I can't say I was planning on writing this article a couple weeks ago following my end-of-season meeting with our old site manager we all grew to love, Mr. Ryan Blackburn. It was towards the end of the meeting though I realized change may be afoot, as Ryan informed me another job opportunity may be coming his way that would be to great to pass up.
One thing led to another and I received a call from Ryan not even a couple days later in which he informed me about his decision to step down as site manager at Denver Stiffs. What came next was something I never even dreamed of, as Ryan said he would be recommending me to be the next site manager at Denver Stiffs.
As a young sports fan, the Stiffs were all I knew in terms of Nuggets coverage. It was always my dream to be a sportswriter growing up and the Stiffs was the place that heightened my love for the Nuggets and the game of basketball even more.
Growing up in beautiful, gorgeous Greeley, CO — trust me you get used to the smell — I played sports at a high level like football and baseball, but basketball was one I never really played. Sure, I played basketball casually and still do to this day, but where I really grew to love the game was watching Nuggets on the TV like Carmelo Anthony, Allen Iverson, and of course Mr. Big Shot, Chauncey Billups.
As soon as I graduated high school in 2014, I enrolled in the journalism program at the University of Northern Colorado with the goal of fulfilling my dream as a sportswriter. My next step was then securing a spot where I could write about the Nuggets, which led me to Nugg Love, the FanSided site that is still alive today. After a little under a year of growing my voice there, I moved to a Nuggets site called Dig In Denver, where I met the incredibly awesome guy that Nuggets Nation has all grown to love in Brendan Vogt of DNVR.
You’ll sense a trend here, but following my time at Dig In Denver, I was lucky enough to be hired on at Mile High Sports where I got to work with passionate Nuggets writers like T.J. McBride and Duvalier Johnson. I loved everything about my time at Mile High Sports and was able to cover events like a Nuggets playoff run and a summer league in which the excitement was sky high to watch Michael Porter Jr. before he ultimately was sidelined due to a knee injury.
I remember my time at MHS as a lot of long hours as I always tried to be the first media member in the building and the last one to leave. That work ethic led me to my next Nuggets position, which was senior writer here at Denver Stiffs. I remember the day perfectly, as Ryan and I met at an incredibly nice Red Robin off I-70 in which he offered me the chance to join the team at Denver Stiffs.
It was exactly what I was working all those years for, which made it an incredibly easy decision for me. Since joining Stiffs in 2019, we have gone through a whirlwind of emotions like watching the Nuggets reach the Western Conference Finals in the bubble ,and have recently celebrated back-to-back MVPs by the best basketball player in the world, Nikola Jokic.
The thing that has stood out to me most since joining the team here at Stiffs is the community that we have in place here. No matter who has been running the show like the great leaders before me — founder Andrew Feinstein, Nate Timmons, Jeff Morton, Adam Mares, and Ryan Blackburn —Stiffs has always been a place people can go and converse about the team near and dear to their heart, the Denver Nuggets.
That culture and community is something we will continue to hang our hat on, and if I can guarantee you anything, it’s that Stiffs will remain a community and a place fans and everyone alike can come and vent whether things are going good, bad, or everything in between.
A little more about me before I go so you know what you’re getting yourself into with your new site manager. Not only will I be the site manager for Denver Stiffs moving forward, but in August my life is going to change even more as my wife is scheduled to give birth to our first child, a daughter. I know my life will change for the better as soon as she enters this world, and on top of all the exciting things that have happened to me lately none is going to top the elation of seeing her for the very first time.
When I’m not writing or talking about the Nuggets, you can find me either on a football field, baseball field, or in a classroom. I have been coaching football for almost 10 years now and have coached baseball for the past five seasons, two of which ended with a state championship and I’m hoping a third is upon us after this weekend.
When I’m not coaching on the field, I’m coaching in the classroom with my day job as a middle school health and PE teacher. I love giving back to the community and doing what I can to positively impact young people and student-athletes alike to help them become the best people they can be.
All these leadership traits are something I’m going to use in this new position as site manager here at Stiffs. We already have a tremendous staff here and I’m going to lean on them a ton to help keep this train moving down the tracks. One promise I can make to you is we are going to work our hardest here at Stiffs to provide the best Nuggets coverage possible.
No matter if times are going good or bad, Stiffs is going to be that place you can go where you know everyone has your back. My goal is maintain the already great culture and community we have here at Stiffs, and I wouldn’t be able to do that without the support of everyone who has helped get me to this point.
I just wanted to end this piece with another thank you to Ryan Blackburn as I wouldn’t be here today without the opportunity he provided me three years ago. Ryan’s legacy at Denver Stiffs will live on forever, as Nuggets fans will never forget he was the one who created the Jokic stat so many people have grown to love as the first player in NBA history to score 2,000 points, haul in 1,000 rebounds, and dish out 500 assists in a single season.
It was more than just stats though — which Ryan always did an incredible job with — as his calm, cool, and collectedness as a leader is something I’m 100 percent going to try and echo in this new position. Ryan always took the time to help anyone that needed it and his always real and honest opinions on the Nuggets is something we are all going to miss here at Stiffs. One thing is certain though and it’s that whatever the next step is in Ryan’s journey, he’s going to leave his mark, just like he did here at Stiffs.
This is just the start of a new era at Denver Stiffs and I believe the best is yet to come. And I’m excited for everyone that wants to hop on the train, cause we’re just leaving the station and we aren’t slowing down anytime soon. It all starts now, and let’s hope it ends with the Nuggets hoisting up their first championship trophy in a little over a year!