A one-hour ceremony on the football field at Rancho Mirage High School was held on Dec. 9 for the formal naming of the football stadium after seasonal Rancho Mirage resident and semi-retired NFL “super agent” Jerry Argovitz. Argovitz recently made a one-million-dollar donation to the Palm Springs Unified School District to establish an endowment-fund at RMHS in support of the newly named Jerry Argovitz Sports Institute, or JASI.
The Institute’s curriculum and activities, overseen by RMHS Principal Ken Wagner, will be designed for RMHS athletes and other District students specifically to introduce them to the wide variety of sports- and sports-related career options open to them separate and apart from playing professionally.
Consisting of a series of carefully structured lectures, in-depth presentations, guest-visits, field trips, and workshops by Argovitz and colleagues from the world of professional sports, the curriculum is intended to expose sports-focused students to the multiple career pathways down which their interest in pro sports might take them – from management, journalism, and broadcasting to advertising, communications, coaching, sports medicine, and dozens of other arenas.
According to Dr. Argovitz, “A majority of high school athletes have a desire to go to college to focus on a career in athletics on the field -- but few recognize the opportunities for a career in sports that doesn’t involve wearing a helmet or throwing a football. Our Institute at RMHS will introduce them to these options, keep them interested in academics and graduating, and build their commitment to character development, integrity, work ethics, moral values, and academic excellence.” Argovitz stresses that “The reality is, most high school athletes’ dreams of a pro sports career are unrealistic. Yet if we get them excited about the countless sports-related areas in which they absolutely can build a meaningful career, we’ll keep them in school.”
Ellen Goodman, Executive Director of The Foundation for the Palm Springs Unified School District, worked closely with Argovitz for six months to conceive, develop, and flesh-out the JASI agreement, which, as Goodman has said, “takes Jerry’s longtime interest in mentoring young athletes and would-be athletes, and makes it possible for him to reach dozens and dozens of district students with his wisdom and long experience in pro sports. Our students will benefit enormously from his insights and guidance.”
Dr. Christine Anderson, Superintendent of Palm Springs Unified School District, will preside over Friday’s ceremony, and has commented, “As a founding owner of a major professional football franchise, Dr. Argovitz has a deep commitment and a genuine desire to help underserved and economically challenged District students especially, and as an agent has represented and mentor many young and talented athletes. The depth of understanding that he will provide to our District’s students is enormous.”
Of the Argovitz endowment fund, PSUSD Board of Education President Karen Cornett said, “The donation is exactly what the Foundation for the Palm Springs Unified School District, under Ellen Goodman’s directorship, was set up to do: secure generous private community funding for initiatives within PSUSD that would otherwise go unfunded or underfunded. The agreement with Mr. Argovitz is an absolute win-win for us.”