Despite growing up in the shadow of
Notre Dame football, Ryan was introduced to Division III at a young
age. His father was a Wabash College graduate, and he still
remembers once being sandwiched in the bleachers by a small, yet
boisterous, crowd in the visitors' section at Albion College in
Michigan. That was nearly two decades ago; amid proud and energetic
fans, it was his first encounter with D-III football.
Ryan followed his dad's footsteps, enrolling at Wabash and there cultivating his early efforts in journalism as a writer, editor and photographer. Those efforts were accelerated after his career as a cross country and track athlete was ended by recurring leg injuries. He graduated in 2000 and went on to work at metropolitan newspapers in Indiana and eastern Virginia, finally deciding to settle down on a small farm in Southwest Virginia with my wife, a Ferrum College alumna.
Ryan is now D3football's Mid-Atlantic columnist, have worked on all but one of the preseason Kickoff publications, have been on the air and behind the camera on championship Saturday in Salem and have taken photos at the Final Four for D3hoops. he's also a member of the American Copy Editors Society, the Football Writers Association of America and the selection staff for the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year award.
Traveling around the East Coast has, in just a short time, connected him with dozens of fans, players and coaches. He's also been in my native Indiana to see the Monon Bell rivalry game between Wabash and DePauw each of the past 12 seasons. But no matter where he's landed on a given Saturday, the fact that programs at this level emphasize the "student" as well as the "athlete" makes him appreciate what he does and why these students take the field.