s a great day to study under Dan Naccarato.
Five things to know about Coach Nac
● Musical Taste – “Eclectic. Take a road trip with me. We’ll listen to whatever you like. Just be prepared to make bathroom stops every 150 miles.”
● Thoughts on Brad Hallier? – “Ultimate authority on Hutchinson Women’s Football (Soccer) and all-around good guy.”
● He and his wife moved to “the center of the garden of the universe” (Hutchinson, KS USA Earth Milky Way) in May of 1985 and still live in the same house.
● Son, Luke, played Blue Dragon Baseball, and daughter, Kylee, played Blue Dragon Basketball.
● Is on a 514-day streak studying Italian on Duolingo.