Gymcats coach steps down

Gymcats coach steps down
TUCSON, Ariz. –

Longtime Arizona head gymnastics coach Bill Ryden will step down after leading the program for 17 years, the school announced on Thursday. Ryden, who has served on the Arizona gymnastics staff since 1990, became the head coach for the 1998-99 season after serving as an assistant coach for eight years. He has helped maintain the UA's streak of 29 consecutive NCAA Regional appearances.

"I've been so proud of our time at Arizona but it is time to take on the next challenge in my life," Ryden said. "I've had the opportunity to work with some of the finest student-athletes in the country, young women who have graduated and been model citizens. We've been one of the most successful athletics programs at Arizona and we did so by being a complete program, from athletics, to academics to our work in the community. I'll be forever thankful for the time I spent coaching at Arizona and the great people I had the opportunity to work with during that time."

Ryden holds the school record for wins with 219 over his 17 seasons. He was named 2002 South Central Regional Coach of the Year and the 2002 Pac-10 Coach of the Year. During his tenure as head and assistant coach, Ryden's teams appeared in 10 NCAA Championships and 25 NCAA Regionals. He trained 17 All-Americans to 36 All-America honors and 36 gymnasts to 75 all-conference awards.

"We're extremely grateful to Bill for all he's done for both Arizona gymnastics and Arizona Athletics," said Arizona Director of Athletics Greg Byrne. "He's been a valuable member of our department for the last 25 years and a great representative of this institution. We wish Bill nothing but the best as he moves on to the next chapter of his life and thank him for his service to Arizona, the student-athletes he's coached and the Wildcat family."

Ryden's best season as head coach with the Wildcats came in 2002 when Arizona finished 11th at the NCAA Championships. During his tenure as an assistant, Ryden earned Midwest Region Assistant Coach of the Year in 1992 and was a member of the World University Games coaching staff in 1993.

A national search for Arizona's new head gymnastics coach will begin immediately.