Greg Ryan steps in as Vikings volleyball coach
University of Alberta-Augustana athletic director Greg Ryan has taken on the role of Vikings interim coach for the women’s volleyball team in Camrose on June 1. Josh Aldrich/ Camrose Canadian
Greg Ryan is heading back to the volleyball sidelines.
The University of Alberta-Augustana athletic director is taking over head coaching duties for the women’s volleyball team after head coach Jim Kuchera stepped down due to health reasons last week.
Ryan has 37 years of coaching experience at the college level, including turning the University of Calgary Dinos into a Canada West powerhouse in the 1980s and 90s, advancing to the national championships 12 times, winning twice and medalling five times.
Ryan has been the athletic director at the school for nine years but is looking forward to returning to a head coaching capacity.
“The most exciting thing you do in athletics is work with young athletes and have them become confident, to be competent and watch them grow and develop and go through the struggle of becoming a really good team,” said Ryan. “My expectation is we will be in the playoffs.”
Ryan knew he was going to be coaching with the Vikings’ women’s volleyball team for the 2017-18 Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference season, but it was originally going to be as more of an assistant role to help carry the load as their other coaches upgraded their NCCP certifications.
That all changed when Kuchera resigned his post. While Ryan takes over, the goal remains the same, to groom assistant coach Stephen Enright to be the future head coach of the team. Bryan Laskosky is also remaining as an assistant coach and he will play a role in Enright’s development, helping teach him the administrative side of the position. Ryan will handle more of the analysis and recruitment side of the training for Enright.
“He’s played and you can really tell the guy is passionate about it,” said Ryan. “He’s got a great demeanour for a volleyball coach and a pretty good mind for it too.”
Ryan spent 20 years at the U of C and was named the conferences coach of the year five times. His 1989 team went undefeated in Canada and was recently inducted into the U of C athletics hall of fame. From 2006-08, Ryan served as the women’s volleyball head coach at Montana State University Northern. Ryan is a Chartered Professional Coach, holding a Master Coach designation with the National Coaches Certification Program. Greg has served in various roles with Volleyball Canada, particularly in helping the sport grow in the age class divisions. He has chaired the National Indoor Committee for Volleyball for 10 years.
Kuchera was head coach of the Vikings for four seasons, going 25-67 in that time. He was an assistant coach for a number of years with the team before he took over the top role, and helped usher the team into the ACAC from the Alberta Colleges Athletic League in 2010.
The Vikings are coming off a year derailed by injuries. They finished 6-18 (25-58) and in sixth ACAC North Division with 12 points, 12 points out of a playoff spot.
The 2017-18 class is already recruited so Ryan just has to step in and start molding the group when they return in the fall. He is already familiar with the returning players having spent the last few years working with the setters.
He was impressed with the hard work of the group last season, even if it didn’t show up in the standing by way of wins.
“Sometimes you put in awful lot of energy in the front end and it doesn’t show up (in the standings) then all of a sudden all of that hard work pays off in the next year and you’re away to the races,” said Ryan.