Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 7/17/13
As she and her husband await a contract extension that is expected to yield him north of 100 million, Sarah Ryan is embarking on a career of her own. On Tuesday, the Atlanta Dream of the WNBA announced that Ryan, who played basketball at Boston College and is married to Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, will work as a sponsorship sales consultant. Ryan, who, like her more famous husband, also majored in communications, said she and Dream CEO Ashley Preisinger developed the role after a mutual friend, Dave Cohen, who formerly worked for the Falcons, suggested that they have coffee. Ryan, who became a Dream season ticket holder this year, said that while she does not have a background in sales, she will rely on the network of people that she and her husband have met during their five years in Atlanta to help drive ticket sales. I think its a lot about relationships that you are building with people in the city and the first few years Matt and I have been in Atlanta weve been fortunate enough to meet a lot of great people and build contacts in the area, she said. Hopefully, some of the people Ive met and come in contact with, and some of the people Matt can put me touch, Im hoping that network weve developed can translate into some relationships with the Dream as well. Because of the very demanding nature of the careers that their husbands pursue, few wives of professional athletes tend to work outside the home. (Theres also the matter of the compensation being comfortable enough to allow a one-income family.) But Sarah said that since she and Matt do not have children, it makes it easier for her to work. Obviously, there comes a balance in it, she said. For every relationship, every family, every woman, its different. Matt and I are in a position where we dont have kids yet. That allows me more flexibility in terms of my opportunities to work outside the home. During the football season, really Im here all the time in Atlanta. I dont travel to the away games so for a good six-month stretch of time Im here in Atlanta and throughout the week -- obviously the weekends are busy with people coming in and out of town for games -- but during the week Im more available and ready and willing to work so I know that the time commitment to the Dream is something I can definitely manage. For each family, its a different circumstance so every wife and husband and couple has to make it work for themselves. When Sarah first moved to Atlanta after Matt got drafted, she worked as an administrative assistant for two and a half years. After they married, she began volunteering full-time at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta, mostly out of a location in Lawrenceville near her home. Since she and Matt moved to Buckhead, she said she has changed locations to a club in Brookhaven. She plans on continuing that work despite her role with the Dream. Like others who might become coaches or officials when their playing days end, Ryan said her role with the Dream allows her to continue a relationship with the sport she has loved all of her life and its something that she is excited about. She finished her career at Boston College ranking second in school history in assists, was part of two teams that made the NCAA tournaments Sweet 16 and earned a spot on the all-academic teams in the Big East and ACC three times (the Eagles switched conferences during her career). She said that when her collegiate career ended, she had the opportunity to go overseas and play -- an option that some of her teammates took advantage of -- but she said she was too much of a homebody to make that move. Ryan, who will be 28 next week, said she still plays but not in an organized league. She said she and Matt will shoot hoops at a local fitness club that they belong to. While she does not get noticed -- no one in Atlanta follows Boston College womens basketball, she said -- Matt, of course, does. It just comes with the territory, she said. Its not a big deal at all. Its fun to see people excited about the Falcons. The fact that Ryan, who stands 5-foot-8, and her 6-foot-4 husband play basketball together begs an obvious question. Who would win in a friendly husband-and-wife game of one-on-one? This is like the perpetual question, she said. Im going to go ahead and say I would win. Im sure if Matt were on the phone, Im sure that would be a very different answer. But, if Im being honest, I have to say I have the edge -- unless he starts taking me into the post, which he usually does. If he doesnt start dunking me, then usually Im all right. While it should not be shocking that a professional athlete can dunk, this particular correspondent voiced his mild surprise at that fact. He can dunk, yes, Sarah said of Matt. I can tell you I was surprised. ... I didnt give him as much credit as he deserved. It could also be said that the Dream are deserving of more credit. Currently, they own the best record in their conference and have won conference titles in 2010 and 11. Ryan said shes excited to be a part of a womens led organization and womens basketball sport and excited to be part of a team thats doing so great.
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