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Brooke’s Ryan Bilby Signs With Marshall

Two-Time W.Va. State Champion To Play Golf At Division I Level

Photo by Cody Tomer After winning two state championships and three OVAC titles at Brooke, Ryan Bilby officially signed his letter of intent to continue his academic and athletic careers at Marshall University on Friday inside the Follansbee City Building. Pictured are, front row, from left, Alaina Bilby, Glenn Bilby, Ryan Bilby and Christy Bilby. Back, Lee Wepler, Brooke athletic director Sean Blumette, Ryan Garbin and Ron Ujcich Sr.

FOLLANSBEE — Brooke senior Ryan Bilby has reached the pinnacle of high school golf, winning two W.Va. state championships and three OVAC titles.

Now, it’s time for him to move on to the next level and set his sights on new challenges and future goals.

On Friday afternoon, Bilby officially signed his letter of intent to continue his academic and golfing careers at Marshall University.

Bilby was joined by friends and family inside the Follansbee City Building as he made his dream of playing Division I golf come true.

“It means the world to me,” Bilby said. “All of these people helped me to get to this point. I’ve been playing since I was 5. I’ve had the dream to play in college since I knew what college was. It means the world to have everyone here. They all mean something to me.”

When deciding where he wanted to continue his golfing career, Bilby was searching for several things — he found all of them in his new home of Huntington.

“Coach (Matt Grobe) is one of the best guys I’ve ever met,” Bilby said.

“The facilities are great and we are going to have a really good team. The campus is nice, too, but it’s not too big. It’s a perfect fit.”

Bilby fell in love with golf at a young age, when it was just him and his dad out on the course. Little did he know that the day he picked up a golf club was the day his life changed forever.

“My dad put a club in my hand when I was 5 and he’s been with me since that day,” Bilby said. “We started out at Brooke Hills and he drove me around the course and just watched me play.”

As special as it was for Bilby, it was just as special for his parents, Christy and Glenn, who have been on hand to witness nearly all of their son’s matches and were the first ones to greet him with a hug after he won his second straight state title this year.

“It’s been wonderful,” his mother Christy said of the last four years. “We’ve been to every event. I might have missed two in his whole life and the same for his dad but if I wasn’t there, he was there. We’ve never not been there. It’s been a very exciting time of his life. I do believe Marshall is the perfect fit for him.”

Along with his parents, coach Ron Ujcich Jr., who tragically passed away just 10 days after Bilby won his second state title, had a front row seat to guide Bilby through the ups and downs and to watch him shine in his finest moments.

“This was the best four years of my life at Brooke,” Ryan Bilby said. “Coach (Ujcich) is the one who helped me get here. He coached me through these four years and made me the man I am today.”

Ujcich meant the world to the Bilby family, as well.

“He’s been a part of our family for four years,” Christy Bilby said of Ujcich. “He’s been a very big part of Ryan’s life. He went on vacation with us. I just wish he could be here but I know he’s here in spirit.”

Coach Ujcich was certainly there in spirit on Friday — and he always will be.

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