You can look up a lot of statistics for Ryan Borowicz. He has been a successful high school, college and professional basketball player. He has had a successful basketball coaching career and now he is a successful business owner. All of that success came with a lot of hard work and determination. But there is more to Ryan than just statistics, winning games and owning a business. Ryan has a passion for basketball, but much more than that, he has a passion for mentoring kids and coaching them on and off the court.
When I walked into The Driveway to interview Ryan, it was at the tail end of a summer basketball clinic. I could see the kids just finished some drills and he had them sit on the bleachers. He ended the camp with a story. Not a story about basketball, but a story that was teaching them life lessons. When I asked him about why he ended that way he said, “Most of these kids are not going to play professional or college basketball so I want them to take away something they learned at the camp or clinic that they will remember beyond basketball and can apply to life.”
Keep reading as Ryan answers a few questions about The Driveway, what it’s all about and what the future holds.
KC: Tell me about The Driveway and how it came to be. What was the driving inspiration for it?
Ryan: The driving inspiration for the driveway was simply that when I was a kid and I wanted to get better, I went out in my driveway and worked at it. I wanted to take that “old school work ethic” and add to it the “new school methods” that today’s players get to benefit from.
I started doing private basketball instruction in 2005 when I took a job as a sports director at a church in Appleton where I got to build a program from the ground up. I just started to get connected in the community and offered basketball lessons for free. Over time, that grew, as did my role at the church as the program grew, and in 2015 I felt like I needed to pick one thing and put all my time and energy into it. What I kept coming back to was passion. So, I left a great job where I was having an impact and loved what I was doing, to pursue a dream and to make an impact on kids through basketball.
The facility was just something I had in my mind for years and it went from some notes on the back of a napkin, to a vision statement on paper, to a year of planning and prayer, to reality. I opened The Driveway in June of 2016 and will be expanding the building in October of 2019.
KC: What has been a surprise to you or something unexpected since opening the doors of The Driveway?
Ryan: I think I knew what the summers were going to be like because I had been running summer camps at the church I previously worked at for almost 10 years, but I think the steadiness of things year round was a bit of a surprise. There really is no down time or slow season. I am basically just always busy, which is a great thing and something I am very thankful for. Until recently, I was the only full-time employee!
The other surprise was that I knew I was going to get to know lots of kids through this, but it’s been fun getting to know their parents as well-- and not just local folks. I travel around the state doing shooting clinics for high schools and it’s been great getting to know the coaches and building relationships over time with whole communities. A great example of this is Beaver Dam. A parent found out about me about 4 years ago and I drove an hour and a half there and back to work with his son one night. From that first time, I have probably been back to Beaver Dam at least 10 times working with their girls program, and now their boys program. It’s been fun to be a small part of their success as their girls program has now won 3 straight state championships!
KC: It is obvious why The Driveway needs to expand. Tell me about that and what people can expect.
Ryan: I started working on the idea two years ago. The expansion area is planned to be open in early October, just in time for basketball season! This is really going to “change the game” in our community as kids will now have endless opportunity to work on their game, especially their shooting. I am so excited about the opportunity to make an impact on more kids through this expansion, as it opens the doors of The Driveway to seven days a week. Before the expansion, everything was based on two things: me in front of kids, and my schedule. I really wanted something that was open to people whenever they wanted to come in, but still structured-- I’m old school. I want to teach kids how to do things the right way to do things through drills and repetition. The new school methods will include being able to watch themselves on the phone as they train and then send that video.
The expansion will be ten thousand square feet. You will walk in and we will have an alley. There will be hoops hanging every fifteen feet. You will be able to pre-reserve your times so you are not waiting for the next alley to open. Hopefully this will piggyback with everything else we offer here. Kids might do an hour class and then they jump next door to get extra shots. They will be getting skill building from the coaching staff and practice time to work on those skills.
Ryan is married to his wife Melissa of 17 years. They have three boys, Bryce, Cooper and Griffin. Ryan played at Ashwaubenon High School and left as the school’s all-time leading scorer, a record that lasted for 20 years. His dream was always to play for the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay Phoenix, and when the scholarship came from coach Dick Bennett he jumped on it. After battling some injuries during his college career, he left UWGB as the third all-time 3-point shooter and finished fourth in the nation for 3-point shooting. During college, he participated in Campus Crusade for Christ and was able to travel the country and overseas, playing with great players and against top competition. He was offered a chance to play for a professional team in Perth, Australia. He spent one full season playing in Australia and made the league’s All-Star team where they claimed the championship. After playing professionally, Ryan started a coaching career at area middle schools, high schools and colleges, including St. Norbert College.
For more information on The Driveway, check out their website at http://www.rbbasketball.com