UNLV Names Rich Ryerson As Head Coach
April 7, 2010
LAS VEGAS - Former Rebel standout Rich Ryerson has been named head men's soccer coach at UNLV, Director of Athletics Jim Livengood announced on Wednesday.
Ryerson becomes the fifth head coach in school history after spending the past two years as an assistant coach under former UNLV coach Mario Sanchez, who resigned in February to take a position at Louisville.
"Rich Ryerson is the perfect head coach for our Men's Soccer program," Livengood said. "He brings a great blend of soccer experience and a true love of Rebel Soccer. I can't think of a better combination for the young men who will join our program. As excited as I am for Rich, I'm equally excited for our program."
"It's a dream come true, to become head coach at my alma mater," said Ryerson. "UNLV has made such a big impact on my life, its been the foundation for everything I've accomplished and experienced in the sport of soccer.
"I want to thank the guys that were here in the '70s and started the program and everything that's been done to continue the success of Rebel soccer. I'm also looking forward to getting in touch with the alumni and the local community, as their future support of UNLV men's soccer will be key to our success here. Today is also a big day for the Ryerson family. UNLV has meant so much to us, and it's a big honor and privilege to help continue the Rebel tradition."
One of four Ryerson brothers to play for the Rebels (Rob, Kenny, Tim), Rich Ryerson was a four-year starting defender/midfielder for the Rebels from 1983-86 and led UNLV to three NCAA tournament appearances and three straight conference championships during his time in Las Vegas. In his junior season, the Rebels posted a program-best 18-2-2 mark and No. 4 final national ranking. A two-time all-region and all-conference selection, Ryerson scored 20 goals and had 20 assists. Ryerson started all 84 games during his time as a Rebel and still holds school records for both most career games played and most career starts. Ryerson was also named one of Soccer America's Top-10 Freshmen of the Year in 1983.
Ryerson graduated from UNLV in 1987 with a bachelor's of science degree in business administration. He went on to play a total of 10 years in several professional soccer leagues, including two in Kinna, Sweden, and finished his career in 1998 with the Baton Rouge Bombers of the Eastern Indoor Soccer League, where he was named the EISL's Defensive Player of the Year.
Beginning in 1994, Ryerson served as athletic director and physical education teacher for the Marywood-Palm Valley School, a K-12 program in Rancho Mirage, Calif, and he held that position until 2006 when he moved back to Las Vegas. He served as Director of Coaching for the Downtown Las Vegas Soccer Club for the past two years but will be stepping down from that position after accepting the Rebels' head job. This past year Ryerson was the Nevada state vice president for US Youth Soccer, and will be changing positions to director of coaching for the association this coming season..
Ryerson is the fifth UNLV graduate in any sport to become head coach at the school, following Tina Kunzer-Murphy in women's tennis (1978-81), Wayne Nunnely in football (1986-89), Dan Abdalla in women's soccer (2000-04), and Kathy Olivier in women's basketball (2008-present). Ryerson is married to the former Vanes Valenzuela and they have two children, Vashti (14) and Payton (11).