While most students come to Augustana for the first time as freshmen, starting quarterback Ryan Rubley joined the community this year as a graduate student, pursuing a master of arts degree in sports administration and leadership.
Before joining the team, Rubley played three seasons at the University of Tulsa as quarterback. He appeared in four games and completed seven passes for 92 yards and one touchdown. Due to the rules of eligibility in the Division II league, Rubley is still eligible to play for three semesters as a viking.
“The top three quarterbacks from last year are gone, so there was a need to fill a void that was left by the departure of those individuals,” head coach Jerry Olszewski said of Rubley’s arrival on the team. “The demand for leadership happened immediately.”
While Rubley had plenty of prior game experience, it can be tough to fill the leadership role when joining a new team.
“Being quarterback, I think you’re a leader no matter what—everyone looks up to you,” Rubley said.
Despite the challenge of filling this role, Rubley was able to step in as a team leader more easily with the help of teammates and a supportive coaching staff.
“They took me in,” Rubley said. “The older seniors took me in and showed me the ropes. The transition wasn’t bad at all.”
While the transfer went well, Rubley has had a couple setbacks so far this season, with both an ankle injury and a concussion that took him out of games against Wayne State and Minnesota State.
However, Rubley remains positive and focused on the team’s goals which include beating the University of Sioux Falls, winning the NCIS Championship, and making playoffs.
“We have a lot of goals,” Rubley said. “Coach OJ started off the season by telling us what the goals are—beating USF, winning the key to the city, being conference champs, winning the South and making that playoff game.”
In addition to the team goals, Rubley has set some personal goals for himself, which include trying to lead his teammates to victory.
“The only expectation I have of Ryan is continuing to move our offense and this football team in a positive direction to be the best that we can be,” said Olszewski. “He’s a good human being. He cares about people, and he wants everyone to do well so we just have to make sure that physically he’s doing the right thing, so we achieve the success that we want.”
In addition, Rubley’s leadership role as quarterback extends to his teammates off the field. Freshman quarterback Kyle Saddler got to know Rubley this past summer during training camp and bonded with him over their newfound places on the football team.
“What makes Ryan a good leader is that he has a lot of experience and guys know that they can turn to him if they need help,” Saddler said. “He has his moments where he can be really goofy or serious and mature or whatever he needs to be.”
While Rubley is excited to see the team improve and work to achieve success the rest of the season, his favorite part of playing Augustana football has been getting to know his teammates and getting to hang out with them in his free time.
“The best part has been creating relationships with these guys,” Rubley said. “They are a great group of guys that are all gonna be successful. Now I have 80 new guys I can call up.”
After Rubley completes his time at Augustana, he hopes to move to Los Angeles and pursue a sport agent career.
For now, Rubley will continue to enjoy the Sioux Falls community and his newfound relationships on the football team.