Professor Rocks

Thomas Gamble is not just Gamble from 96 Rock — Cincinnati’s Pure Rock 96.5. He is not just a local radio personality. He is a family man, a big supporter of local high school sports, a respected professor, and director of the Marketing, Economics and Sports Business program.

“He was always more than willing to work with his students,” said former student Tom Feld. “And always seemed to be a very personable individual outside of the classroom.”

When I went into my interview with Gamble I felt like Wayne and Garth when they met Handsome Dan in “Wayne’s World 2” — I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into.

Actually sitting down with him had me a little nervous, but it all went away when I realized he is just a regular guy who will sit back and talk sports or anything else that pops into his head.

Gamble was as an adjunct professor at Xavier University before coming to Northern Kentucky University, where he helped found NKU’s Sports Business Program in 2002. Gamble teaches classes on sports marketing, sports promotion, sports public relations, sports business strategy, event planning and management, and advertising and promotion.

Outside of the classroom he is a busy man. He does the Gamble-N-Fin morning show and he owns his own sports marketing company — N-Game Sports — which focuses mainly on high school football within Greater Cincinnati, but he is looking to expand to other high school sports. N-Game Sports holds the biggest high school football event in the country — the annual Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown, which began in 1997 and showcases the talent of Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky. The showdown is a three day event with 20 teams playing in ten games.

His past experiences as a sports editor and working for Don Schumacher & Associates, a sports marketing firm, has left him with 20 years of valuable experience.

“He was able to do a great job incorporating real life knowledge into his class,” Feld said. “He would draw on real life experiences to incorporate each point he was able to make.”

Gamble is in it for the right reasons; the students. He wants to challenge and see his students succeed and to prepare them for life after college.

“I love teaching. When students go to my classes, graduate and keep in touch, that’s why I teach,” he said.

That is the point that became clear as I sat and listened to him describe his views on teaching. Gamble loves interacting with students and helping them on every step of the way: “If you aren’t in it to help students, you shouldn’t be teaching.” He loves seeing his students achieve and reach great heights. To his students, Gamble is their instructor and mentor — not the radio guy.

Story by Brandon Barb