Spatola came to Duke after serving five years in the United States Army as a Battery Commander and Executive Officer. During his duty as captain in the U.S. Army, Spatola was awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal for exceptional performances during Operation Iraqi Freedom and the Army Commendation Medal for outstanding performance as Company Commander. He earned his degree in English from the United States Military Academy in 2002 with a minor in environmental engineering.
Spatola served as a graduate assistant coach with the men's basketball team at the United States Military Academy for the 2002-03 season before serving his five years in the U.S. Army. Spatola, a four-year letterwinner on the basketball team, was named to the All-Patriot League second team in 2001 and 2002. He is the Academy's fifth all-time leading scorer with 1,543 career points and ranks 14th in Patriot League history. Spatola is also the school's all-time leading free throw shooter (.870).