NATCHITOCHES – For Ryan Hall, moving from an NAIA school to a Division I department is a large change.
Hall’s appointment Tuesday as Northwestern State’s new Assistant Athletic Director for Development brings him to an area that, at its heart, is very similar to the one he is leaving.
“As a current athletic director at a smaller university, I have consistently worn many different hats each day,” said Hall, who has spent the past two-and-a-half years as the athletic director at Mayville State in North Dakota. “One constant for success, however, is understanding how vital the importance of financial support and tradition are for athletics within a tight-knit community. When I came to visit Northwestern State, that passion, loyalty and commitment was evident and shined brightly with everyone I had the pleasure of meeting.”
During Hall’s Mayville State tenure, he developed the first athletic sponsorship program at the university, which netted $330,000 and instituted the first Athletic Day of Giving for Mayville State, an event that has raised more than $140,000 for the school’s athletic department.
Additionally, Hall was instrumental in the creation and implementation of the White Hat Club for Mayville State alumni, the first sport-specific alumni club at the school.
“We are thrilled to welcome Ryan and his family to Northwestern State,” Deputy Athletic Director Dr. Haley Taitano said. “He is a proven dynamic leader with a wealth of fundraising experience. His addition to our staff will round out our incredible external team and help us continue to grow much needed private support, specifically through our annual fund and endowed scholarship gifts. I want to thank our Demons Unlimited Foundation Board of Directors for their efforts and support in hiring this position.”
Hall also helped expand the Mayville State brand and gave insight into his position through quarterly emails and the “ADs Corner” show while overseeing an athletic program that earned the NAIA Gold Champions of Character honor three times and saw five of its six programs earn NAIA Scholar Team designations (3.0-plus team grade point average).
Prior to arriving at Mayville State, Hall spent eight years at Benedictine College Preparatory academy in Richmond, Virginia, starting as an associate athletic director before spending the final five years as the athletic director.
While at Benedictine Prep, Hall raised more than $100,000 annually, continuing a trend in his professional career, which began as a sports marketing executive for ESPN 950 in Richmond.
“Fundraising for an athletic program you believe in is very rewarding, and something I always have been successful and passionate about my entire career,” Hall said. “Not only are you raising money in different areas for an athletic department that helps bring out the best in all of our student-athletes, but you get to build wonderful relationships with supporters while seeing their passions unfold before your eyes. Hearing great stories while also understanding what is important to each donor is so authentic and is what builds a great sense of loyalty and commitment to something one can believe in.”
A graduate of both Ferrum College (B.S. in political science) and Virginia Commonwealth University (M. ED in sport leadership), Hall was a four-time Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association state wrestling coach of the year and spend four years as the head soccer coach at Benedictine Prep.
Throughout his career, Hall always eyed joining a Division I athletic department. He now has his chance, pending approval of the University of Louisiana Board of Supervisors, which governs Northwestern State, during its February meeting.
“There is a sense of pride that seems to be contagious within the Northwestern State and Natchitoches community, and that is something I want my family and I to be a part of as I grow my career in development at the Division I level,” Hall said. “I want to thank (Northwestern State Director of Athletics) Mr. (Greg) Burke, Dr. Taitano, the DUF board and all of the department for giving me this opportunity to join an elite team and help improve upon the great work that has already been done within the Demons Unlimited Foundation. I can’t wait to trek south to NSU and get to work right away.”
Photo: Brad Welborn/NSU Sports Information. Head shot provided by Mayville State athletics.