Ryerson, Connors Pick Up Regional Coaching Honors|
Dec. 9, 2014
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - UNLV men's soccer continues to pick up awards after one of the top seasons in school history, as Head Coach Rich Ryerson was named the NSCAA West Region Coach of the Year, while Liam Connors received the Glenn "Mooch" Myernick NSCAA West Region Assistant Coach of the Year honor, the national office announced on Tuesday.
Ryerson, a former UNLV standout, recently completed his fifth year as the Rebels' head coach, and oversaw a complete turn-around of the program in 2014. Connors meanwhile has been Ryerson's top assistant since the first season, and was elevated to the role of associate coach in August of 2013.
"I think this is a great honor to be recognized by our peers," said Ryerson. "Not only for myself but also for all the hard work that Liam has put into our program. It was unimaginable that five years ago, from the state of where things were when we came on board, to be in a place to receive honors like this. It has been a very special year not only for ourselves but our players, the university, and the soccer community of Las Vegas.
"Liam's dedication to our players, his attention to detail, and his passion for coaching have made him the obvious choice for this award in my opinion, and its very well deserved."
After winning three total games in Ryerson's first year, UNLV finished this past season with a 14-5-3 record and the first conference championships for the school since 1987 after claiming both the WAC regular season and tournament titles. UNLV reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1988 thanks to its automatic berth from winning the WAC, and played its first round game at UC Irvine. The Rebels lost that game to an Anteater squad that would go on to upset the No. 1 team in the nation (Stanford) in the second round.
Ryerson was named the WAC Coach of the Year after guiding UNLV to a 7-2-1 league record. He saw a school-record four players named first team all-conference while, players from his first two recruiting classes, Salvador Bernal and Kyle Melies, were named Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year in the conference.
Other highlights for the Rebels during the season included the first national ranking since 1992, No. 23 by Soccer America, while UNLV also claimed a win over then-No. 14 UMBC 1-0 in Las Vegas on Sept. 12. UMBC is one of four teams alive in this year's NCAA Tournament, having advanced to the College Cup in North Carolina.