By Justin Hoffman
Wren Baker was Athletic Director at RSU from 2006-2011 before making his move to Northwest Missouri State University where he continues to work as the Director of Athletics. Replacing Baker and preparing for an eventful school year, Ryan Bradley is named Rogers State University’s new Athletic Director. What does the Athletic Director do? Bradley describes it as “Wearing many hats.” He gathers fundraising, manages 10 programs, 7 heads coaches, & a staff of 25 people, and wants to help get Claremore identified as a “college town” by the athletic programs.
Being only 29 years old, Bradley has worked for RSU in some capacity. He has held positions such as: Sports Information Director, Assistant Athletic Director, and Associate Athletic Director. Before working for RSU, Bradley had worked for the AAA Memphis Cardinals. When asked if being the youngest athletic director had a positive or negative role on his job Bradley said part of it was that he had worked there for 5 years prior during the leadership of Wren Baker. Baker was young as well, which might have made people more acceptable of the age in that type of leadership role. Ryan Bradley was inspired by his father, Ron Bradley (RSU’s Head Baseball Coach) to move forward in his career. He says the great thing about RSU is that it allows him to be with his family as well as carrying out the responsibilities of his job.
When asked how social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) have their effect on RSU athletics Bradley said he wanted to “use video streaming of every athletics events in order to bring the community together, through the sportsmanship of RSU athletics, and making RSU athletics more accessible to the local community.” Bradley’s vision for RSU sports is “To “PUSH AHEAD” with 4 million dollars for athletic facilities, to Join NCAA Division 2, for 2012. Where does the money come from in order to pay for these new athletic facilities? Bradley said it he didn’t know the exactly specifics of where the money came from, but it`s through the athletic fee that is on every students tuition fee and also through fund-raising. Bradley’s number one goal when he took the job was “to make RSU the best small college athletic program in the state of Oklahoma.”
There has always been the question “Will RSU get a football program?” Bradley shares that “We want to make sure that our athletics all around are structurally set before we move onto tackling a football program. As of now, there are no plans in place right now, to add a football program.” However, Bradley says that they are looking and studying other sports that they might want to add to the RSU athletic program such as Volleyball & Tennis.
When Bradley was asked who his hero is, Bradley replied his Dad, Ron Bradley. He says his father was a great role model to follow, since he was able to balance his sports career with a family life. “When you’re a little kid, it`s the professional athletes, it’s the rock stars, it’s the movie stars, that you look up to. Then when you get older it`s the people that are the closest to you, that have the most impact on your life. Maybe they’re not famous, but those are the people that you realized have a much bigger influence on you then you ever realize. ” Bradley’s advice to the student at RSU: “The importance of education cannot be overestimated” Completing your degree, especially into today’s economy, is important. Find out what you want to do, and go do it.”