Sep 20, 2019
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Mixing business with a love of sports

Fresno State employee Richard Enns is feverishly working in his office. He has 410 e-mails in his inbox that need to be addressed, an endless amount of phone calls to return and mounds of papers to attend to. For a Tuesday afternoon, he is not in bad shape.

Enns is the athletics business manager at Fresno State, and has been since 1984. Aside from the 1970s wood paneling that spans the walls of his office, he enjoys every bit of his job. Through years of experience, however, Enns has realized that the best part about his job is helping make coaches successful.

“The way I see it, where there is success, there is victory, and I enjoy being a part of that,� Enns said.

In his position, Enns has many duties and responsibilities. However, his primary job is to make all of the travel arrangements for the Bulldogs football team. Everything from scheduling flights and booking hotel rooms to feeding and equipping the players, coaches and other staff members, Enns is the man for the job.

While Enns attributes his involvement in sports for helping him get where he is today, his journey to the university began as a teenager.

He grew up in Dinuba and played basketball in high school and at Reedley College. When he transferred to Fresno State, he played for the university’s club volleyball team.

Enns’ love of sports includes coaching as well.

“I got a job at Fresno Pacific [University] in accounting, and then ended up coaching volleyball there for about five years,� Enns said.

While at Fresno Pacific, Enns helped plan and construct the school’s special events center — a job that prepared him for his career at Fresno State.

“I wouldn’t have been able to plan the Save Mart Center’s seating arrangements if it weren’t for the experience that I got at the other university,� Enns said.

When Enns ventured to Fresno State, the athletics department was looking for someone with both business and coaching experience — a description that he fit quite well.

Unfortunately, Enns’ career was put on hold when he was diagnosed with colon cancer 11 years ago. He recovered, however, and learned from the experience.

“It taught me a lot about seeing things from a different point of view,� Enns said.

Enns said he owes much his inner strength to his role model and pastor of Mountain View Community Church, Fred Leonard.

“I have learned a lot about people from him,� Enns said, “and how to deal with certain problems and setbacks.�

This past December, Enns worked on last-minute preparations for the Bulldogs’ final football game against San Jose State. This included preordering chicken from Popeye’s restaurant for the team, so that players had something hot to eat following the game.

“I wear many hats,� Enns said, “and one of my jobs on the road is to deliver chicken to the boys.�

Enns is compiling information that is needed by state auditors – a task that he regularly performs.

“Here at Fresno State, the athletic department is constantly addressing auditors,� Enns said. “We got to give them what they need, so they know that I am doing my job right.�

Mark Younger, who is the head athletic equipment manager at Fresno State and works closely with Enns, said Enns is willing to perform duties that are not necessarily in his job description.

“Whatever the job takes, he just does it. No questions asked,� Younger said. “He just cares greatly about the job that he does.�

Fresno State Athletics Travel Coordinator Jody Jesser said she admires the way Enns does his job, particularly with handling coaches’ demands.

“Richard’s best quality is his ability to be honest with the coaches. Instead of telling them what they want to hear, he tells them the truth, or what they need to hear,� Jesser said.

It is obvious to Enns’ role model Leonard that Enns is good at what he does for Fresno State athletics because of his exuberant personality.

“He is both competitive and energetic, which are definitely positive qualities,� Leonard said.

And while Enns never finished college, leaving just 12 units shy of graduating, he feels content with where he stands.

“I don’t have a Ph.D. behind my name and I don’t make six figures,� Enns said, “but I am happy with where I am at in my life today.�

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