Wheeling Jesuit University has tabbed Will Ryan as the 10th head men’s basketball coach in program history, announced today by Director of Athletics Rudy Yovich.
Ryan, who is the oldest son of College Basketball Hall of Famer and former University of Wisconsin Head Coach Bo Ryan, arrives in the northern panhandle after spending the past six seasons as an assistant coach at NCAA Division I Ohio University. During Ryan’s time in Athens, the Bobcats went 81-77, reached the Mid-American Conference (MAC) Tournament semifinals twice and advanced to the semifinals of the 2016 College Basketball Invitational (CBI).
“I am honored and humbled for the opportunity to become the next head basketball coach at Wheeling Jesuit University,” Ryan said. “Leading and inspiring a team of hard-working, dedicated student-athletes has been a lifelong dream of mine. I was born and raised in college basketball under the guidance of my dad. He provided me with the tools to not only become a successful student-athlete but with the blueprint to run my own program. I am looking forward to building a program in a similar fashion that Cardinal fans will be proud of.”
“I would like to give a special thank you to President Michael Mihalyo, Director of Athletics Rudy Yovich and the search and screen committee for believing in me,” Ryan added. “Thank you to my former boss, Saul Phillips for his mentorship and guidance the past 12 seasons at North Dakota State University and Ohio University. More importantly, I want to thank my wonderful wife, Emily, and sons Owen, Liam and Callen, for their love and support as well as my parents, Bo and Kelly Ryan.”
“With the addition of Will Ryan, we have bolstered our men’s basketball program with an individual who has been a part of 215 wins at the Division I level, including two appearances in the NCAA tournament,” Yovich said.
“Will is the perfect fit to build off the momentum that John Peckinpaugh provided with his leadership last season. Coach Ryan is truly a teacher in every sense of the word, and we are excited about his addition to our athletic department.”
Ryan helped tutor 14 all-conference performers, including one MAC Player of the Year (Antonio Campbell) and one MAC Freshman of the Year (Jordan Dartis). Jaaron Simmons broke the single-season Ohio University and MAC assist records in 2015-16, dishing out 275 on the year. Campbell was an Associated Press All-America selection following a stellar 2015-16 campaign, where the Bobcats tallied their best season during Ryan’s tenure going 23-12 overall.
Ohio’s 937 field goals made in 2015-16 tied for second-most in a single season in program history. The Bobcats surpassed the 90-point mark five times in 2015-16 and eclipsed the 80-point mark 16 times.
Ryan joined the Bobcats prior to the start of the 2014-15 campaign after serving as an assistant coach at North Dakota State for seven seasons.
During his seven seasons in Fargo, Ryan helped lead the Bison to four postseason appearances, including two berths in the NCAA Division I Tournament. In 2013-14, Ryan was instrumental in North Dakota State’s historic season, which included a program-record 26 wins and a trip to the NCAA Championship Third Round. The No. 12-seeded Bison upset No. 5-seeded Oklahoma, 80-75, in overtime in the Round of 64.
Ryan played basketball for his father on Wisconsin-Platteville’s NCAA Division III national championship teams in 1998 and 1999 and also was on his father’s team at Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2000-01.
Ryan graduated from Milwaukee in December 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in educational studies and youth leadership.
He joined the Wisconsin staff in 2002-03 as a volunteer assistant and spent five seasons with the Badgers. He also served as head coach for the Wisconsin Swing AAU team in 2005.
“My family and I are eager to join the Wheeling community and begin this exciting new chapter,” said Ryan. “I can’t wait to meet the team and get started with recruiting future Cardinals.”