Syracuse, West Virginia representatives ring opening bell at New York Stock Exchange Thursday

NEW YORK – Standing on the platform overlooking the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Ryan Nassib saw all the numbers and figures he learned about for more than four years. The screens across the floor looked complex, but the Syracuse quarterback had at least an idea of what they meant.

“It’s weird, you learn about this in class all four years and then you show up and you’re here,” Nassib said. “It’s actually really cool.”

Along with other representatives from West Virginia and Syracuse, including SU head coach Doug Marrone and Athletic Director Daryl Gross, Nassib rang the opening bell promptly at 9:30 a.m. as a part of the festivities leading up to the Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 29. The hustle and bustle on the floor paused briefly to watch Nassib and Mountaineers quarterback Geno Smith start the day’s trading.

Nassib, a finance and accounting major, said he spent summers interning at an investment brokerage firm in Syracuse during his time as an undergrad. He said that experience gave him some familiarity when he looked at the hundreds of screens across the floor on Wednesday, but he didn’t know what they meant as well as he used to.

Marrone said he watched the faces of the players when they walked onto the floor and took in the “shock” of the experience. The Orange head coach said it’s an experience he’ll look back on someday and appreciate even more.

“Not many people get this opportunity to be on the floor and watch them ring the opening bell,” Marrone said, “and really to see what goes on at the No. 1 financial place in the world.”

Syracuse left tackle Justin Pugh also represented Syracuse, and at one point walked over to one of the terminals to look at all the figures on the screens. He asked the trader working at the station what they meant, while the trader asked Pugh about playing in the Pinstripe Bowl.

West Virginia’s explosive quarterback Smith said he always heard about the stock market in the mornings while he got ready for school, but never really knew what it meant. He knows more about it now, but the chance to start the markets for the day made it all much more meaningful.

“To be here is actually a surreal experience, I’m really enjoying it,” Smith said. “To be up there on that podium ringing that bell, it’s one I’ll carry with me for a lifetime.”

Just before the ringing of the opening bell, several traders started a “Let’s go Mountaineers” chant, while others grabbed their cellphones and took photos of the Syracuse and West Virginia contingents.

As soon the bell rang, though, the chaos on the floor grew even more intense as business began.

“I keep looking up at the screens and trying to figure out what’s going on,” West Virginia wide receiver Stedman Bailey said. “This is all new to me so I’m not sure what’s going on.”

Marrone, who was born and raised in the Bronx, said being able to ring the opening bell and having Syracuse’s players on such a national stage can help with recruiting. For now, though, he took in the experience, one even a native New Yorker can appreciate.

Said Marrone: “I think it goes back to things you might’ve been taking for granted when you’re raised here.”


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