DeWitt finds his ‘niche’ in Newberry

Elyssa Parnell Staff Writer

September 16, 2013

NEWBERRY — Having lived and grown up in Summerville, Matt DeWitt never imagined he’d be settling down and making a family in Newberry after graduating from Newberry College in 2002.

DeWitt was born on Feb. 2, 1980, at Trident Hospital in North Charleston. His mother worked for an import/export company in Charleston at the time, while his father was in the Navy. When the shipyard in Charleston closed, DeWitt’s father, now a civilian working on submarines, went back to school to become a nurse.

He now works at the Medical University of South Carolina as a charge nurse on the neonatal floor. His mother is now happily enjoying retirement.

Attending school at Stratford High School in Goose Creek, DeWitt was involved in many sports including baseball, football, wrestling, and throwing shot put as a member of the track team.

Baseball was DeWitt’s favorite of the sports. He had aspirations of possibly playing in college had a baseball accident not caused him to lose his left eye. Although that might have changed what he thought his plans were for his future, DeWitt says it was all part of God’s plan that’s led him to where he is today.

From college to the future

Following high school, DeWitt found himself playing football at Virginia Military Institute for a year.

“The military wasn’t the right path for me,” DeWitt said. “I transferred to Newberry College in 1999.”

At Newberry College, DeWitt majored in Sports Management, getting a minor in coaching. He played three years of football for the Indians, being named all-conference his senior year in 2001. DeWitt’s future aspirations at this point were to become a collegiate director of athletics.

From Newberry College, DeWitt changed locations again, this time finding himself in Troy Alabama to attend Troy State University, where he was a graduate teaching assistant and worked for the athletics department. From Troy State, DeWitt obtained his Masters in Athletic Administration, before heading back to Newberry in 2004 to become the Assistant Athletics Director for Newberry College.

DeWitt said he never saw himself coming back to Newberry.

“Once again, God has a hand in everything and brought me back,” DeWitt said. “It’s the main reason I’m sitting where I am today.”

For almost six and a half years, DeWitt worked his way up at Newberry College to Associate Athletics Director, as well as the Executive Director of the Indian Club for the college.

On Feb. 1, 2010, DeWitt found himself starting work for the City of Newberry as the Assistant to the City Manager.

“I had been doing development work for the college, and this position had lots of development projects,” DeWitt said.

While employed with the city, DeWitt got his Masters Certification in Public Administration from Clemson in 2011. Following obtaining his new degree, DeWitt received a promotion of being named the Assistant City Manager, where he stands today.

As Assistant City Manager, DeWitt oversees community development, the Parks, Recreation, and Tourism department, public works, planning and zoning development, and is responsible for day to day operations.

DeWitt says what he loves most about his job with the city is getting to help people each and every day.

“If I went to work and felt like I wasn’t helping people every day, I’d have to change careers,” he said.

Family and hobbies

DeWitt says he and his wife Jessica have known each other since the sixth grade. In ninth grade, DeWitt recalled Jessica transferring to Columbia for school until their senior year of high school, where the two started dating right before the prom.

While DeWitt was in Virginia playing football, Jessica was getting her undergraduate degree in Education at the University of South Carolina. DeWitt recalls his parents driving to pick up Jessica from USC, then the three of them coming to support his football team.

“She never missed a game,” DeWitt said.

When DeWitt transferred to Newberry College, Jessica did too, also needing a change, and the two were able to spend more time together.

In 2002, the two moved to Alabama, where she was able to find a teaching job, while DeWitt was in graduate school. On June 14, 2003, they were married in between DeWitt’s terms in grad school.

“I had to take a summer term off of school to get married and go on our honeymoon,” DeWitt said. “But it was worth it,” he smiled.

Together, they have two children, Brooklyn, who is 5 years old, and Hudson, who will turn 1 in December.

In his spare time, DeWitt enjoys golfing, attending Newberry College athletic events and spending time with his family. DeWitt serves on various community committees including Newberry County FCA, Newberry County Memorial Hospital Foundation Board, Newberry County Touchdown Club, South Carolina Community Development Association, Newberry County Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, and is an Aveleigh Church Deacon.

DeWitt is also a former Newberry College Letterman’s Club and Athletic Club Board member.

Elyssa Parnell can be reached at 803-276-0625, ext. 108 or at