Antelope Intros: Tim Nollan and Dr. Roméo Farinacci
Antelope Intros is a recurring GCU Today feature that introduces some of our new employees to the people around them in a way that is fun and informative. Employees are eligible to be featured in the month following their orientation.
Job title: Head women’s volleyball coach
Job location: Main campus
What attracted you to GCU? I was attracted by the vision that Vice President of Athletics Mike Vaught and President Brian Mueller have for the athletics department as well as GCU being a private university. Because I’m a dad, the family atmosphere of the school is also very exciting to me with GCU competing to be ranked in the top 25. Everyone I have met at GCU has a genuine interest in me as a coach and a person. People have gone out of their way — from introducing themselves to providing me with different information about campus to recommending a preschool for one of my kids. People don’t treat each other like coworkers, they treat one another like family.
What do you do for fun and where do you find that outlet? My family loves the outdoors. We will be hiking or camping or swimming whenever we are given the chance. We won’t move to Phoenix until March (fingers crossed), but we are going to take a Grand Canyon trip in May and we all are excited about it. My wife and kids are in La Canada, Calif. There, we love to camp in the Mammoth Lakes area or in Malibu at a place called Sycamore Canyon, which is across the highway from the beach and is in a sycamore tree grove. When we go in May we hike in the hills and get to watch the whales, all in the same day. My wife and I got married in Mammoth, so it always will be a special place for us. We love swimming the ocean, but we are looking to try the Arizona lakes. We also want to look for a swim team for Avery, my oldest daughter. She loves being in the water so much, I think she might be part fish. For fun, I also love backpacking solo or with my father and friends. The last couple of trips I have taken were to the Big Pine Lakes as well as the Golden Trout Wilderness in the Sierra Nevada in California. These trips are anywhere from four to seven nights. I would love to do the entire Pacific Crest Trail, but that takes months.
What are you passionate about? I am very passionate about kids and veterans. I’m always trying to find ways to make their lives better.
What are your favorite places or events in the Valley that you like to visit? Any hiking trail, the zoo and the botanical garden.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know: I graduated with honors with a master’s in Educational Technology from Pepperdine University. I coached at the University of Southern California for the last eight years and at Pepperdine for the four years before that. I got into college coaching after coaching high school and club volleyball. While doing so, I was given the opportunity to be the volunteer assistant at USC in 2003. We went 35-0 that year, and I thought college coaching was easy — if only I had known. From there I went to Pepperdine as a paid assistant and got my master’s while coaching, and it has transformed how I teach the game. From Pepperdine I went back to USC to be the associate head coach, and now I have made the jump to GCU to be the head coach.
What are you most proud of? My family, followed by the accomplishments of the great athletes I have had the pleasure to coach. My family makes me proud every day. I talk to them about what happened at school and how to treat a classmate, and I watch dance performances, music classes and sports events. My kids’ passion for life and how much they care for nature and the world is humbling. And then, of course, my wife, Kristen, holds the family together while I am on the road traveling. Kristen being able to raise three amazing kids, Avery, Emma Jane and Deacon, and our dog, Poppy, just makes me feel extremely proud. I know that the world is a better place with my family in it and that all three of my kids will go on do to great things.
DR. ROMÉO FARINACCI
Job title: Program director, information technology and cyber security
Job location: Main campus, College of Science, Engineering and Technology
What attracted you to GCU? I am very active in my church. When I joined GCU as an adjunct, I found that many of the cultural characteristics and nuances of the University mimic the culture at my church, and that fits my personality like a glove.
What do you do for fun and where do you find that outlet? I am a social butterfly and am very active here in the Valley and now on campus. I am a Grand Award Judge for Intel International Science and Engineering Fair and a judge for the Arizona Science and Engineering Fair. I also am part of many social communities and help run events such as Juniques MultiCultural Connections and The Office Pile. I went to a Black History Month Expo on Valentine’s Day last year at the Phoenix Salvation Army KROC Center and met actor and producer Omar Gooding. On campus, I work with the Honors College, with Paul Waterman, assistant professor of entrepreneurial studies in the Colangelo College of Business, and help in the Project Management club to provide students guidance and resources in achieving the Project Management Professional certification. Besides the social extravaganza, I also enjoy my quiet time. I am an enthusiastic moviegoer (I own 2,000+ and counting), enjoy eating at ridiculously pricey restaurants, jumping out of perfectly good airplanes and playing Skylanders with my son, Xavier, all day!
What are you passionate about? My son, church, education and all that is part of our technological future. That passion drove me to where I am today, at GCU, where I can successfully merge all four and be who I want to be — suit, tie and all — while helping others achieve their dreams through church, education or IT. Did I mention my favorite color is purple?
What are your favorite places or events in the Valley that you like to visit? I enjoy the top of Piestewa Peak in the evening, the Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort, AMC Dine-In Theatres Esplanade and any social event in the Valley. I am open to suggestions.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know: Before moving to central Phoenix, I lived in Waddell, where I became a Bible study leader. Having the opportunity to discuss the Bible and the many interpretations for our lives was an amazing experience. Also, my last name is Italian, but I am not Italian. My mom remarried an Italian from Buffalo, N.Y., two days before my first birthday, and he adopted me when I turned 7.
What are you most proud of? Honestly, besides my awesome mini-me of a son, I’m proudest of my education. I grew up in a fiscally challenged environment, with no real vision for achieving higher education. Most of my family and relatives was in the military, so initially I went that route, and after my six years of active duty in the Air Force I decided to make a change that ignited a passion I did not know was inside me. Now seven degrees later, I’m that guy, and I look back and smile. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” — Philippians 4:13