A few weeks back, the Glendale Community College football program made a very quiet and unceremonious hire.
The Vaqueros, whose attitude toward social media and promotion exhibited all the joy of a funeral dirge, hired Crescenta Valley Insurance president Rick Dinger as director of football operations.
If the name sounds familiar, it’s hard to miss the 51-year-old Glendale resident.
Dinger can be heard Friday evenings during the football season at Friedman Field as the voice of the Golden Knights.
He’s served an integral role in the Glendale Quarterbacks Club, was a former chairman of the National Trusted Choice Big “I” Tournament, ran the Glendale City Golf Tournament and has been a member of the Glendale College Foundation.
He’s a man of many hats and twice threw himself into spirited, but ultimately unsuccessful bids for a seat on the Glendale City Council.
Dinger’s hire may have seemed like a natural course of direction for the natural salesman, who will have two sons attending GCC in the fall.
Yet, Dinger’s arrival was anything but predestined.
“I met with coaches from the team and I brought up my concerns about the overall team, especially because I’ll have my two boys going there,” Dinger said. “And so they offered me the job.”
Dinger was brought in to oversee fundraising, social media and promotion and historical guidance.
Dinger has hit the ground running in just the last two weeks in social media, which has impacted the other two areas of concerns.
The football program has created new Instagram and Twitter accounts in the last few weeks, while Dinger has also promoted school fundraisers on his personal LinkedIn account.
Just in the that short span, the new football director has reached out to former GCC football great Mark McMillian, who played in the NFL from 1992-1999, while getting the word out about other Vaqueros greats such as Andy Reid and Hue Jackson.
“We have two NFL coaches, how many [NCAA] Division I schools can even say that?” Dinger questioned. “We’re a great deal and we offer both academics and athletics here.”
One of the main points I brought up to Dinger was how GCC was losing, per year, about eight to 10 area kids who choose to attend either Pasadena City College, College of the Canyons or other outside schools.
“It comes down to social promotion for a lot of players and a lot of community colleges don’t’ really do it well,” Dinger said. “When I looked at where Glendale was sending its players all over the country – I mean I saw former GCC players in so many different places – it just blew me away. You want to get guys coming here, you have to promote their videos on social media and you let them know about the great program here.”
Dinger’s frustration with GCC hit a climax on the weekend of Sept. 16 when the Vaqueros traveled to the desert to take on Mt. San Jacinto College.
Glendale’s starting quarterback that day was Michael Bonds, nephew of St. Francis High head coach Jim Bonds and the Golden Knights starter in 2016.
On that Saturday, Glendale rallied from a 20-point deficit to force overtime and eventually lost a 27-26 double overtime contest in what may have been the most exciting game of the season.
Unfortunately for Dinger, who couldn’t be at the contest, their updates were sparse.
“I went on Twitter and I looked around and I couldn’t find a score or updates anywhere,” he said. “That’s when I knew something had to change.”
Change certainly appears to be a good thing for GCC.