LAURINBURG — Joe Baranik never put his son Troy in timeout or ground him when he got into trouble. Instead, he took away the sports page of the newspaper and placed it on top of the refrigerator, out of reach for the disgruntled youngster.
This was commonplace in the Baranik household, where sports were the backbone of the family’s lifestyle. Joe, who is going into his ninth season as head coach of the Saint Andrews University’s wrestling team, encouraged his son from a young age to be involved in sports, though he made his preference clear.
“Some people asked me, ‘Well what if he plays basketball?,’ I just said, ‘Well, we will put him up for adoption,’” Joe said with a laugh.
Troy is now the sports information director at Saint Andrews University, his office is just down the hall from his dad’s. He was hired in 2012, and his passion for sports fuels him daily as he covers the 18 varsity programs offered at the school.
Joe said Troy would read the sports section of the newspaper every morning, and started doing so before he was old enough to attend school.
“I started reading the paper when I was five years old,” Troy said.
Joe then said with a smirk, “Troy didn’t read the paper, he studied it.”
Troy’s obsession would one morning give the family a scare.
“One Saturday morning we hear the door shut and we’re like,“There’s somebody in the house, we’re being robbed,” Joe said.
“So we have the old classic ‘have a broomstick in our hand coming around the corner and meet our match,’ and there’s Troy on the floor on his knees with the sports paper wide open, going down the stats on the page with his finger.”
After moving a few times around the northeast, the Baraniks finally settled in the Laurinburg area in 2006 when Joe landed the coaching position at Saint Andrews. Troy only attended Scotland High for one year, but he helped the wrestling team have one of their more successful seasons in recent memory as they sent seven athletes, including himself, to the state tournament. He and four other Scotland players were recruited by his dad to wrestle at Saint Andrews, where he graduated from in 2011. While at the school, Troy also helped the former SID with similar tasks to what he performs now, and his professional career in sports began to take shape.
With his playing days over, Troy began an internship in the athletic communications department at Penn State University in Pennsylvania, helping with media guides, setting up press conferences, and becaming close with several student athletes on campus. After Troy’s internship ended, Joe was instrumental in recommending him to Saint Andrews’ athletic director Glenn Batten.
“The athletic director was having all these interviews and bringing people in, and I’m like, wait a minute, Troy’s got just as much experience as they do,” Joe said. “So they interviewed him.”
Both father and son enjoy working side-by-side each day, and say they will cherish it for however long it lasts.
“I like it, you have someone there that will support you no matter what happens,” Troy said.
Joe agreed, adding that he values having Troy’s experience just a shout away.
“It’s great because I pick his brain, I use him and he saves me a lot of time looking up stuff for my sport .. . He was born to be in sports, covering sports, writing sports, whatever.”
Logan Martinez can be reached at 910-506-3170. Follow him on Twitter @L_Martinez13.