Name: J. Ryan Grizzle
Are you an alumnus of ODU? Yes, B.A. 2004; M.A. 2006
What is your favorite memory of ODU Athletics? There were so many great moments that it is hard to pick just one. I remember sitting court-side for the final ODU Men's Basketball game at Scope against Virginia Tech, the last game at the Field House, and the opening of the Ted against UNC. I traveled to Madison Square Garden with our NIT Final Four Team in 2006. Not to be outdone, I remember sitting at the Bud watching Justin Verlander strike out 16 VCU Rams his junior year.
Why do you support ODU Athletics and its student-athletes? I am an legacy, as my father graduated from ODU as well. Although I wasn't an athlete, scholarships helped me throughout my scholastic career. ODU sporting events were some of the most memorable parts of my six years on campus. Sharing those events with my parents, my siblings, and my friends over the years has been important. I give back to our community and future generations of Monarch leaders so that they can achieve their dreams and reach their goals just as I was given those opportunities when I attended.
What makes you the most proud of ODU? We are a family and can be found everywhere in the world. As an American diplomat, I represent the United States in foreign countries. I spent two years living in Mauritania, which is in West Africa. Upon my arrival, I would wear my ODU gear on a regular basis. I was approached by several Mauritanians who asked if I went to ODU. When I told them I had they informed me that they had Masters degrees from ODU as well thanks to the Fulbright program, one of the State Departments oldest educational exchange programs. For the rest of my time there we hosted football and basketball watch parties, sometimes at midnight or later due to the time difference to share American sports and our Monarch pride with other locals who have never been to the United States.