Ben Rikard, who is entering his 11th year in intercollegiate athletics, is in his first year as Assistant AD for Media Relations at Sam Houston State. He serves as the primary contact for Bearkat football, men’s basketball, volleyball, softball and women’s tennis.
“We are excited to bring in Ben to the department,” said Associate Athletic Director of Athletics Jason Barfield upon Rikard's hiring in September of 2016. “His experience working in this conference previously makes him a natural fit. He can jump right in and hit the ground running. I think he is going to be a great fit in this department and will bring some new ideas with him.”
A native of Fairfield, Texas, Rikard is no stranger to the area or the Southland Conference. He comes to Huntsville after a year-long stint at UT Arlington, but also has recent stops with the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns and as Director of Media Relations at Texas A&M-Commerce.
He also spent six years at Stephen F. Austin, covering nearly every Lumberjack sport in his tenure, including all six seasons covering baseball and volleyball in addition to men’s basketball for both the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons.
“I couldn’t be more ecstatic to be joining what is happening at Sam Houston State,” Rikard said following his hiring. “Everyone enjoys being a part of successful programs, no matter what your role may be, and the sustained success Sam Houston has demonstrated over the years speaks for itself. It’s never easy following in the footsteps of someone as respected as Paul, but I’m going to do my best to try and build on what he and the rest of the staff have established and move things forward as best I know how.”
A 2006 graduate of SFA, Rikard earned a bachelor's degree in communications, concentrating in radio/TV with a minor in journalism. He then started his career in media relations with a year-long internship at North Texas following his graduation before returning to his alma mater.
In addition to his media relations duties at SFA, he also served for two seasons as the play-by-play voice for Lumberjack baseball, while also serving in the same capacity for men's and women's basketball.
He left SFA in June of 2013 and went to Texas A&M-Commerce where he took over the athletics communications office for Lion Athletics before returning to Division I a year later with the Ragin' Cajuns where he was the primary contact for men’s basketball, working with former Bearkat head coach Bob Marlin.
Rikard was instrumental in the implementation of the social media platform at SFA Athletics and also had a hand in instituting several marketing plans that directly utilized the newly-formed platforms on both Facebook and Twitter.
After receiving a promotion following the 2010-11 athletic year he took over direct coverage for the men's basketball team and was there every step of the way as the Lumberjacks worked their way to a 2013 Southland Conference title and a berth in the NIT. The ‘Jacks set a then-school record with five games aired on television, including a Bracket Busters win on ESPNU over Long Beach State and SFA's NIT game at Stanford.
He handled year-long promotion of the No. 8 pick in the 2013 MLB Draft – Hunter Dozier – in a year that saw him earn multiple all-America honors on his way to becoming the highest draft pick in Southland Conference history.
Rikard has served on several statistical crews as well, serving as the official scorer at the 2014 Southland Conference Baseball Tournament and multiple conference basketball tournaments around the state of Texas. He has also served on the statistics crew both the 2010 and 2016 FCS Championship games.