Published on February 16, 2015  
Nathan Kirkpatrick

Position: Assistant Professor of Kinesiology

Teaching at Samford since 2013

Bonus fact: Kirkpatrick’s wife, Emily Hart Kirkpatrick, is a 2011 Samford journalism and mass communication graduate.

 Why do you teach? Why do you teach at Samford?  I teach because I am passionate about working with college students. I think someone’s time in college is incredibly impactful, and I want to be used by the Lord to point college students to Jesus and train them to be excellent and proficient professionals in the sport industry. I teach at Samford because I want to use my teaching and mentoring as vehicles to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and Samford not only supports this heart intention but embodies it as an institution that wants to be centered on Jesus Christ.

What is one thing you want your students to know when they graduate from Samford? I pray that they would know Jesus came to save sinners (like me/like them), and that the Good News of the Gospel is that if we know Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are now free in Him to use our callings in the sport industry (and other industries) to simply love, serve, and be used by the Lord as the aroma of Christ in people’s lives.

What is your favorite non-Samford activity? Why? I love exercising/playing sports (preferably with my wife Emily), and challenging myself physically in some type of way.

How did your background prepare you for your current role at Samford? I was blessed by God to be a college basketball player, which helped me understand the sides of college athletics that fans do not get to see. I then started my professional career working in college athletics as a men’s basketball coach and athletic administrator. Thus, these leadership roles in the sport industry taught me necessary people skills and knowledge which now I can impart to my students. God has also graciously allowed my background in the sport industry to be used as a connecting point with students here on campus, prospective students and sport industry professionals.

What has it been like helping to develop the new sport administration program at Samford?  It has truly been an honor and blessing to have been able to help build and now coordinate the new sport administration program. God’s gracious hand has been all over this process, as in everything, and we are excited to see both current and prospective students interested in the program. We want the heartbeat of this program to be rooted in scripture, and to look at all angles of the sport industry through the lens of the Gospel, thus molding students to go and be incredibly sharp and proficient professionals in the industry, all while pointing people to Jesus.

What is some of the interesting research you have done or are doing in your field?  My current research project is titled “What Effects Will the NCAA Academic Redshirt Policy Have on NCAA Division I Intercollegiate Athletics at the ‘Power 5’ Conference Level?” The NCAA Academic Redshirt is a new policy, being implemented in 2016, that allows a student athlete to receive an athletics scholarship their first year of school and practice during their first academic semester. If a student athlete is academically eligible after their first semester, they can then practice the rest of the school year. I am studying the effects this policy will have on athletics departments within the “Power 5” conferences.

What’s one thing that most students do not know about you? I love music. My favorite is rhythm and blues, jazz and old Motown. I love listening to music, going to concerts with my wife Emily and singing somewhat on key, some of the time.



Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.