Passion in Gophers

every child has a long list of dream jobs. When Marc Ryan, an MSUM mass communications graduate of 1984 was a kid, he, like so many other children, dreamt of working for his favorite sports team, the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers.

Originally from Rosemount, Minn., Ryan chose to attend MSU because of the strong cross country and track & field programs, which were then under the direction of Ron Masanz and Fred Dahnke.

“Ron taught us not only to be champs in track and field, but, more importantly, he taught us how to be champions in life,” Ryan said. “He’s a very influential figure, not only for me, but for all the young men he coached in football and track & field at Moorhead State.”

Marc RyanAnother integral part of Ryan’s decision to attend MSU was because of sports information officer emeritus Larry Scott.

“That was very much a part of my college search,” Ryan said, “to not only find a place where I could continue to run at a very high level, but also have the opportunity to learn from a mentor – one of the best in the business. I definitely found that in Larry Scott.”

Ryan was a part of the mass communications program at MSUM and fondly remembers being in classes taught by Melva Moline. He also wrote for the campus newspaper, The Advocate, as a sports writer.

“I truly enjoyed the opportunity to hone my writing skills, work with a deadline and just to become a better overall writer in writing for The Advocate,” Ryan said. “With everybody, there are certain things that you’re good at and certain things you love, and boy, if you can mesh the two of them, it becomes really powerful. For me, it was sports and writing.”

After continuing his education and graduating with his master’s in sports management from the U of M, Ryan worked at Macalester College in St. Paul as their sports information director and Villanova University in Philadelphia as the assistant sports information director for another two years before being offered a position at the U of M as an assistant sports information director in 1989.
When Bob Peterson, a giant in the sports information world and mentor of Ryan retired in 1994, Ryan became the sports information director at the U of M. Five years later, he had the opportunity to move into an administrative role, eventually leading him to his current position as the senior associate athletics director.

“It’s one of those things that’s just surreal,” Ryan said. “I grew up a Gopher fan, listening to games on the radio, watching them on TV, and watching my brother run out of the football tunnel wearing the maroon and gold. I still pinch myself today.”

Ryan directly oversees 12 of the U of M’s 25 sports teams, including men's and women’s cross country, swimming & diving, indoor track & field, gymnastics, outdoor track & field, baseball and softball. He also coordinates the Golden Gopher Athletics internship program, the Gopher Grad program and is a member of the Big Ten Conference Sports Management Committee.

Twenty-five years, four university presidents and seven athletic directors later, Ryan has gone through many changes with the University of Minnesota, but his passion for the Golden Gophers never wanes.

“I’ve lived the dream of a kid growing up in Minnesota working for the gophers, and I never take that for granted,” Ryan said. “I still get goose bumps when the band plays the Minnesota Rouser and the team is coming out of the field, on the court or on the ice. I got my undergrad from MSU, which I’m really proud of, and I’m equally as proud to say I got my master’s from the U of M. Both places have been really special to me.”

For more information on Marc Ryan, click here. ∎

By: Meghan Feir


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