By Dan Stillwell
Register-Herald Sports Writer
Summers County girls basketball coach Wayne Ryan has been named a finalist for the 2014 Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s High School Coach of the Year Award, the Pat Summit Trophy.
One of the winningest coaches in West Virginia history, Ryan has guided Summers County for 19 campaigns. He achieved his 400th career victory this season as the Lady Bobcats compiled a 20-4 record and earned a spot in the Class AA state tournament quarterfinals.
Summers won state championships in 2000, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. The 2008-2010 teams each went 28-0.
Ryan, 49, now has a varsity record of 406-92. His six state championships ties him with Huntington St. Joseph’s Shannon Lewis for tops among all active varsity coaches, both girls and boys.
News of the nomination caught Ryan by surprise.
“I didn’t even know I had been nominated until West Liberty’s coach sent me a text to congratulate me,” he said. “Several months ago (WBCA) had called and asked me for a resume. That’s all I know.”
Ryan is the nominee from Region 2, which includes Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The winner will be selected from nine regional finalists.
Criteria for the award are (1) team success during current season; (2) team improvement from previous season; (3) fulfillment of team potential and (4) professional manner and attitude of coach.
“It’s an honor to be a finalist. We’re in a region with New York and New Jersey. There’s a lot of basketball there,” Ryan said. “This is an honor for girls basketball in the state.”
Ryan has coached one state player of the year, Jolysa Brown in 2008, and four runners-up in Brown (2007), Emily Blevins (2009), Hallie Gunnoe (2010, 2011) and Candace Brown (2012).
He’s had 23 players who earned spots on the West Virginia Sports Writers Association’s all-state first, second and third teams. Senior center Brandy Morrison is the latest first-teamer, joining Sharon Yopp (1995), Laura Rollyson-Howell (1996, 1997), Rachel Pack (1998), Amanda Williams (1999, 2000), Brandi Basham (2001, 2003), Amy Bowling (2002), Joanna Mills (2004), Sierra Brown (2005, 2006), Jolysa Brown (2007, 2008), Blevins (2008, 2009), Gunnoe (2009, 2010, 2011), Leslie Mack (2010, 2011), Hanna Gunnoe (2011) and Candace Brown (2012).
“The key is we have a good basketball program,” Ryan said. “We run a youth league and watch our middle school close. We have to develop the kids we have.”
He readily shares credit for his success.
“A coach doesn’t have a successful career without having good players and a good coaching staff.”