Senior Spotlight: Ryan Figert

The self-proclaimed “voice of Trinity sports” is a fixture of Tiger Network as a sports commentator.

“I mean, it was almost out of necessity.”

That’s what Joshua Moczygemba, Sports Marketing Coordinator and co-producer of Tiger Network, had to say about a move made just over three years ago that put then-first-year Ryan Figert behind the microphone to commentate on soccer games for Trinity University.

“I didn’t have a clue what I was going to do at all. I thought I was going to be a psychology major, then I took Intro to Psych after taking AP Psych in high school, and I was just so bored,” Figert said.

Coming in, commentary was never a part of the plan. Figert, hailing from Rockwall, Texas, was a member of the incoming Trinity soccer recruiting class back in 2018 that, according to him, was made up of over twenty players.

Some members of this group were redshirted, and Figert was among them. With Tiger Network in need of extra assistance, and Figert not suiting up to play in games, he filled the role of cameraman, one that afforded him the opportunity to still be around the team often.

Not long after Figert stepped behind the camera, a role involving the headset unexpectedly opened up. Even without experience, Figert’s name was the one suggested to fill the vacancy.

Although Fugert initially had no intention of getting into broadcasting, he took the job seriously from the get-go.

“I think [the role became serious] from the start, honestly. I didn’t want to make a fool of myself on the mic, but I think when we got to the postseason, that first year, we had SCAC Tournament and NCAA Tournament and the occasion kind of levels up. I learned how to do better prep notes […] taking advice from people — like Callum [Squires] and Josh — who knew what they were doing,” Figert said.

Figert continued in his commentating role that year even after the soccer season concluded, moving on to call basketball games that winter. In the following spring, he continued to work out with the soccer team, but eventually, a decision was made: put down the ball and stick with the mic, and with that, his career as a player was over, but in commentating it was just beginning to blossom.

Moczygemba laid out all the things that changed in Figert when the decision was made. He began coming to the Tiger Network broadcast room in the middle of the day, asking for copies of games he had called, reviewing himself, doing what he could to be better prepared for games, like conducting research on opponents.

When Trinity hosted National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) soccer regionals several years ago, Figert even pushed to interview the participating teams and their head coaches to have film to play at halftime of those games.

“Those were all things that were appreciated by the audience, but also [the] hard work that he put in,” Moczygemba said.

Even when the world hit pause and sports went on hiatus due to the pandemic, Figert was looking to improve his craft according to Moczygemba advice.

“The one thing I was advocating to all of our students that have an interest in doing this beyond their time here at Trinity: reach out to those that you aspire to be like … and so he reached out to various people and actually made contact with Arlo White,” Moczygemba said.

White, NBC’s play-by-play commentator for English Premier League broadcasts in the United States, offered to aid Figert by critiquing his commentary on games he had previously called for Trinity, according to Moczygemba.

Figert, who has always been learning and growing himself, has also played a role in getting others involved. This includes Brian Yancleson, who has become a staple of Trinity baseball, football and volleyball broadcasts while also dabbling in soccer and basketball.

“He was just so nice to me and welcomed me. I wasn’t sure when to interject, when to say things, and so at the beginning, he would kind of prep things [and say,] ‘Hey, I’m going to talk about this, and you can bring in a comment,’” Yancelson said.

Much like Figert, Yancelson never really considered broadcasting before he got started.

“I’ll definitely say that I had never really considered broadcasting, but it wasn’t until I saw and heard Ryan do it, and then until he welcomed me in, that I now see it as a potential career, potential opportunity. I don’t know for sure, but I would have never even thought about it without him. So he’s definitely been an inspiration, and I’ll thank him forever for it,” Yancelson said.

For Figert, however, commentating seems to be a decided aspect of his life.

“It’s an extension of my love for the game. I’ve come to love calling games, and it’s my whole career. I mean, I want to make this into something. … It’s what I love and what I hope to do,” Figert said.

For four years, Ryan Figert has been part of a team that has worked to provide a service to the Tiger community. He points to Trinity, Tiger Network and Moczygemba for helping him along the path that he finds himself on. But as a staple within a team that is reliant on each other, Figert has become a cornerstone of Tiger Network, one that has contributed effectively to defining its culture.