Tuesday, March 5, 2019
By Greg Gulas
For the past 17 years, Ryan Briggs has served as sports information director at Grove City College where he oversees its 22 varsity sports.
He counts on several students to assist him with his daily duties.
Addressing the Curbstone Coaches during Monday’s weekly meeting at Avion Banquet Center, Briggs said it’s a labor of love of which no two days are ever the same.
“I’m a native of Grove City, .Pa, went to Grove City High School, graduated from Grove City College and am so very fortunate to be able to work at my alma mater in a position that I absolutely love,” Briggs said. “I played basketball when I was younger, realizing back then that my skill set was much better suited for other things.
“I started covering games for the weekly paper, earning $15 a week and had a ton of fun.”
His fate was sealed when his high school teacher, Lanie Timko, put him in touch with former GCC sports information director Joe Klimchak.
“The summer after high school I worked in Joe’s office, usually twice a week,” Briggs said. “I was like a fish taking to water.
“I enjoyed it, especially the names, numbers, statistics and everything about the office. I was more concerned, however, with working in the sports information office than my academics, but made it through.”
After working at the school paper and radio station while in college, the administration tapped Briggs to replace Klimchak.
“It’s a great time to be at Grove City College and an even greater time to be in the athletic department,” Briggs said. “The success that our teams are currently enjoying has been great.
“In 2017, our football team broke their 33-game losing streak and ended up 4-6 overall,” he said. “This year, they built on that success by going 8-3 and defeated Morrisville State, 56-48 in the ECAC James Lynah Bowl, a game that we hosted.
“Andrew DiDonato, a former Wolverines quarterback, is our head coach and I’ve learned so much from him.,” Briggs said. “He always said, ‘each of us needs all of us’ and it’s really easy to understand why he’s the architect of our turnaround.”
He said sports information is no longer about the Xs and Os or reporting of the scores.
“Yes, the Xs and Os, the strategy and everything about the game is important,” he said. “But the people, their physical gifts as well as a culture and being a part of something is equally important.”
The landscape has changed since he took over the reins in 2002 and reaching people through social media has become very important.
“There is greater engagement with people through social media,” Briggs said. “There’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, among others and you can track the amount of views on the website. You always wonder whether people care? The answer is a resounding yes.”