St. Louis, Mo., Dec. 8, 2015 – Washington University in St. Louis defensive coordinator Jim Ryan has been named the 2015 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division III Assistant Coach of the Year, as announced Tuesday by the Association.
Ryan will receive a plaque to commemorate the award at the President's Kickoff Luncheon, Monday, Jan. 11, 2016, at the AFCA Convention in San Antonio, Texas.
"I am both humbled and honored to be named the 2015 AFCA Division III Assistant Football Coach of the Year. While the award bears my name, it represents a great deal of hard work and sacrifice by those who care about me and work along side me," Ryan said. "My wife Laura, who has given so much so that I can pursue my dream career. Larry Kindbom, who has been a tremendous mentor and friend. Pat Smith, our administrative assistant who has helped with so many of the little things that let us concentrate on football. My current and former defensive assistant coaches, and the current and former student-athletes on our football team can all share in this honor."
Ryan completed his eighth year at WashU in 2015, and 18th overall as a collegiate coach. He is in his fourth season serving as defensive coordinator, after spending two years as the special teams coordinator. Ryan also serves as recruiting coordinator, and assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Bears.
He helped guide WashU to a 6-4 record in 2015. The Bears finished as co-champions of the University Athletic Association (UAA) and tied for fourth in the Southern Athletic Association (SAA).
Ryan has also been active off the field. He is involved in his local coaching community with WashU football coach Larry Kindbom, setting up a High School Coaches Summit that brings together coaches to dialogue the issues they face every day off the field. He also runs the WashU Secondary Clinic, a nationwide clinic that brings in the country's top defensive back coaches or coordinators to deal specifically with issues in the secondary.
"Jim Ryan has been a great recruiter and on-field coach. He has led our recruiting efforts and coordinated our defense, helping lead us to three UAA championships," Kindbom said. "He brings energy to everything he does. From starting the WashU Secondary Clinic, to building a website, to promoting our program, to volunteer filming our speaker's bureau with the Jason Foundation, he has been the penultimate assistant. No job has been inconsequential for him in building our success. Moreover, he is a loving husband and father, being a great role for our players. Jim's selection can be summed up in a single word – 'Deserving.'"
Ryan regularly speaks at clinics around the Midwest, and has made two DVDs on defensive line play. He also helps coordinate football student-athletes, in association with The Jason Foundation, to go out into the community and speak and help attack the threat of teenage suicide and depression. As a recruiting coordinator, Ryan built his own system which links WashU to every high school in the country.
He is a member of the AFCA Division III Assistant Coaches Committee and attends the annual convention on a yearly basis.
The Assistant Coach of the Year Award was first presented in 1997 and was created to honor assistant coaches who excel in community service, commitment to the student-athlete, on-field coaching success and AFCA professional organization involvement.
The criteria for the award is not limited to on-field coaching ability or the success of the team and players that these assistant coaches work with. Service to the community through charitable work and other volunteer activities, participation in AFCA activities and events, participation in other professional organizations and impact on student-athletes are all taken into account in the selection process.