Q&A With Kenosha Kingfish’s Ryne Goralski: Sport Management Alumnus of the Year
Kenosha, Wis.- Ryne Goralski, the current General Manager of the Kenosha Kingfish, has been named the 2023 UW-Parkside Sport Management Alumnus of the Year Award. Goralski is being recognized for success in his field as well as his contributions back to the program. Goralski is from West Bend, WI and graduated from the UW-Parkside Sports Management program in 2016.
Associate Professor of Sport Management and Chair of the HKSM Department, Bill Miller says that Goralski is a model UW-Parkside sports alumnus. "We are honored to name Ryne as our 2023 UW-Parkside Sport Management Alumnus of the Year as he truly embodies the spirit of the award. He is the General Manager of the Kenosha Kingfish, a revered local institution, that was once again one of the most attended summer college baseball teams throughout the country in 2023,” Miller explained.
Miller also stated that Goralski is an active member of the community. “Ryne is active in the Kenosha community, and he also pays it forward to the UW-Parkside sport management program and our students by offering internships along with participating in class visits and other campus activities. Our sport management program is fortunate to have a deep pool of successful alumni in a variety of career fields. Ryne is truly a unique asset in our local community, and we are excited to name him as the 2023 UW-Parkside Sport Management Alumnus of the Year."
Since 2017, the UW-Parkside sport management program has honored many of its successful alumni by giving them the UW-Parkside Sport Management Alumnus of the Year Award. The award was created by the UW-Parkside sport management program to commemorate the outstanding accomplishments and ongoing expressions of support for the program by its various alumni throughout the world.
Goralski is appreciative of the award and the support he has received from the university in his career. He credits Miller and the program for providing him with practical skills and experience that have enabled him to succeed and achieve the level of success that he has reached. His persistence, work ethic, and ingenuity have served him well. Goralski serves the community by providing opportunities for learning to others.
Q: What does it mean to you to receive this award?
RG: It means a great deal to me. I have had a tremendous amount of help along the way from so many people, many of whom are folks I met at UWP. It's really a credit to all the people that believed in me and pushed me to this career path. I am extremely grateful to the University and the program, without The University of Wisconsin-Parkside I would not be in this position. To be recognized by a place I consider home is humbling and something I will forever cherish.
Q: How did UW-Parkside help prepare you for your current role?
RG: I had so many great people help me while I was enrolled at UWP, professors, classmates, coaches, and friends. I firmly believe that life is about the people you surround yourself with and that is the best asset UWP provided me. Without the help of professor Miller and his staff I would not have gone down this path. The program provided me with real life challenges, we learned to work as a team and present our work in front of our peers. Miller and company challenged us at the end of each presentation with questions you would receive from your superiors at work, something I appreciate now. The university molded me into the man I am today, I learned a ton about myself while in school and applied my experience to my career.
Q: Did you have a faculty mentor, and if so, how did they influence your time at Parkside and/or career?
RG: I ran cross country and track so the biggest mentor I had was my coach, Micah Vandenend. He was such a great leader and pushed me to become a leader, he really saw something in me before I even believed it myself.
Professor Miller also was someone who told me I could run a team someday, and that instilled belief in myself. He had me as a student for several years and I was forgettable in my opinion. I was shocked to learn he felt this way about me, and that gave me the courage to go into sports for my career.
Q: What is your favorite part of your current role?
RG: Working with a team to accomplish our goals, I enjoy the team aspect of my job. We strive to create memories in people's lives and it is a task I do not take lightly.
Q: What is the biggest challenge you face in your current role?
RG: The workforce is changing and we need to adapt. We understand that the cost of labor has gone up significantly and it is a more employee friendly world, there is more freedom and empowerment in employees and employers need to adapt. We need to find new ways to keep our employees engaged and motivated.
Q: What has been the most useful tool for your career that you learned from your major?
RG: Group work and presenting. Working as a team takes a certain set of skills and working together taught me to be patient and more understanding of others. I learned how to lead people by working with others and getting to know how to overcome obstacles. In my industry it is critical to be a great teammate and do things for the betterment of the team.
Q: What was your favorite part of your major and your time at UW-Parkside?
RG: Being able to apply my work to the current landscape of sports. It was always fun to give my opinion on topics related to current events happening in sports. At the end of the day, it was more of a business degree but being able to apply everything we did to sports was a dream come true for someone like me whose life revolves around sports.
Q: What would you tell a person who is considering that same major?
RG: There is so much opportunity in this industry, it really has a ton of different avenues you can go toward. It is a great major to meet people who are like minded and want to help each other grow. The whole major will prepare you for the real world and having the major attached to your resume gives you a great edge in the hiring process.
Q: If you could speak to yourself in college, what advice would you give them?
RG: Be more active in class and participate. Your teachers have a tough job sitting up there and lecturing to a room full of folks looking at their phones or laptops. Be a leader and have the courage to stand up for what you believe in and voice your opinions. Do not waste your time by being late or not showing up and giving your best effort, it is only disrespectful of yourself.
UW-Parkside is proud of Goralski and all of our students who use their acquired skills to improve not only their workplace but their community as well. The sport and fitness industry has grown dramatically over the past 20 years. The need for expertise in sport management has developed into a discipline where specialization exists. Students can equip themselves with advanced level competencies to successfully manage the varied positions, duties, and responsibilities within the sports entertainment industry. Learn more about the sport management program here: https://www.uwp.edu/learn/programs/sportmanagement.cfm