Spotlight On: Ryne Nicholson, UAB Football

Ryne Nicholson
Director of Football Equipment
University of Alabama-Birmingham Football
Hometown: Hendersonville, Tennessee
Education: University of Tennessee
Official bio
Twitter: @ryneuab

What do the first two hours of your day look like? 

I usually will get to the office and get finished laundry out from the day before and then head to our morning staff meeting.  After that, I will start my day by finishing tasks that we lay out here, depending on urgency.

Name one go-to resource that helps you with your duties.

I have found that the best resource within this field are the people.  Equipment managers are a bunch of great people and we love what we do. We like things that are cool and included in that category is gear, working practices and games, traveling and networking with other equipment managers.  The wheel is one of the oldest inventions and we have only enhanced the wheel over the years.  That is how this job works, to me at least.  I am trying to enhance my operations as efficiently as I can.  That is why I reach out to people in higher and lower conferences.  How they operate can only enhance ways that you operate, depending on your resources.

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

I would tell myself that working college football is a marathon and not a sprint. I have developed that mindset since being promoted in May 2017.

Name one new thing you want to accomplish within the next year?

I want to enhance our inventory system and overturn old gear and equipment.

As you look at the athletic operations field, what is one area that is growing/changing the most?

One thing that is changing quickly within the equipment industry is how fast equipment is being introduced in the market.  Every year, it seems like there are several different types of helmets and shoulder pads that are the best there has ever been.

Best career or work advice you ever received.

Take the educated risk.  Risks have to be taken when trying to accomplish your career dream, because everything doesn’t go according to plan.  I graduated from graduate school in May 2016 and moved home to Hendersonville, Tennessee.  I was working in Parks & Rec and didn’t enjoy my job.  I missed college athletics incredibly and knew the only way to get a full time position  was to take an internship. I took the educated risk by accepting UAB’s football internship offer in May of 2017.  Since then, I have been promoted twice and living out my dream of working in college football.

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

The event that sparked my interest in this field was my first ever game in Neyland Stadium (November 27, 1999). My best friend, Chad McDaniel, and his dad Mark took me to my first ever Tennessee Volunteer football game.  From the day forward, my dream school was the University of Tennessee, because I grew up being a Tennessee fan.  I always wanted to run through the “T” — and I was able to accomplish that 13 times while at Tennessee.  My job and network allowed me to have the path I have had so far.

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. 

During the 2018 season, our projector broke while we were setting it up for halftime (during the 1st quarter).  My intern, Logan Harbin, radioed me and told me what happened. The projector has some age to it so we weren’t able to get bulbs at any local store.  With that, our Video Coordinator, Jesse Hallford, found one of our policemen and escorted him back to our facility to retrieve another projector.


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