(Written by Austin Gardner; published in The (Findlay) Courier. Story originally published Nov. 19, 2021.)
My name is Austin Gardner, and I am a graduate of the University of Findlay. I completed my bachelor’s degree in Sport and Event Management in 2017. The following year I completed my master’s degree in Education Human Resource Development with a Leadership Emphasis in 2018. I then pursued a career in college coaching. I began my career at Bowling Green State University, where I was the graduate assistant for the men’s basketball team. After one season I was promoted to the Director of Player Personnel. I served the men’s basketball team for a total of three seasons compiling a record of 57-34 including a MAC Tournament runner-up in 2019 and MAC Regular Season runner-up finish in 2020. I resigned in May from BGSU to pursue other career opportunities.
In July, I was hired by Raise the Bar Hancock County, a nonprofit organization, as the Workforce Development Coordinator. I am grateful for the opportunity to help lead efforts along with Tricia Valasek (RTB’s Executive Director) to prepare and connect, through education and training, an adaptive workforce for Findlay-Hancock County to meet emerging employer needs. I will be assisting with Leader in Me, Manufacturing Day, and other leadership efforts within the community. Outside of Raise the Bar, I am the head coach for the JV boys basketball and JV girls golf teams at Findlay High School.
University of Findlay experience
The University of Findlay has put me in position to be successful. The head men’s basketball coach Charlie Ernst gave me an opportunity to continue my academic and athletic career at UF. We had some amazing memories that were beyond winning games and having the greatest home court atmosphere in Division II. Coach Ernst has all the characteristics that make the program and his players succeed, such as humility, integrity, servant leadership, and commitment. I will continue to take these qualities that he instilled in me to my personal and professional life. Outside of basketball and academics, I got involved with a couple of organizations on campus. I was the president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, vice president of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and an orientation leader. I always believe that the University of Findlay is small enough to get involved in anything that you want, but big enough to make a difference. UF has meant so much to not just myself but my family. We invested in the University of Findlay, but Findlay invested in us. The faculty, staff, and students at UF made my college experience unforgettable. There are endless opportunities at the University of Findlay and the relationships you build will last a lifetime. I hope more students plan to attend the University of Findlay so they can experience something special.
Gardner is a graduate of the University of Findlay and workforce development coordinator for Raise the Bar Hancock County.