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Debbie Ryan
Debbie  Ryan

Titusville, N.J.

High School:
Hopewell Valley

Last College:
Ursinus '75

Head Coach

Year at Virginia:

Consistency is the mark of a winner. In her 30 years at the helm of the University of Virginia women's basketball program, Debbie Ryan has averaged 21.8 wins per season. She has recorded 20 or more wins in a season 20 times and 30 or more twice en route to 21 NCAA Tournament appearances and three consecutive Final Four berths.

This season, her 30th at UVa, Ryan embarks upon a new era as the Cavaliers play their first season in the state-of-the-art John Paul Jones Arena.

In 2004-05, Ryan became a member of a very elite club. On Dec. 29, she recorded the 600th victory in her career, becoming the 11th women's coach all-time to achieve 600 wins in her coaching career. She received the WBCA Victory Club Award for her achievements. Ryan stands 632-263 after 29 seasons at Virginia. Ryan is also the fifth coach in NCAA Division I history to reach the mark with all the wins coming at the same school.

Ryan is the architect behind UVa's rise to prominence in the 1990s, and she has maintained that level of excellence. No other team in the ACC has been ranked in the AP and USA Today polls more total weeks or consecutive weeks than the Cavaliers. And only a few teams across the nation can match the level of success that the Cavaliers have experienced in NCAA competition. Her teams have been to 21 NCAA Tournaments, second only to Tennessee and Louisiana Tech. She directed UVa to three consecutive Final Four appearances in the 1990s and has consistently had the Cavaliers in contention for a national title.

In 1999, Ryan distinguished herself further by joining an elite group of coaches who have won 500 games at the Division I level. With the win over Florida State on Feb. 21, 1999, Ryan reached the 500 victory milestone. At that time, only five other coaches in Division I had attained 500 wins at one school: Pat Summit (Tennessee), Jody Conradt (Texas), Kay Yow (N.C. State), Mike Granelli (St. Peter's), and Marian Washington (Kansas).

When she won her 450th career game on Jan. 11, 1997 at N.C. State, she reached the 450-win milestone in only her 600th game, faster than any other men's or women's coach in the Atlantic Coast Conference. She was the first ACC coach to record 200 wins in league competition. In conference action, Ryan has a record of 265-116.

Other measures of Ryan's success include 12 appearances in the NCAA "Sweet 16", including 11 straight years (1987-97), three Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament titles, three straight Final Four appearances, the 1990 and 1992 East Regional titles, the 1991 Midwest Regional title, and 11 ACC regular-season crowns.

She was selected as the Naismith Coach of the Year in 1991 by the Atlanta Tipoff Club, and has won the ACC Coach of the Year award seven times. She was named the Converse District III Coach of the Year and 2000 IKON/WBCA District III Coach of the Year and earned state-wide recognition as the Virginia state Coach of the Year four times.

Ryan gives credit for many of her personal awards to the incredible players who have come through the Virginia program. Ryan has recruited and developed players such as Val Ackerman, Cathy Grimes, Donna Holt, Dawn Staley, Tonya Cardoza, Heather and Heidi Burge, Tammi Reiss, Dena Evans, Wendy Palmer and Tora Suber. Players under Ryan's guidance have won 31 All-America honors, 17 Academic All-America honors, six ACC Player of the Year awards, and 56 All-Conference awards. Virginia also has the most three-time All-ACC first team selections (Dawn Staley, Donna Holt, and Wendy Palmer).

In addition to the accomplishments on the court, 100 percent of Virginia players who have completed their four-year eligibility have graduated from the University. Alumni of Ryan's program have gone on to successful careers in medicine, law, engineering, business and coaching.

Ryan's success does not end at the college level.

In August 2003, Ryan coached the USA Basketball women's team to a silver medal at the Pan American Games in the Dominican Republic. In 2001, she served as the head coach of the USA Basketball women's team that participated in the World University Games. Ryan led the squad to the gold medal in Beijing, China. The gold medal marked the first for the USA in the World University games since 1997. Ryan led the team to a 7-1 record and an 87-69 victory over China to claim the gold medal. USA Basketball honored Ryan as its Developmental Coach of the Year for 2001.

In 1988, she was the head coach of the United States Junior National Team. After accepting this honor, Ryan had the task of putting together a tournament-winning team in 10 days. The U.S. won five games including an exciting 70-68 victory over Brazil to win the Junior World Qualifying Tournament and earn a berth in the 1989 Junior World Championships. As a result, Ryan was named head coach of the 1989 Junior World Championship Team that finished seventh.

Ryan has taken an active role in basketball outside her coaching duties at UVa. She served on the USA Basketball Women's Games Committee for the 1989-92 quadrennium. The committee was responsible for staff and player selection, as well as for establishing guidelines at competitive events.

She is not only recognized within the coaching ranks, but also in the state-wide community. On Feb. 18, 1997, Ryan was honored by the Virginia General Assembly for her success and on February 5, 1991, Ryan was named the Outstanding Woman of the Year by the Virginia Women's Forum.

Ryan is also a Nike Advisory coach and has been speaking for Nike for 19 years. She is the author of three books, Virginia Defense, Virginia Summer Development Program, and Women's Basketball Drills- Conditioning.

She played collegiate basketball at Ursinus College, where she earned her bachelor's degree in physical education in 1975. Ryan received her master's degree in physical education from UVa while working as an assistant basketball and field hockey coach. She was named head women's basketball coach in 1977.

Ryan holds her own basketball camp at Virginia each summer and is a regular speaker at camps and clinics across the country.

632-263 (29 yrs.) Career and Virginia Record

23 Postseason Tournament Appearances
20 Consecutive NCAA Tournament Appearances
12 Trips to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen
Seven Trips to the NCAA Final Eight
Three Trips to the Final Four
One Trip to the NCAA Championship Game

            Overall   ACC
Season      W-L    W-L  Fin.* Post Season/Honors
1977-78    8-17    1-5     6  -
1978-79   16-12    2-4     6  -
1979-80   20-12    3-5     6  NIT Second Round
1980-81   22-10    5-2     2  AIAW First Round
                              VAIAW Coach of the Year
1981-82   17-11    2-5     5  -
1982-83   15-13    4-9     6  -
1983-84    22-7   11-3     1  NCAA First Round
                              ACC Regular-season Champions
                              ACC Coach of the Year
1984-85    21-8    9-5     3  NCAA First Round
1985-86    26-3   13-1     1  NCAA First Round
                              ACC Regular-season Champions
                              ACC Coach of the Year
                              Converse District III Coach of the Year
1986-87    26-5   12-2     1  NCAA Sweet Sixteen
                              ACC Regular-season Champions
                              ACC Coach of the Year
                              Converse District III Coach of the Year
1987-88    27-5   12-2     1  NCAA Final Eight
                              ACC Regular-season Champions
1988-89   21-10    8-6     4  NCAA Sweet Sixteenn
1989-90    29-6   11-3     2# NCAA Final Four
                              ACC Tournament Champions
1990-91    31-3   14-0     1  NCAA Finals
                              Naismith Coach of the Year
                              ACC Coach of the Year
                              ACC Regular-season Champions
1991-92    32-2   15-1     1# NCAA Final Four
                              ACC Tournament Champions
                              ACC Regular-season Champions
1992-93    26-6   13-3     1# NCAA Final Eight
                              ACC Tournament Champions
                              ACC Regular-season Champions
1993-94    27-5   15-1     1  NCAA Sweet Sixteen
                              ACC Regular-season Champions
1994-95    27-5   16-0     1  NCAA Final Eight
                              ACC Regular-season Champions
                              ACC Coach of  the Year
1995-96    26-7   13-3     1  NCAA Final Eight
                              ACC Regular-season Champions
1996-97    23-8   12-4     2  NCAA Sweet Sixteen
1997-98   19-10    9-7     5  NCAA Second Round
1998-99    20-9   12-4     2  NCAA First Round
1999-00    25-9   13-3     1  NCAA Sweet Sixteen
                              ACC Regular-season Champions
                              ACC Coach of the Year
2000-01   18-14    8-8     5  NCAA First Round
2001-02   17-13    9-7     T3 NCAA First Round
2002-03   17-14    9-7     3  NCAA Second Round
2003-04   13-16    6-9     7
2004-05   21-11    8-6     5  NCAA Second Round
2005-06   20-12    5-9     9  WNIT Quarterfinals
Overall 632-263 271-125

*regular-season finish; #ACC Tournament Champions

Dec. 29, 2004
Virginia def. James Madison 98-52
at Charlottesville, Va.

Feb. 21, 1999
Virginia def. Florida State 73-55
at Charlottesville, Va.

Jan. 25, 1995
Virginia def. Maryland 82-48
at College Park, Md.

Mar. 23, 1991
Virginia def. Lamar 85-70
at Austin, Texas

Dec. 28, 1987
Virginia def. Miami (Fla.) 78-69
at Miami, Fla.

Nov. 29, 1983
Virginia def. Duke 72-58
at Durham, N.C.

First Win
Nov. 28, 1977
Virginia def. Virginia Union 54-48
at Charlottesville, Va.

The Coaching History

Coach          Years         Record  Pct.
Barbara Kelly  1974-75        25-12 .676
Dan Bonner     1976-77        22-20 .524
Debbie Ryan    1978-present 632-263 .706
Overall                     678-295 .700

The Coaching Line


Season      W-L    W-L Fin.* Coach
1973-74    10-5      -   -   Barbara Kelly
1974-75    15-7      -   -   Barbara Kelly
1975-76    12-9      -   -   Dan Bonner
1976-77   10-11      -   -   Dan Bonner
1977-78    8-17    1-5   6   Debbie Ryan
1978-79   16-12    2-4   6   Debbie Ryan
1979-80   20-12    3-5   6   Debbie Ryan
1980-81   22-10    5-2   2   Debbie Ryan
1981-82   17-11    2-5   5   Debbie Ryan
1982-83   15-13    4-9   6   Debbie Ryan
1983-84    22-7   11-3   1   Debbie Ryan
1984-85    21-8    9-5   3   Debbie Ryan
1985-86    26-3   13-1   1   Debbie Ryan
1986-87    26-5   12-2   1   Debbie Ryan
1987-88    27-5   12-2   1   Debbie Ryan
1988-89   21-10    8-6   4   Debbie Ryan
1989-90    29-6   11-3   2#  Debbie Ryan
1990-91    31-3   14-0   1   Debbie Ryan
1991-92    32-2   15-1   1#  Debbie Ryan
1992-93    26-6   13-3   1#  Debbie Ryan
1993-94    27-5   15-1   1   Debbie Ryan
1994-95    27-5   16-0   1   Debbie Ryan
1995-96    26-7   13-3   1   Debbie Ryan
1996-97    23-8   12-4   2   Debbie Ryan
1997-98   19-10    9-7   5   Debbie Ryan
1998-99    20-9   12-4   2   Debbie Ryan
1999-00    25-9   13-3   1   Debbie Ryan
2000-01   18-14    8-8   5   Debbie Ryan
2001-02   17-13    9-7   T3  Debbie Ryan
2002-03   17-14    9-7   3   Debbie Ryan
2003-04   13-16    6-9   7   Debbie Ryan
2004-05   21-11    8-6   5   Debbie Ryan
2005-06   20-12    5-9   9   Debbie Ryan
Overall 678-295 270-125
*regular-season finish; #ACC Tournament Champions


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