Meet Ryan Hickman ’17, Sports Communication

I was born and raised in Springfield, Illinois. Although going to college was always part of the plan, I wanted to play professional baseball and was very passionate about it. My parents always said that sports could only take you so far, though, so you had to have a backup plan.  Thankfully I had a great inspiration in my life, my grandfather, who was the lead television news anchor in Springfield for 35 years.

I received a scholarship to William Woods to play baseball. I remember on my first visit I was so nervous. I did not know what to think of meeting the coach and taking in my surroundings. But when I was on my way back home, it clicked, and I realized this was the place I wanted to go. All the anxiousness during the visit just went away.

Friends with all athletes
I did the play-by-play on the campus radio station for a lot of the sports teams during my time at William Woods, including volleyball, men’s and women’s soccer, and men’s and women’s basketball. I did not do spring sports though because that was when I was in season. I got to know all the student-athletes really well that way. Sometimes the teams can be like their own fraternities and sororities. But you can break away from that at William Woods. I was able to talk to all the athletes; I did not have to stay in that mindset that I could only talk to baseball players. I met some amazing people with whom I am still friends with today.

I definitely keep in touch with them all. We Snapchat every day and send each other pictures. We have not been able to plan visits yet since we are starting our lives. We are all going to Alumni Weekend though and are excited for that.  Hopefully once we are a little more settled into our post-college lives we will be able to visit more.

Ready for the workforce
When I started at the radio station I work at, Sports Radio 1450 back in Springfield, Illinois, we had to record all the shows we do.  My boss came to me and said you have to use Adobe to do this, and asked if I was familiar with that. I was so excited to say that I was because that was the main program we used in all our classes at William Woods so I was extremely prepared. It was an easy transition for me, and I am really grateful for my time at William Woods and the experience it gave me.

Working in the radio industry
As soon as I graduated I had this job. I had interned at this radio station in high school. When I graduated I went in and asked them if they had an opening. They had a spot and hired me right away. I am also working as a college coach, coaching softball at Robert Morris University in Springfield. It’s crazy to think I went from baseball to softball but it’s a great opportunity.

They two jobs intertwine with each other very much. I will go into the radio station at 5 a.m. for the FM music show. I’m a producer for that. That finishes at ten and I get an early lunch break. Then the softball team has some kind of lifting or a small practice. When I come back from that I usually start editing commercials from the national broadcast, like McDonald’s and Staples. I have to make sure they are ready to use correctly and that they all fit in the right spots. That takes an hour or two and then at 4 p.m., I have my own talk show that I host with some of the other guys. I will usually be done for the day after that at 6 p.m. unless we have a basketball game or some sort of local event that I am working.

My talk show is all sports-related. We talk about local and national sports, it just depends what is going on in the news for the day. There will be times we go from the National Football League (NFL), to Major League Baseball (MLB) to a local high school team.

 Looking back
Discipline is one of the main things that everything at William Woods taught me, both on the athletic and academic side. I made sure I received good grades, and not just good enough to be able to play; I wanted to excel. I think that’s important to always do the best you can at everything. I feel like God put me in the right place in Fulton, Missouri and I am very grateful for that.

I would tell current students to plan ahead and not procrastinate. Students need to be diligent in their work. Sometimes you work hard on the project and you do not get the grade you want, but you have to keep going. When the road gets tough, the tough get going.