Athletes inspire millions of people every day. What is it about athletes and their ability to influence their fans? For sophomore Ethan Kruse, it’s the impact an athlete’s story can make.
Like most diehard sport fans, Kruse’s love of sports developed at a young age. Growing up as the youngest of three siblings in a household of collegiate athlete parents, he was exposed to sports right off the bat. Whether attending his brother’s baseball games, staying active with his siblings or going to football and basketball games at Purdue University, sports played an integral role in Kruse’s adolescence and youth.
As Kruse grew up, he realized the game wasn’t the only thing that interested him. In his junior year of high school, a school project prompted Kruse to research athletes and their backgrounds. While the internet provided basic stats and details, Kruse wanted to hear the stories from the source. So, he began reaching out to athletes and coaches at his high school.
“I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do with it. I started reaching out by writing handwritten letters to minor league baseball players. I heard back from a few and started feeling like I could make something out of this,” Kruse said.
That led him to make a website and social media accounts, using the social channels as an easy way to reach out to collegiate and professional athletes. A passion project was born. Kruse named the business His Huddle, and since its start in 2020, Kruse features an interview with a new athlete each week.
The business: His Huddle
On the surface, His Huddle looks like any sports website, but delve deeper into the stories and it’s evident that it takes a much different angle than average sports analysis. When Kruse first created His Huddle, he knew that aside from the sports, he wanted to give athletes a space to share their stories of faith.
“I love seeing athletes that are willing to use their platform to make a difference and put a smile on someone’s face,” Kruse said. “My goal is to help share these inspirational stories from the athletes themselves as you hear about how they are using their gifts and abilities to make a difference.”
Faith defines His Huddle and is how Kruse found a way to connect with athletes. “Faith means everything to me. It’s been an important part of my life for a long time,” Kruse said. It was foundational to Kruse and his siblings’ upbringing and how they learned to approach difficult times.
“My family lost everything in a fire when we were younger. So, my mom never let us feel sorry for ourselves or anything. She always instilled in us that everything happens for a reason and that there’s a purpose behind everything.”
Kruse discovered that faith was instrumental for many, including athletes. His Huddle tells an athlete’s story beyond the stats.
“It’s important to show athletes that they’re not just their performance on the field,” Kruse said. “There’s a lot more that makes them unique and shows their character.”
Covering the bases
From baseball to basketball, football and gymnastics, His Huddle covers a variety of collegiate and professional sports.
Kruse even interviewed one of CSU’s basketball players, David Roddy. Kruse interviewed Roddy at the same time the NBA was scouting players. Now, Roddy plays in the NBA for the Memphis Grizzlies.
While each story resonates with Kruse in different ways, one athlete’s story is especially memorable. In 2021, he interviewed Los Angeles Clippers point guard Jason Preston. Featured not long after the Clippers drafted him in 2021, Preston’s story shows the magnitude of his faith and perseverance. Aside from the inspirational story itself — underdog becomes a star — Preston’s kindness was notable.
“They [Preston and his fiancé, Micaylah Nash] were the sweetest people I’ve ever met,” Kruse said. “They’re so kind and make you feel like you’re the most important person in the room. Their story inspired me more than anything else, and to have somebody I’ve looked up to for a long time be able to share with me was really neat.”
Back to Business
Kruse studies management at the College of Business. Having had two siblings attend Colorado State University, it was an easy decision for him to follow in their footsteps. Initially, Kruse wasn’t entirely sure what he wanted to study but figured business would be the most useful. It also helped that his brother and sister had majored or minored in business.
“That was kind of what made my final decision, and I haven’t ever regretted it since,” he said.
Since starting at the College, Kruse found that his major was a smart business move for His Huddle.
“It’s been really helpful to have classes that emphasize networking and building relationships,” he said. “Getting to connect with those, not just out in the world, but at CSU and in Fort Collins and learn about if they’re doing things in similar fields is really cool.”
His Huddle continues to grow its audience, but Kruse is unsure if it will ever become his full-time job. He created it to be a platform for athletes to share their stories, saying it’s never really been about money.
“My worry is that once I start making money from it, it’s going to become about how their story is going to benefit me, how much it’s going to make me,” Kruse said. “I don’t want that pressure.”
In the meantime, Kruse works as a research assistant for Todd Donovan, marketing professor for the College. Donovan’s research relates to sports and school endowment. Being a sports fan and already running His Huddle, it was an easy decision for Kruse to apply.
In addition to his research assistant job, Kruse works as an intern for the College’s Marketing and Communications Department. He’s been with the department for almost two years. He figured it couldn’t hurt joining a marketing and communications team to help grow his business.
“My favorite part by far is the relationships I’ve been able to create with people. In the MarComm department specifically, we have a really good team and number of people,” Kruse said. “I’m not just working under one person, but instead, I get to interact with everybody.”
Kruse’s busy schedule doesn’t stop him from looking ahead. Kruse hopes to earn a PhD and eventually work in academia. He’s interested in psychology and wants to learn about how people act and the relationships they have with one another. So far, Kruse is looking at a few schools in Texas or venturing to the West Coast.
“My goal is to study the way we interact with each other and how gratitude and relationships affect happiness. Although I don’t know exactly what or where that will be, I am excited for all that is ahead and just hope to take advantage of every day.”
About CSU’s College of Business
The College of Business at Colorado State University is focused on using business to create a better world.
As an AACSB-accredited business school, the College is among the top five percent of business colleges worldwide, providing programs and career support services to more than 2,500 undergraduate and 1,300 graduate students. Faculty help students across our top-ranked on-campus and online programs develop the knowledge, skills and values to navigate a rapidly evolving business world and address global challenges with sustainable business solutions. Our students are known for their creativity, work ethic and resilience—resulting in an undergraduate job offer and placement rate of over 90% within 90 days of graduation.
The College’s highly ranked programs include its Online MBA, which has been ranked the No. 1 program in Colorado by U.S. News and World Report for five years running and achieved No. 16 for employability worldwide from QS Quacquarelli Symonds. The College’s Impact MBA is also ranked by Corporate Knights as a Top 20 “Better World MBA” worldwide.