How's this sound for a help wanted ad?
Employee sought for position with no salary, no benefits, long hours, no guarantee of future promotions or even employment, and if you slip up in the smallest manner you could find yourself getting chastised by your superiors.
Oh, it is also a requirement for you to be a college graduate.
Sound good to you?
It did to Ryan Sims nearly four years ago, and on Tuesday his dedication to that job finally paid off handsomely.
The Snider High School graduate earned a promotion from director of basketball operations with the IPFW men's basketball program to assistant coach.
He replaces former assistant coach Dan Bere, who recently accepted a position with the men's basketball program at Butler University.
“This is a big step,” Sims said. “In the beginning, I told myself that this was going to be a struggle, but in the end, it would pay off. I'm so grateful that this happened, but along the way it's been a lot of hard work.”
It's been a long time, as well.
After finishing his basketball playing career at the University of Indianapolis in 2009, Sims joined the Mastodon staff on a volunteer basis under former IPFW coach Dane Fife in January of 2010. He helped out in any capacity that he was allowed for a few months, but then Fife left that spring for a position with Michigan State and Sims didn't know where his professional fate would take him.
“When Coach Fife left, it was immediately 'Who is going to be the next coach,'” Sims recalled. “Am I done here already? Is (Tony Jasick) going to move in? Is he going to keep me?
"From there, I learned about the business (of coaching). From that point on, I just had to work my butt off because coaches get fired and coaches change. I just worked my butt off to get where I want to be and thankfully, Coach Jasick kept me around.”
Jasick kept Sims around, but not just for show. The new IPFW head coach delegated a lot of responsibility to Sims and he promoted him into a graduate assistant manager position that had a small stipend to help him financially. That role later changed to director of basketball operations.
“Ryan earned the opportunity to be in the conversation for the position,” Jasick said. “His commitment to IPFW, his commitment to our student-athletes, and his commitment to our staff and what we are doing is going to be a huge asset.”
Sims not only brings a wealth of knowledge to the position from a basketball standpoint, but also can connect with coaches throughout the area, who are familiar with him from his playing days, as well as his being the son of former Snider coach Ray Sims.
Sims' father always advised him that if indeed he were going to get into coaching, it should be at the collegiate level, and what he has learned from both Fife and Jasick has reinforced Sims' belief that he is where he wants to truly be – despite the long journey to get there.
“The number one thing that I've learned from (Fife and Jasick) is how much they care about their players,” Sims said. “How are they doing in the classroom? How are they doing outside of basketball? When you are a player, the main thing you see is when the coaches are coaching on the court. With Fife and Jasick they really care.”
Sims also learned a hard lesson during his time under Fife, which was not to take the coach literally.
“He told the team one time that they had Saturday off, so I took Saturday off and stayed home,” Sims explained. “He called me and asked me where I was. Just because the players had the weekend off, the coaches didn't. So I hurried back over to the office to get to work.”
It proved to be just another step and lesson learned by a young coach on an unpredictable, yet so far successful, path.
Peckinpaugh comes home
In addition to Sims' promotion, Jasick also announced the hiring of former IPFW forward John Peckinpaugh to replace Sims in the position of Director of Basketball Operations.
“When you start making a list of guys who are committed to IPFW basketball,” Jasick explained, “who have laid it on the line, I don't know if there is anybody out there who has done that more than John.”
Peckinpaugh finished his career with the Mastodons in the spring of 2012 and spent this past season as an assistant coach with Indiana Tech.
That experience was very beneficial to Peckinpaugh, and weighed significantly with Jasick.
“We've kept in close contact over the past year and going to a place like Indiana Tech and working for a guy like (Warrior coach Al Grushkin), John was fortunate to get his hands in a lot of areas,” Jasick said. “That experience will serve him really, really well.”