This article can be found in the Winter 2019 edition of the Alumni Magazine.
October 21, 2019
Ryan Nix keeps his cool in a work environment that could easily throw others off their game. As Social Media Content Specialist with the Indianapolis Colts, Nix purposefully avoids acting like a star-struck fan. Nix, a 2017 USF alumnus and former football kicker, sports a view on the inside of the Colts organization; he’s part of the team. Still, some days can feel a little like walking through an NFL commercial.
“You get used to it, but I’ll work out in the facility and coach Frank Reich will be next to me on the treadmill,” Nix said. “Or I’ll pass Andrew Luck in the hallway. I don’t socially interact with the players unless a certain job requires it, but you come across people here and there. And some of the guys are a lot of fun.”
Colts defensive back Kenny Moore II occasionally pops into Nix’s office with a sketchbook and ideas. “Kenny knows football is not forever and he’s interested in graphic design,” Nix said. “I’ve helped some guys grow their personal brands. If they have a camp back home or something like that, I’ll create media and designs for them to share via social media.”
The No. 1 assignment for Nix is to generate a Colts social media buzz.
“I love creating content that excites fans,” Nix said. “The whole goal is to produce engaging content so fans, players and news outlets want to pick it up and share it.”
Nix has found a knack for just that.
Upon earning his degree in communication arts and graphic design with a minor in sports management, Nix landed an internship with the University of Notre Dame football recruiting office. He jumped into the deep end without knowing the depth of the water.
“The guy who hired me left for Louisville two weeks before I got there,” Nix said. “They told me they would ‘have a new guy in here in a couple weeks, it should be fine.’ A couple weeks turned into three months. It was sink or swim, on my own, learning as much as I could. I eventually got a great mentor in Chris Charizopoulos whom I’m still close with.”
After blossoming in his role at Notre Dame, Nix heard Syracuse University was looking to fill a creative spot in its recruiting office. He applied for the job.
“I did this kind of Skype-like interview where I drove a robot through my computer and parked at the end of a large conference room table,” Nix said. “The interview went great and they offered me the job that night.”
Nix wanted to visit Syracuse before making a decision, but once he explored the campus, “I fell in love with the place,” he said. He became the creative director for the football team.
Nix planned to settle in for a long haul at Syracuse, but he heard the Colts were looking to expand their Content Department. Long story short, he landed another new gig.
“I had to make a very, very hard decision to leave Syracuse,” Nix said. “Working for the Colts is a completely different world, but it’s great. At the end of the day, it’s still football. You just don’t deal with recruiting anymore. You’re focusing on the brand entirely—pushing creative boundaries.”
Nix’s meteoric rise in the sports marketing world can be attributed to his significant talent and skill, and his background in sports helped. Nix was the kicker for USF’s first NAIA national championship in 2016. He holds or shares USF records for point after touchdown (PAT) kicks in a game, season and career, and previously held the record for longest field goal of 44 yards. Gavin Gardner broke that record with a 46-yarder in 2018.
Nix calls his USF experience invaluable and said his understanding of sports culture helped him land his positions with Notre Dame, Syracuse and the Colts.
“This is a booming industry,” Nix said. “NASCAR, The Masters—everybody’s hiring these types of jobs. People are hiring creative thinkers. I have that in me where I see things a little differently. All in all, I’m having a blast being part of such a talented team and respected organization. The creative content we are producing is gaining considerable exposure league-wide and I foresee that continuing in 2019 and beyond.”