Spotlight On: Ryan McNamee, Cornell Football

Ryan McNamee
Director of Football Operations
Cornell Football
Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Education: Gettysburg College
Official bio
Twitter: @ryanmcnamee

Name one go-to resource (or two or three) that helps you with your duties.

Spotify – I’ve added DJ responsibilities to my resume and use Spotify playlists during practice, meetings and pre/post game in the locker room. Also use in the car and on my phone when working out or sampling music for future playlists/hi-lite videos.

If you could go back to your first day on the job and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

Focus on the things you can control and prioritize tasks.
WIN Philosophy = What’s Important Now!

Name one new thing you want to accomplish this year.

Produce a pre-game hype video from scratch. I’ve contributed to many in my career behind the scenes, but excited for the challenge to create it from behind the lens!

Best career or work advice you ever received.

“It’s nice to be important, but more important to be nice.” – Andy Talley

First event, person, or job that sparked your interest in this field of work.

In the summer of 2004, I was coaching outside linebackers as a Graduate Assistant coach at Gettysburg College (my alma mater) and had just finished working a high school football camp up in Syracuse, New York. I introduced myself to Mark Ferrante (current head coach @Villanova), who was also working the camp, and he invited me to work the Villanova Football Camp later that summer. Long story short, Villanova filled their restricted earnings position that I was a candidate for, but little did I know they were also looking to create a new position for someone who had coaching experience but would have more of a role in recruiting, academics, community service and operations. When I was talking with Coach Talley about the position during our first encounter, we connected. I felt so comfortable during our conversation that I took his phone out of his hand while we were exchanging contact info and proceeded to plug my contact information into his cell for him. The rest is history!

Tell us a story of the most unusual, craziest, or unexpected thing that has happened during your tenure in operations and how you handled it. Or perhaps this is another way of looking at it: What is the most creative or innovative thing you’ve had to do to address a specific incident or situation?

Since 2011, I’ve been afforded the opportunity to address the team prior to our road games and give them a little “Ops Intel” to answer the question, “Where are we going?” prior to the team departing for our road game. I started out preparing the presentation using power point slides, but then it morphed into a much bigger production with the addition of video, music and various wardrobes, along with just the right touch of humor to bring the message to life. The point of the meeting is to give the team a boost and loosen them up a little prior to locking in on our opponent for the Final 48 or 24 hours before kickoff!

I started off basically writing and creating the material and another staff member would present the material at the team meeting. After two years, that staff member became a full time coach, which allowed me the opportunity to not only create the material, but also present it to the team. I have a five minute or less time frame to get my message across. Sometimes, I get ideas weeks in advance and add to my presentation along the way. Other times, I get an idea the night before and make a quick adjustment last minute to make it just right. It’s a tremendous honor to have the trust and confidence of the head coach and staff to be able to address the team. In operations, we do so much for the team behind the scenes, it’s typically very limited that we are able to get in front of the team and speak in terms of motivation and preparation, as opposed to just logistics and schedules.

Talk about a project or effort you’re working on or a group or organization that you’re working with (either inside or outside of your operations function) that is near and dear to your heart.

Since 2004, I’ve had the opportunity to organize and promote the “Get in the Game. Save a Life” program. It’s a great volunteer based program that not only gives back to the community but also teaches your team how to work together to help others and potentially save lives in the process.

“Get in the Game. Save a Life” is a program designed to educate college football players and their peers about the ability to save the lives of people diagnosed with life-threatening blood cancers through marrow and stem cell transplants. Each spring, Get in the Game football teams from across the county host donor registry drives to raise awareness for and grow the Be The Match Registry® with committed members from their campus communities.

A joint initiative that started between The Andy Talley Bone Marrow Foundation and Be The Match in 2008, “Get in the Game. Save a Life” is a program that boasts the help of almost 80 college football programs nationwide. Together, the Get in the Game family has registered over 71,000 donors, resulting in 306 transplants.


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