Ryan Hall is a shining example of someone who set their sights on a goal and went after it. While enrolled at the CSL, Hall was unsure of what area of sports he wanted to pursue. He always enjoyed coaching and shortly after graduation, took a position as the head soccer coach at Benedictine College Preparatory in Richmond. Soon, he was asked to serve as assistant Athletic Director. It was then that he set his plan to be a high school AD. Little did he think it would be at Benedictine, where is completed his fourth year as AD. He is also the Head Wrestling Coach and just led the Cadets to the fourth straight state championship. This Q & A was conducted by graduate student Vincent Greene
Vincent Greene: How has what you learned during your time as a student in the CSL translated to the current job?
Ryan Hall: When working in groups for CSL projects, learning how to deal with different individuals was a big lesson. It is necessary to have an open frame of mind because you’re going to deal with different types of people and personalities. Also, having the flexibility to be able to work with others for the common good was a skill I also took away from the program.
VG: Who is the most influential person you have met in the industry, and how did they impact you professionally?
RH: At the center of my circle of influence, Dr. LeCrom was the most influential for me. She insisted that I follow what I want to do, but was always there to offer advice on how to do it. She helped give me an open mind on different areas to dive into for job opportunities. Additionally, she helped guide me through the experiences I had and narrow down what was best for me.
VG: What is the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome working in this industry, and how did you do it?
RH: Getting to where I wanted to be was my hardest obstacle to overcome. I wanted to be Athletic Director at the high school level and build or improve upon an already successful athletic program. I just wanted to get there, but I could not put a time frame on the process. I also wanted a family and to live in a good area. I had all these wants and did not want to wait. However, I took a job in admissions after my assistant AD position, despite not wanting the job. I kept my mind open on the position, and afterward year I was promoted to Head Athletic Director. Had I not taken that position, I may not have the role I have now.
VG: What unique challenges do you face at your position that people may not be aware of or maybe you didn’t anticipate prior to starting there?
RH: Finding that balance between being a coach and the AD is one of the toughest positions I face daily. Being the AD obviously has to come first. Also, dealing with parents that pay tuition for a private school causes a different challenge because they feel they are paying money to the school and their child should be playing. It is hard to explain to parents why their kid is not playing even though their child did not put in the work that another child did. You have to be honest with parents and where their child stands.I did not expect to have to deal with that as much as I do at this level. Communication among kids, colleagues and parents is key to success for any department to be successful.
VG: What is the best advice you would give to a current student in the CSL in reference on how to manage their expectations of trying to get that “dream job” right after graduation?
RH: Bluntly put, you’re not going to get your dream job right after graduation. CSL is the foundation of where you want to go. Through CSL, you will gain the tools to be successful, but then you have to make something of it. Having an open mind, patience, honesty with yourself and those around you, and a good work ethic are essential to get you to your end goal.