Teacher discovered love for basketball, then teaching


Nyesha Davis

Mr. Pritt works with his students.

At a young age David Pritt lived in a neighborhood full of kids his age. Then one of his neighbors got a basketball hoop and that sparked his biggest passion. Mr. Pritt grew up here in Merrillville, always playing sports outside with his siblings and the kids around the neighborhood. 

“When I was 5 or 6 one of our neighbors got a basketball hoop put in and they had a nice big driveway so basically everyone went over there to play basketball every day,” he said. “It came to the point where we just started putting 1v1, 2v2, and 3v3 leagues and keeping track of who won.”

Playing basketball and creating leagues with the children, that sparked the competition in him. 

“Ever since I started playing with the kids in the neighborhood, I always had that competition and it kind of grew on me,” he said. “Since then I always worked hard to make sure I was good and I played basically the rest of my life.

Mr. Pritt had been in the Merrillville school system his whole life and played football, soccer, basketball, and baseball. He graduated from Merrillville High School in 2002 and decided to attend college at Purdue Calumet to pursue a degree in business and marketing.

At first business and marketing was all about the money for him, but eventually he became interested and enjoyed it. 

“Originally it was about money and I thought that was the easiest way I could make a lot of money,” he said. “When I got into marketing, I enjoyed my job a lot more and kind of the creative process and being able to design.”

Mr. Pritt never had intentions of playing basketball after high school, but Purdue had an intramural basketball tournament and his team had made it to the championship game. They lost in the finals, but he had a really good game and Purdue’s basketball coach talked to him about a possible walk-on spot his senior year. 

Purdue keeps practice players as a group of reserves where they practice with the team everyday and they’re around the team everyday. 

“I never really got a chance to dress,” he said. “It was cool though because I got to play with these athletes that were playing for Purdue which was like the No. 4 team in the nation.

After college, he immediately got into banking and after a year and a half he worked his way up from being a personal banker to being the director of marketing and cash management for the bank. For almost eight years he worked as the director of marketing at The First National Bank of Illinois.

Unfortunately the bank got bought out by Wintrust, he kept his job as the director of marketing, but he had to work at the corporate headquarters in Rosemont, which was a two-hour drive. 

That led Mr. Pritt to pursue a teaching and coaching career. 

“I was always kind of interested in doing the whole teacher/coaching thing,” he said. “I love basketball and I missed being around it and I never really had time for it working at the bank.”

Mr. Pritt then did research on how he could become a teacher and he found out Indiana has a special teaching license called a workplace specialist. You can get a teaching license almost immediately based on your work experience, so he was able to teach business, finance, and marketing topics just based on his experience with the bank.

After acquiring his license, he started looking for a teaching position around the area. His first thought was Lowell High School because they had a business teaching position open, but he really wanted to teach at Merrillville High School because he already knew people teaching here and he graduated here and wanted to return home.

At the time, Merrillville didn’t have any teaching positions open for business and finance, but he was told to keep reaching out every year to see if a position opens up.

So he started teaching at Lowell High School for two years; after things didn’t work out to expectations there, he found a new job at Portage.

He stayed at Portage for a year and loved it, but Merrillville finally reached out and he took the job because Merrillville is where he wanted to be originally.

“I wanted to coach here, but I didn’t really know the guys here,” he said. “So I reached out to the current head coach and he didn’t have any coaching positions open, but the only way I could coach here was if I was a volunteer assistant coach.”

His first year here he didn’t get paid for coaching, but he knew if he wanted to be a coach here officially he would have to pay his dues and work his way up. His second year a couple of coaches left, so he was the head JV coach and an assistant varsity coach.

In his third year of coaching the head coach had stepped down and left for Crown Point, so Bo Patton became the head coach and Mr. Pritt became the assistant coach for varsity.

“Teaching and coaching is a huge time commitment in itself because most of my days are filled,” he said. “Basically after the school day is over we have practice, but I have three kids at home and they’re kind of my next hobby.”

His son plays sports and his two girls ages 3 and 5, they are starting to get into activities of their own as well. Everyday Mr. Pritt’s day is planned out, because after practice he has to tend to the practices and activities of his children.

Between Mr. Pritt and his wife have a busy schedule between coaching their respective coaches and making sure their kids get to practice.

“At first I got into business and marketing for the money, but in the end I knew I wanted to get back into my biggest passion which was basketball and sports.