Sports Administration adjunct Samantha Robey ’12 may work full-time for another university in town, but her passions for Bellarmine and athletics bring her back to campus not only to teach, but also to volunteer in honor of a dear friend.
Robey, an Indiana native, was always playing some kind of sport growing up. She didn’t pick up golf until high school, but said she “instantly fell in love with the sport.” Her Floyd Central High School team made it to state her senior year, and took home conference and sectional titles.
That love of athletics grew while she was a student at Bellarmine; she played golf, served as a commentator for the men’s basketball team and held the role of sports director for Bellarmine Radio.
“Bellarmine is where I grew up and it holds such a special place in my heart,” she said. “My student involvement helped get me the experience I needed to get internships, which helped me get jobs.”
She took that enthusiasm to the University of Louisville, where she earned a Master of Science in Sports Administration and was hired as the U of L Golf Club’s marketing and memberships director.
“Golf is my hobby and my job,” she said. “My job doesn’t really feel like work because I am doing what I love.”
She and her team recently hosted the 2019 NCAA Men’s Golf Regional Tournament and will host the NCAA Women’s Golf Regional Tournament in 2021. “It was an honor to be a part of the team to help plan and execute the tournament,” she said.
While she loves her work, Robey remains true to her Bellarmine
roots. “I have a great passion for Bellarmine,” she said. So, she has returned as an adjunct instructor to teach Intro to Sports Administration. “I want to help these students succeed in their future careers.”
That passion for Bellarmine also inspires her to give back to the community in honor of her friend and fellow 2012 graduate Ryann Tewell.
Ryann died in June 2014 after being struck in a crosswalk on her way to work. Ryann was known for her positive attitude and tremendous work ethic—qualities that have inspired Robey to always #keeptRyann (“Keep tryin’”).
“Her laugh was contagious,” Robey said. “Her witty humor and her big heart just made you want to be around her.”
Ryann was one of 15 members of the Tewell family who call Bellarmine their alma mater. The Tewell family endowed a scholarship in her name in 2016, and since then, the Bellarmine Alumni Relations office has held an annual walk/run around Bellarmine’s campus and into Joe Creason Park to help raise money for the fund.
Proceeds from the Run for Ryann 5K benefit the Ryann Tewell Memorial Scholarship, which is earmarked for female students. Robey has played an integral role in the event, which celebrated its fourth year in April, since the beginning.
“Sam is such a special young lady. She was one of Ryann’s very close friends, and she has become such a dear and close friend to my wife and I and all of my family,” said Ryann’s father, Charlie Tewell ’84/’92. “Sam’s constant smile, unwavering positive attitude and strong work ethic remind us so much of Ryann. Sam was instrumental in establishing the Run for Ryann, and her continued dedication to the cause is heartwarming.”
Robey is heavily involved with planning and promoting the run. “I want people to remember Ryann and for the run to continue to grow each year,” she said.
This year, efforts expanded to include a supplementary fundraising opportunity at CycleBar indoor cycling facility in March. Participants had the opportunity to “Ride for Ryann” at a spin class, ahead of the April run.
“It was something new we tried, and it worked out great,” Robey said. “We will be doing it again and are always open to new ideas.”
This year’s Run for Ryann brought in nearly 600 participants and more than $35,000 for the Ryann Tewell Memorial Scholarship Fund—a success that Robey hopes will live on.
“Ryann was such a good friend to me and just an incredible person,” she said. “I want her scholarship to continue on for many years to come and for people to remember her.”
For more about the Run for Ryann, visit www.bellarmine.edu/runforryann.
By Samantha O’Brien ’12, ’15 MAC