By Jim Marten –
2018 Father of the Year Honoree
For Bon Voyage Travel President Ryan Hansen, something great is going to happen every single day with his sons, Jack and Brock. But it takes being present to capture those treasured moments.
As coordinator of basketball operations for the University of Arizona Wildcat basketball team under Lute Olson, Hansen’s had an enviable career. He worked in several UA assistant athletic director positions, was UA director of development and donor services, and has been a basketball commentator on the Arizona IMG radio network for more than 20 years.
For the UA graduate who has lived in Tucson since he was eight months old, it was everything. “I was living the dream,” Hansen said amid Wildcat memorabilia and family pictures. “It was so incredible working with student athletes – they walk onto the court every day filled with dreams and hope. There wasn’t another place I wanted to be or another job I would have rather had.”
Living the dream became a different pursuit when Hansen started a family. “The exhilaration of traveling and working with the team was amazing – but I was doing it alone,” he said. Bon Voyage Travel provided the new opportunities Hansen was seeking. “I always wanted a shot at making my own mark. Most importantly, I can now travel with my family and spend the quality time with them.”
In January Hansen was selected as a 2018 Father of the Year by the Father’s Day Council Tucson.
When asked what inspired him to invest time with his family, Hansen said it was the experiences working with the Cats. “Working with Lute and the team, I came to appreciate what is truly most important in life.”
Hansen explained the team would have dinner together before each game, home or away. “I recognized that we always remembered those dinners, not the games or the plays, but the time we spent together. I can’t tell you whether those dinners helped us win any games, but they sure brought us closer. I knew then that the time my family spent together would be what I remember and value most.”
Hansen credited his experiences in sports for a life perspective that he passes onto Jack and Brock.
“As a parent there is nothing more rewarding than seeing your children succeed – and nothing more heartbreaking than seeing them fail.” Hansen said. “With the Cats, I not only learned how to win, but how to fail. What matters most is what you do after you fail. Things are never as bad as you think and another chance is right around the corner.”
Some perspectives came directly from Coach Olson himself. “Lute showed us how to get the best from the players without pushing too hard and how to be competitive with respect and dignity,” said Hansen. “Encouraging and motivating my kids in the right ways helps them grow intellectually, emotionally and personally.”
Hansen said observing positive personal development is another of the many parenting rewards. “There’s something magical about seeing them become their own person. Watching them take their first steps into something new is like watching the first steps on the moon – remarkable.”
Although his previous and current professions have made an indelible impact, Hansen’s father has been his strongest influence as a parent. “If I’m half the father he was, I’m a success,” he said. “My father has always been a patient and thoughtful leader. Parenting isn’t easy and children don’t come with manuals – but my dad is as close to a parenting manual as you can get.”
Hansen’s father is a retired minister, and faith is an important part of the Hansen household. “Our faith provides a great perspective on the principles we live by and why we live by them – not just because Dad said so.” Like his father, Hansen has taken an active role, volunteering as a worship leader at Desert Foothills Baptist Church.
Hansen also credits faith for motivating him to give back, providing an example for his boys. He has volunteered and raised funds for local nonprofits and charities, such as the ALS Association Arizona Chapter, Easter Seals Blake Foundation and Special Olympics.
New fathers are apt to be a little nervous – what’s the advice from this 2018 Father of the Year? “Stay a little nervous,” Hansen said, smiling. “That means you care, you’re involved and you’ll be thoughtful about helping your kids grow.”