Story courtesy of Trinity University Sports Information
SAN ANTONIO - John Ryan, Trinity University's long-time head swimming coach, has announced his plans to retire in May.
Coach Ryan has served for 25 years as head of the Tiger men's and women's swimming teams. He was appointed to the position in June 1992, and the swim teams began competition the following fall season. It marked the beginning of Trinity's first-ever varsity NCAA swimming & diving program.
During Coach Ryan's tenure, 24 men's and women's swimmers (14 men and 10 women) have earned All-America accolades following NCAA Division III competition. In March 2014, Stephen Culberson became Tiger swimming's first national champion, as he captured the NCAA 100-yard freestyle event. Culberson later qualified for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials.
"It's been an honor to have had the privilege to both start and coach the varsity swimming program here at Trinity," said Coach Ryan. "We've come a long way since 1992. This past winter, both our men and our women enjoyed a wonderful season. Our incoming first year class looks like it will be the best we've ever had. This is a good time to pass the torch on to TU's next head coach. I'll do all I can to help that person lead our teams to a higher level. Tiger Swimming and Diving has a great future!"
The success of the Tiger teams has also extended to the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) on Coach Ryan's watch. The Tiger women have captured 17 of 19 SCAC Swimming & Diving Championships, including 14 in a row from 2004-2017. Trinity's men have won 10 SCAC Championships, beginning in 1999 and including the 2017 title. Trinity's men and women each captured 3 of 4 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Invitational Swimming & Diving Meets during the four seasons preceding the inauguration of official SCAC sponsorship of championship competition.
Seven Tiger men and four Tiger women have earned SCAC Swimmers of the Year honors over the years. Coach Ryan has earned SCAC Coach of the Year kudos 13 times (nine women's, four men's), to include SCAC Coaching Staff of the Year on several of those occasions.
Prior to joining the Trinity staff, Coach Ryan oversaw the men's and women's programs at Wesleyan (CT) University, from 1986-1992. He had 19 individuals achieve NCAA Division III All-America recognition while at Wesleyan. From 1982-1986, he was the head women's coach at Southern Methodist (TX) University. While there, Coach Ryan led a previously unranked team to a top ten Division I national finish. His 1984-85 squad recorded an undefeated season, highlighted by a win over the NCAA national championship University of Texas Longhorns.
Coach Ryan had San Antonio ties earlier in his career. He was the head coach of the San Antonio Aquatic Club and the Aquatics Coordinator of the North East ISD from 1976-1982. He organized the North East Summer Swim League in the summer of 1977 and grew the program to over 30 teams by 1982. In the fall of 1977 Coach Ryan brainstormed the organization of the Alamo Area Aquatic Association, which has over the past 40 years has helped coordinate both club and high school swimming in the greater San Antonio aquatics community. SAAC swimmer Cassie Cochran set 2 American breaststroke records in January of 1977 while competing for the USA in Paris, France. Ryan also coached five SAAC/AAAA swimmers to gold medal medal National Junior Olympic record-breaking performances between 1979 and 1982.
A former U.S. Army Officer, Coach Ryan served as the swimming coach for the United States Modern Pentathlon Training Center at Fort Sam Houston (TX) from 1970 to 1972. He was on the staff of the gold medal winning USA team at the 1971 CISM Games in Thun, Switzerland. Three of his athletes competed for the USA Modern Pentathlon team at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany, where pentathlete Chuck Richards established a world record in the swimming event. After the Munich Games, Ryan completed a tour of duty in the then Republic of South Vietnam before completing military service in July of 1973.
Coach Ryan received a bachelor's degree from Bowdoin (ME) College in 1969 and earned a MA in Education from The College of William and Mary in Virginia in 1976. While in graduate school, Coach Ryan founded the Peninsula YMCA Swim Team in Newport News, Virginia in 1973. His team won the 1975 Virginia AAU Age Group LC Championships and the PYST girls finished 4th at the National YMCA Championships in the spring of that year.