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Alumni Spotlight: Ryan Menley
Ryan Menley gradated from VPHS in 1999 and studied English Education at Maryville University. Today, he is the Director of Athletic Communications at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Mo where he is in charge of social media video marketing and acts as game day director for video board productions and live broadcasts of athletic events.
In high school, Menley’s goal after graduating was to become a high school teacher and a coach, but after his first year at Maryville, he fell into an internship with the sports department at KSDK, and his path changed. He landed a full-time job as a sports producer there by his sophomore year of college. In 2002 he moved to St. Joseph and worked for KQTV as the primary sports anchor for eight years.
He still had the desire to work in education, and in 2010, he moved across the street to Missouri Western and was given free reign to start an in-house media and production department for athletics.
“This position was one of the very first of its kind in the country,” says Menley. “It’s now the norm in most NCAA Division 1 athletic departments.”
Menley’s career is highlighted by four Emmy Awards for reporting and storytelling. He also helped raise tens of thousands of dollars for the Make-A-Wish Foundation as a mentor for the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, which specializes in community service.
Menley says that being around the student-athletes and coaches on a daily basis and having the “privilege of telling their stories” is what drives him.
“I’ve never felt like I’ve ever had to work a day in my life.”
Because Athletic Communications is social media-driven, trends change every year, allowing Menley to continue his learning. Keeping up with new ideas and technology is a big part of the job.
“Nothing ever gets stale, and you can’t afford to get complacent,” he advises.
Students interested in Athletic Communications should jump into the industry as soon as they can, according to Menley.
“Get your hands dirty. Take advantage of as many internships as you can. Work as hard as you can. Talk to and learn from as many people as you can and watch what happens.”
Menley says if he could give any advice to his high school self, it would be to relax on the idea of having a plan.
“Don’t stress about having to have your life entirely figured out by 18. The best things sometimes happen by accident, if you work hard and keep your eyes open.”
So what was Menley’s fondest memory of his time at Valley Park?
“I have so many great memories of VP dating back to kindergarten. Valley Park - the community, the school, the people- helped shape me. One of my favorite memories has to be going to the final four in baseball my senior year. That team was so special. Most of us had played together since we were five. It was a great way to cap off high school.”