Goldthwaite grad Seward reflects on Tarleton football career
Marc David, Special to the Abilene Reporter-News
Oct. 4, 2017http://www.reporternews.com/story/sport ... 730317001/
The scholarship offers didn’t roll in for Ryan Seward.
He was a high school lineman at Goldthwaite, a Class 1A (now 2A) at the time, and small school players are generally not in high demand, especially when their experience is mainly run blocking. Seward went to Tarleton State as a preferred walk-on. He left as an All-American and inducted into the Tarleton Athletics Hall of Fame in May.
His football story took several detours before ending in the 2001 Cactus Bowl. In the first place, he came to the Texans as an offensive lineman with experience at guard and tackle. He attained All-American status as a center, a position he never played until his junior year.
Secondly, the Bobcats ran a wishbone, so his experience was almost exclusively run blocking. Tarleton “passed, I would guess, 70 percent of the time,” he said. “I had to learn new techniques.”
Third, he was determined to be a teacher/offensive line coach on the high school level. That desire ended after his fourth year, compliments of a mean-spirited coach.
Additionally, his college football career almost ended before it truly began.
“To be honest with you, I hated it,” Seward, 38, said of his redshirt freshman season. “I am glad I stuck it out. I was able to start six games alongside our tight end (James Dearth), who was also a deep snapper and played many years in the NFL.”
Seward, an implementation program manager for Fidelity Investments in Westlake, has fond memories of his last two years in Stephenville. Current coach Todd Whitten returned to Tarleton in 2000. The coaching staff moved Seward to center. He developed into a two-time all-conference center. The Texans won their first-ever Lone Star Conference title in 2001 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs. Seward earned All-American as well as LSC Offensive Lineman of the Year honors.
“Everything fell into place (the last two years),” Seward said. “My accolades were due in part to the success of the team more than anything else.”
That’s not the way Whitten saw it.
“Ryan was a phenomenal football player for us, but I think the thing I’m even more proud of is the kind of man he is,” Whitten said. “He’s one of the hardest working, most dependable people I’ve ever had the honor to coach. It’s a shame I only had him for two years. I’m extremely proud of everything he accomplished and is still doing today.”
Seward thought he would be teaching and coaching an offensive line today. That changed after four seasons at Azle High. Ranchview High opened in Carrollton, and Seward was hired as offensive line coach … or so he thought.
When he reported for a spring meeting, Seward was introduced as tight ends coach. He was baffled until he found out that an older, more experienced, individual was given the position. Seward was contacted and offered a position at Fidelity Investments. He told the head coach that he was seriously considering the position.
“The coach laced into me with a string of profanities,” Seward said. “I told him, ‘I want to thank you.’ He looked at me puzzled. I said, ‘Thank you for making my decision for me.’ It was the best move I ever made from a career perspective. I was raised that when you commit to something, you follow through with it. He definitely helped ease my mind.”
Seward said he never looked back. The former center is now front and center in the investment field, earning accolades for his work with high-end businesses.