The long and short of it: Liberty’s Ryan Kemrite lets game dictate look


Last season Ryan Kemrite returned to his family’s Texas home for a couple of days over Christmas. He had not seen his parents all semester and a very warm reception was expected. Yet when he walked through the door his mother turned away without saying a word.

The silence was deafening. Kemrite got the message and knew it was time to — get a haircut, for goodness sake!

“Last season I let my hair grow and when I got home for Christmas break I walked in and my mom just looked at me, turned around and did not say anything,” he said of Cindy’s reaction. “I had not seen her all semester and she did not say anything, so I knew I had to get a haircut.”

Kemrite has had about a dozen different looks during his time at Liberty. The redshirt sophomore is not terribly superstitious, but the sheers will remain silent if things are going well.

“I have always changed up the hairstyle,” said the 6-4 guard. “Whether I am in a shooting slump or anything like that I will change it. If we are winning and I am playing well the hair is going to keep growing. I let it do its thing. So I would say I am little superstitious about it.”

Last season the Flames headed into the opening round of the Big South Conference tournament having lost four of their final five regular season games. Kemrite responded by getting a buzz cut and then came off the bench to drain three of his four three-point attempts. He finished with 12 points in 20 minutes, but to no avail as Liberty lost to UNC Asheville.

Can’t blame him for trying and you can’t blame his teammates for growing accustomed to the ever-changing do.

“They almost come to expect it, so there is not much buzz about it,” he said.

Of course, that is not the case back home where Cindy is always going to have an opinion. That is contrary to his father, Tim, who is more concerned with numbers to next to “Kemrite” in the box score.

“My mom is more concerned about how I look,” he said. “She will call me or send me a text and will be like, ‘Hey, we will pay for it if you get a haircut.’ My dad is like, ‘I don’t care what you look like, just hit more threes.’”

Regardless of hairstyle Kemrite has not had problems shooting from beyond the arc. Last season he led the Flames with 36 three-pointers and shot an impressive 43.9 from that range.

After averaging 15 minutes per contest while starting 15 of 32 games a season ago, Kemrite is a fixture in the starting lineup this season and through seven games made good on 17-of-39 treys (43.6 pct.) while averaging 11.0 points.

He has come pretty far from his redshirt season when then-coach Dale Layer nicknamed Kemrite the Kamikaze Kid because of fearlessness.

So guess what Kemrite’s Twitter handle is?

“I would dive, run around like crazy and at times I put my head probably where it should not have gone,” he said. “I would run around without regard for my safety and coach called me the Kamikaze Kid.”

Kemrite holds the education he is receiving at Liberty in high regard. As a youth he read “Freakonomics” and the rest was history as far as being hooked on the financial industry. He parlayed that interest into being an international business and finance major at the Lynchburg, Va.-based institution.

Kemrite’s experience goes beyond the classroom as he dabbles in the market having bought and sold shares of Under Armour, among other companies. He jokes that he reads investment books from the 1930s. What is no joke is Kemrite continues to devour various investment and business tomes.

“With any money that I can save in college I actually invest in the stock market, for better or for worse,” he said. “Markets and investments are my hobbies. When you start investing your own money you have to follow the markets closely.”

Believe it or not Kemrite finds time to strum the guitar. That is something he took up about six years ago as a form of relaxation. Do not expect him to play on the team bus or at the team hotel before a road game. The music he enjoys is what Tim grew up with, not what most of today’s college athletes listen to.

“I don’t think they would be appreciative of my playing,” he laughed. “My favorite music is classic rock, so that is what I play. I don’t think anybody on the team would know what I am playing.”

One thing his teammates know for certain: Kemrite has no problem letting his hair down.

Above: Ryan Kemrite has gone long-haired and practically no-hair to keep a streak going. (Courtesy Liberty University Photography)




Tom Layberger

Tom Layberger

Tom Layberger is a freelance writer based in Glen Mills, Pa.