Calling courageous post-collegiates! Our interview series has been so popular, it’s going to be a regular blog feature! Want to nominate a courageous post-collegiate to be featured (including yourself)? Email postcollegiateblog [at] gmail [dotcom]
There are sports fans. And then there are sports FANS. And then there’s Bryan Jones. This week’s featured post-collegiate is, like Daniel, a friend from N.S.C.A.R. and living the career dream for a sports broadcasting fanatic. Bryan, affectionately known as Beej, was nice enough to take a few minutes to talk about his experiences in college and what led him to his current job at the Guilford College Athletic Department.
Bryan Jones (right) in 2008
You’ve read the blog, you know the deal. Share a little bit about your background with our readers.
In 1999 (my 15th birthday no less), I began an insane ride that would be my walk in Christ. In one year, my youth group, the Whobodies, gave me a gimmick: Beej. Cool…one of those high school nicknames…sweet! Nope. Not only does it still live today, it’s even strong and more widespread than it was in high school. Through Elon and even work, this gimmick stood the test of time.
I am the Sports Marketing Coordinator in the Guilford College Athletic Department. I am in charge of getting money for Guilford Athletics through corporate partnership, run my marketing inventory, and create fan affinity for the Quakers. I have practically no life from late August to the end of April with an off weekend or two in between. Oh yeah, Thanksgiving and Christmas…I have that off, too. I get a good amount of time off for Christmas. A lot of people in college athletics only get 3 to 5 days off for it. I get about 10 days.
Many say I still know how to act young. The truth is, socially, as I have gotten older, I feel younger. I’m not breaking down physically like some at this age. Dare I say, I’m getting stronger in faith and physically day by day. I am still in the Children of the American Revolution after a great 5-year career as a member on the National Board. Yet, I am having more fun as a senior on the senior national board…because the Law Firm is taking over…period.
Since 1999, the Whobodies (the youth group at my church) have been my life. Though the landscape has dramatically changed since I graduated (and most of it was not for the better), they are still my family in Christ. After three years of being a counselor and even though I am STILL the youngest counselor by a decade, I am the traditionalist now. What a crazy story.
I am the craziest man in Greensboro, NC. I’m Bryan Jones: Beej.
Truer words have never been spoken! As long as I’ve known you, you’ve been passionate about sports? What was your initial plan when you graduated from Elon?
Sports broadcasting was my thing going out of college. I took the job at Guilford and I thought I was going to steal the show and make things right broadcasting wise. (I had been there part time for 3 years doing men’s basketball and then the final year of that I added men’s and women’s
lacrosse.) I thought I’d be there for 2 years and then I’d get back to Division I and move on. I thought I’d be solely in broadcasting by now and there wouldn’t be much else let in my life that would be getting in the way.
Most importantly, I didn’t think I’d have to worry too much about Elon. I was glad to graduate – I needed it. I was going insane in my final semester to a point where I was going to seclude myself for the end.
Beej in 2009 - checking stats and not Facebook (allegedly!)
In the three years since you’ve graduated, what things have you done that you didn’t expect to do?
I never thought I’d be able to survive past two years where I am now. Broadcasting has taken a slight back seat at my job, but it is still part of my inventory and I can still run a good broadcast.
Most importantly, I’m developing a loyalty I don’t think I’ll ever get out of – this is a good thing! I can see myself being at Guilford forever because while it is a highly stressful job, I can have a life for about four months out of the year. Plus, while I may want to completely strangle my boss sometimes, he’s a guy I really want to work for. Plus, really, I haven’t built anything long lasting yet. That is JUST beginning.
What’s amazing is what’s happening outside the job. I’ve developed a legacy in the Whobodies and it developed just recently. I almost quit twice in the first year, but that got me real thick skinned. I struggle with being myself sometimes because if I am myself, I might get kicked out or in jail. My 8 summer trips leads everybody (since our long time guy decided to step back for a while) and I’m the one telling the kids that when they graduate, it isn’t the end. This bond we have in Christ carries us forever. Friends are Friends forever if the Lord’s the Lord of them.
C.A.R. has been incredibly insane. Our super group, the Law Offices of Wanke, Bianchi, Jones, and Associates (The Best. Fake Law Firm. Ever. – Ed. note: This is a truth fact.) is taking over C.A.R. with 7 Law Firmers are on the Senior National Board. Even more amazing….not only do the kids love us, it seems like they view us as friends and not the adults. We are who we are and we’re not changing that because we’re in our mid to late 20s. I’m humbled I can STILL be a big part of the member national board’s life.
Being in your mid-20s, what are some things you want to do but haven’t had a chance to yet?
At work, I want to be myself. I haven’t been that at Guilford. At times, I have been an extremely uptight and angry person. Amazing moments at Guilford have been some of my most painful moments. That’s not supposed to happen. What is supposed to happen is my no shame attitude will help me get success. I think that is really starting to happen.
With the Whobodies, it was bring back the Alumni, but I did that just last week. A lot of the Alums were alienated in 2004 when the youth leader at the time resigned, but rough times were coming. The hiring process was poorly done and the youth leader that came as a result was much maligned
as was the church. Since that point, there were no alumni relations in the church until last week when we brought some of the alums back together. It’s not done yet, but we’re getting there.
In C.A.R….once one of us gets to be a Sr. State President, there will be a sense of completion. I know Adam Bartow wants Maine and I want North Carolina in 2012. Will that happen? I don’t know. It depends on the job and other folks. Yet, it’s not truly over until the Law Firm is DIRECTLY CALLING THE SHOTS IN C.A.R. Watch your back! (Don’t worry, we don’t play politics at the Law Firm.)
You’ve had some good fortune in terms of parlaying your experience with Guilford during college into a full-time career. What are some challenges you’ve faced since graduating?
Being myself while not getting myself in trouble is a very hard thing to do. I am naturally loud, offensive, and emotional (every emotion). A lot of the stuff I did in the Whobodies from 1999-2003 doesn’t fly anymore and if I tried it, I might be in jail. However, for a little while, I was in this limbo to where I clammed up and was really nothing but a normal person. Yet, I’ve
found that peace and I am still Beej…I’m just not getting naked with the fellas anymore and making insane jokes with the ladies.
I’ve had issue with emotion at work, too. Sad thing is, when I’m a victim of something, I make it worse by getting really angry. Arguably, I blew it at the NCAA First and Second Rounds and I nearly quit. At the Final Four, we had technical difficulties that were behind my control and I was on the verge of exploding…and I kinda did towards a Williams fan. We lost that game and I couldn’t get out of Salem, VA quick enough to get to Camp Cheerio with the Whobodies.
Random happenstance is a continual theme on this blog – our friendship is a great example of that! What are some other examples of random happenstance in your life?
Getting this job was random in a way. I was just trying to get something and by staying close to the VP, I got this job and I was the first to take it.
The best random thing has been the last year in C.A.R., I just keep on making new friends in the member board and I don’t know why. At the New England Regional, two of the state presidents just sat next to me. I tried to get them involved and they just made fun of me and then I knew
that they were gonna be ladies with a sense of humor I’d like. They were 10 years younger than me…yet they wanted to hang out with me like I was that cool 18-year old. I did hardly anything. I now have two friends that I’m so happy to have. What’s crazy is that is maybe the sixth time I’ve randomly made friends like this in C.A.R. as a senior…but this one is the one that comes out of left field the most.
If you could go back to your graduation day, what would you tell yourself?
LIGHTEN THE bleep UP BEEJ!!!!!
I was generally uptight at Elon after my Freshman year because I was too career oriented. I am actually more fun to be around now that I was when I was 20, 21, 22. I even legitimately scared some people at times.
At times, I hated my senior year. I wanted out of Elon at the end. Oddly enough, when I first came back, I missed it far more than I use to and I go back to Elon far more often than I expected. Most all the people I went to school with have graduated now, but since I’ve drastically loosened up socially, I have friends that go there. Thank you AXP!
Since I know we’ll still be BIFFCARS when this day arrives, where do you think you’ll be at 30?
Who knows what I’ ll be like at 30? Who knows where I’ ll be at when I’ m
30!?!? Truthfully, being here in Greensboro is good for me. I am North
Carolinian and proud of it. Fame doesn’t do much for me anymore. I don’t
need to fight too hard for six-figures because it doesn’t matter too much. I
have something established and I don’ t feel like resetting yet. I might, but
let’ s not mess this up…at least not yet.
Me with Daniel and Beej in April 2010 (Click photo to read Dan's Post-Collegiate Profile)
Many thanks to Beej for sharing his experiences with us! Beej is not on Twitter, although I think a persuasive Facebook group could change that. As always, feel free to leave additional questions in the comments section – Beej would love to hear from you!