Throughout the 2017-18 season, U SPORTS sits down with one key athlete, coach, and staff member of each U SPORTS athletic program in our new interview series “Getting to know…”
- Name: Jim McLarty
- School: Ryerson University
- Position: Communications and New Media Coordinator
- Seniority: 11 years
- Previous job/position: Sports and Recreation Information Officer, York University
- Hometown: Tisdale, Sask.
1. How did you get to your current position, and what do you enjoy most about your job?
I was hired in my position as a result of my background in sports communications. After graduating from the University of Regina, I worked as Director of Marketing and Communications for the Saskatchewan Hockey Association, before taking the position of Director of Communications for the Regina Pats hockey club. I moved to Toronto to be with my wife Katharine and started working at York University as Sports and Recreation Information Officer. There was an opening at Ryerson and they called to see if I was interested.
I enjoy working with an amazing team of staff, students, coaches and student-athletes who consistently demonstrate leadership and excellence at Ryerson and in the community.
2. Who has had the most influence on your career?
I have been very fortunate to have had several great colleagues, mentors, coaches and teachers guiding and challenging me over the years. However, my parents have had the most influence on me. I had tremendous support from my family growing up and I’m grateful for everything they have done. My parents are the hardest working people I know and that was instilled in me at a young age. I know my work ethic has contributed greatly to my success at Ryerson and when I was younger, I made teams I probably shouldn’t have because of hard work. I have my parents to thank for that.
3. What is your greatest sporting moment or achievement?
As an athlete, making the hockey team at the University of Regina. The team was top five in the country. The roster included former professional players and was loaded with major junior players. I had never even been to a major junior tryout and it was a big step up from the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League where I played. But head coach Bill Liskowich believed in me and recruited me aggressively. I played five seasons, represented Canada at the Winter Universiade and received offers to play professional in Europe and the United States.
As an administrator, being part of the transformation of Ryerson Athletics. So much has happened in the past 10 years from a successful athletic fee referendum, the acquisition of Maple Leaf Gardens, the creation of a sport media degree program, hosting two national championships, winning the school’s first ever OUA championships and most recently the first-ever national championship in women’s volleyball.
4. How would you define a Ryerson University student-athlete?
Ryerson student-athletes strive for excellence in the classroom and in their sport, while being leaders in the community.
5. What does success look like for the Ryerson University Athletics program?
Our department is successful when it delivers on the mission statement – ‘Ryerson Athletics champions a spirit of belonging, pride, and excellence, which enriches the academic experience and develops the whole student.’
6. What’s the biggest challenge you face in today’s sports world?
In my current role, the biggest challenge is keeping up with the changes and advancements in technology. The focus of the job has changed so much in 10 years. Social media is 24/7 and you constantly need to be producing content. There is no down time and you have to be ready. The other huge change is with livestreaming of games. Five years ago, connecting a camera to a computer was all that was expected. Now fans and viewers want professional television- style broadcasts with multiple cameras and instant replay.
7. Where would you like to see Canadian university sport in the next three to five years?
I like the direction U SPORTS is going. Most schools are engaging their students, alumni and communities much more than in the past. We are seeing more and more marquee events like the Capital Hoops Classic and the Crowchild Classic. Each year, similar events are being created across the country. If we can get to a point where every U SPORTS school is doing one or two of these events a year, I believe fans, media and sponsors will take notice.
8. If you could sit down for dinner with one person in the sports industry (athlete, coach or manager), who would it be? Why? What would you talk about?
I will say Pinball Clemons. I love his passion and enthusiasm. We would talk about overcoming the odds and how to motivate those around you. I would also ask for one of his legendary pep talks. Who knows what I could accomplish after that!
9. What would you say to a sports fan who’s never watched a U SPORTS game/tournament/competition?
You will be blown away at the quality of competition and will come back again and again. I’ve invited dozens of people to games at Ryerson and they have all become fans. No one – not a single one – has ever been disappointed.
10. What do enjoy doing when you’re away from work?
I love spending time with my wife Katharine and our dog Bear.