Onward: An interview with Ryan Beckner

MINOT, N.D. – Minot State University’s Ryan Beckner puts his sports management degrees to work daily for the Beavers.

Beckner, who joined MSU in 2021 as the coordinator of athletic operations, has since risen to assistant athletic director for internal operations. His academic qualifications include a bachelor’s degree in sport management with a minor in business administration from the University of Southern Mississippi and a master’s in kinesiology & recreation — sports management from Illinois State.

The Texas native grew up in Georgia but considers San Antonio, Texas, his hometown.

Minot State’s University Communications sat down with Beckner, who shared insights about his journey to Minot State and shed light on the various responsibilities of internal ops.

Where did you earn your degree(s), and how did those set you up for your current position at Minot State?
RB: I received my bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2017 and my master’s degree from Illinois State University in 2021. My master’s program, specifically, required collaboration in group projects consistently. My current position at MSU involves a lot of group discussions and planning with our coaches and administrative team, so I believe the collaborative skills I developed in graduate school help me in this role daily.

How long have you worked at MSU, and what are some of the titles you have held?
RB: I started at MSU on May 17, 2021. From that date until the beginning of April 2023, I was the Coordinator of Athletic Operations. In April of last year, I was promoted to Assistant Athletic Director for Internal Operations.

What all does the assistant AD for internal operations do; what areas are you in charge of?
RB: I would say a few of my main job responsibilities include providing daily oversight of the athletics budget, overseeing payroll and human resources functions in the department, scheduling staff for all of our gamedays and events, and working as the liaison with other departments on campus such as the Business Office and Facilities Management.

Was athletic administration something you’ve always been interested in, and, if not always, was there something that you got to do or something that happened that made you decide this was an area you could see yourself working in?
RB: Athletics was the career path I wished to pursue back when I was first looking for colleges with sport management bachelor’s programs. It was when I worked my first practicum as an undergraduate in the Southern Miss Athletics Eagle Club (fundraising division) that I realized I enjoyed the administrative side of intercollegiate athletics. I always appreciated the concept that administrative teams in athletics do their best with the resources they have to improve the overall departmental and student-athlete experience.

Athletics is fast-paced and always changing. How do you adapt to that aspect, and is that something you enjoy?
RB: I definitely enjoy the fast-paced environment that intercollegiate athletics brings. The changes that happen constantly bring new challenges to overcome, and that makes the job exciting. Plus, I love that, as administrators, we support a wide variety of athletic teams; through this support, you build many relationships.

There have been a lot of changes during your time in athletics. Tell me about how you’ve adapted to a couple of new bosses and new ways of doing business.
RB: Whenever there is a change in leadership, that can bring feelings of uneasiness or uncertainty. However, I just stay the course, do my absolute best, and control what I can control. New leaders have their visions, and I do my best to support those visions. 

Do you have a favorite memory during your time at Minot State?
RB: There are a couple. Traveling to Boston, Massachusetts, with our men’s and women’s hockey teams for the 2023 ACHA National Tournament in March was a great experience. Our men’s team won it all, and our women’s team made it all the way to the championship game. Also, I traveled with our men’s and women’s cross country teams to Sturgis, South Dakota, for their preseason retreat this past August. We did a lot of fun activities, and I also got to hear directly from them on what drives each of them to keep running. 

What do you like to do outside of work: family, hobbies, or other areas of interest?
RB: So, outside of work, I enjoy exercising (whether that’s running or weightlifting), traveling, watching sports, cooking, hiking, listening to music, playing basketball and golf, and hanging with family and friends. I will also never miss out on an opportunity to get to the beach when I travel.

What else are we missing when telling your story?
RB: Maybe just that I am an only child. I am also now living in my sixth state. I grew up playing and watching sports since I can remember, so being in a professional setting in athletics feels like a natural transition for me as I grew into adulthood. I also hope to have a beachside home in California someday.

About Minot State University
Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.

Published: 05/17/24   

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