Faculty of the Fortnight: Richard Gire
From a Craps champion to Assistant Professor, Richard Gire has seen it all
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On a not so snowy spring day in 1975, four young men walked into a casino in South Lake Tahoe and took the craps table by storm. With the help of lady luck and quick calculations derived from days of study and practice, the men walked away with full pockets and wide smiles.
One of these men was Professor Richard Gire, and he approaches craps as he does everything in his life: with practice, an eye towards the future, and just the right amount of swagger.
“I want to raise the bar of academic rigor at SNC because we are not all teaching at the same level of accountability. When students run into someone like me it is a culture shock. The bottom line is that I want your degree to be worth a lot.” Gire said.
This “raising the bar” is reflected in Gire’s control of the classroom, the curriculum he builds, and the way he dresses; always a suit and tie. Like most, Gire took a winding path after high school as he pursued higher education.
“I didn’t do well my first time at college,” he said. “ I went to UC Santa Barbara right out of high school and I was really not ready. I flunked out and ended up enlisting in the Navy for 4 years during the Vietnam War.”
In the Navy, Gire worked as an electronics technician maintaining the navigational systems on fighter jets.
“When I got out of the Navy I was really motivated because I was four years behind all of my colleagues” Gire said.
He went on to get his bachelor’s from San Diego State and his MBA from the University of Southern California.The majority of Gire’s professional career was spent in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles.
“In the early 80’s I started as a computer guy for Columbia pictures. Then I looked around the company and tried to figure out who had the best job, and it was the lawyers. The entertainment attorneys made really good money, worked 9 to 5, and were in the know on all the deals.” he said.
While working at MGM, Gire went to Loyola Law School at night to earn his law degree. From there, he worked at several different companies both U.S. and foreign-owned. The focus of his work was in the distribution of the content that the entertainment companies produced.
“At some point my kids grew up and moved away and my wife and I looked at each other and said ‘why are we still here (Ventura County)?’” he said.
He and his wife decided to retire from the entertainment industry and make a permanent move to their vacation house in Truckee, California.
Though Gire had retired from the entertainment industry, he never stopped working. In the 2 years before beginning his work teaching at Sierra Nevada College, Gire wrote and self published a book called “No-Nonsense Craps: The Consummate Guide to Winning at the Crap Table.”
“When I was in grad school, a few of my buddies and I came up to South Lake Tahoe during Easter break to go skiing but there wasn’t any snow. We were going to be there for a week anyway so we decided to learn to play craps,” he said. “We read voraciously and spent a lot of time in the casinos. We really dove into it and after that I became a craps player,” Gire said.
With enough free time following his retirement, Gire wrote a best selling craps books that still sits atop the Amazon bestseller list.
“I did it just because I wanted to be able to say I did,” he said. “A lot of people say they are going to write a book and never do.”
In 2007, Gire brought his wisdom and talent to the classroom, where he felt out opportunities at both the University of Nevada Reno and Sierra Nevada College. The cards were in favor of the Eagles and a few weeks after applying Gire was teaching Business Law at SNC, a course that is now notorious among the student body as being challenging and fruitful.
“It was probably the best class I have taken at SNC. I really feel like I have the right groundwork to protect myself and my business in the future” said Casey Gordon, a Senior majoring in Entrepreneurship.
Gire has been a full time faculty member at Sierra Nevada College for eight years. Throughout this time he has tirelessly pushed to improve the business department and the quality of education here.
“I am now involved in the marketing program as the chair and my goal is to build that program up to what it should be,” Gire said.
Outside of the business department Gire is the Chair of Faculty Council where he runs meetings every other week. Though Gire has had a very successful career as an entertainment lawyer, book author/publisher and now teacher, he still looks for improvement.
“One of my goals is to empower faculty. It’s the faculty that provides the product here and it’s they who will ultimately improve the value of your education,” he said. “A mere diploma without something retained between your ears means nothing. I want this college to be ranked. I want parents to appreciate and respect this place as much as the students do.”