By Noah Gurzenski
Early on a Thursday morning, in a Mount Vernon apartment near a Ford dealership, Walmart and Chipotle, an alarm clock buzzed, waking Ryan Rosen ’14. While Kenyon students have their earliest classes at 8:10 a.m., Rosen’s role as a volunteer assistant coach for the Kenyon football team requires that he be on campus by 7:45.
A decorated player for the Lords, Rosen garnered Second-Team All-North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) honors last season, in addition to representing his school and country in the 2013 Tazón de Estrellas (Bowl of the Stars) in Monterrey, Mexico, a game between non-scholarship American football players and an all-star team of Mexican football players. A pre-med student at Kenyon, Rosen considered a job in the medical field before choosing to serve as a volunteer assistant for Lords football.
“During senior week last year, [Head Football] Coach [Chris] Monfiletto asked me to stop by the office and told me that they needed another assistant coach, and asked if I was interested,” Rosen wrote in an email to the Collegian.
“I had an interview later that day for a hospital job in Cincinnati and I told him I would think about it,” Rosen said. “ The job interview went well, but they wanted me to start the job the Monday immediately following graduation, so I passed. About a month later, I told [Monfiletto] that I was interested and wanted to make it happen.”
While Rosen worked during the summer in order to save up for the apartment, he knew his volunteer position would be especially draining economically, as he receives no compensation for his services.
“I spoke to my parents about it, told them it was something I really wanted to try, and they agreed to assist me financially if I was doing something to further my medical application,” he wrote. “So I applied to volunteer at Knox Community Hospital, and found a doctor to shadow, and they helped me with rent.”
Most mornings, after showering and preparing a breakfast of eggs and Greek yogurt, Rosen packs his lunch and snacks for the day. It’s 6:30 a.m. at this point, and Rosen’s apartment-mate Reed Franklin ’14, a part-time assistant coach for the team, has also woken by now.
The recipient of an All-NCAC Honorable Mention in his senior season, Franklin says his brief stint coaching for Kenyon last spring and the team culture Monfiletto promotes, drew him to the position.
“The football team and the culture that has developed over my four years here has become very important to me,” Franklin wrote in an email. “I was really excited about the things Coach Monfiletto and his staff were doing here and it was something that I wanted to continue to surround myself in.”
When Monfiletto asked Franklin to help with coaching during the team’s 2014 spring practices, he took a liking to the work immediately. “After working with the players and the coaches during that time, I knew it was something that I truly wanted to continue to be a part of in some capacity,” Franklin said.
While Franklin begins showering and preparing breakfast, Rosen brews coffee and dresses in a Kenyon football polo and khakis. After Franklin gets dressed and packs his lunch, the two each grab a cup of coffee and head to the Kenyon Athletic Center to begin their workday with the rest of the coaching staff.
Rosen and Franklin sometimes work as many as 12 hours a day, generally not leaving campus until around 7 p.m. But the chance to be around the sport they love, develop themselves as coaches and help guide athletes makes each day worthwhile.
“Yes, I do work long hours everyday and, yes, I have very little income from the position, but at the same time I am getting great experience, and I get to be around a sport and people I care a lot about,” Franklin wrote.
Similarly, Rosen wrote, “I’ve been having a great time working as a coach. I love football, and it’s great to be around the game, to feel the competitiveness and the fire. I know a lot about the game, and now I’m trying to use that knowledge to help younger guys become better players.”
While the Lords are off to an 0-2 start, Rosen and Franklin’s return to the program alludes to the idea that Kenyon football is about more than wins and losses; it’s about creating a culture that attracts prospective students and Kenyon alumni alike.
“I came back to Kenyon to coach because I love the players and the program,” Rosen wrote. “I want to remain a part of Kenyon football, because we are building something truly special.”