Ryan Has Big Plans For OSU Wrestling Program

New Ohio State wrestling coach Tom Ryan is excited about the challenge of establishing the Buckeyes as one of the best programs in the nation. Ryan, a former All-American at Iowa, spent the last 11 years as the head coach at Hofstra. We caught up with him for more.

New Ohio State wrestling coach Tom Ryan met with the media on Friday to discuss a wide range of topics.

Ryan, a two-time All-American grappler at Iowa, coached at Hofstra the past 11 years and compiled an overall record of 109-82-2 and led the Pride to a 47-match (46-0-1) unbeaten streak in dual-match action.

Ryan is replacing Russ Hellickson who stepped down following the 2005-06 season.

"I'm fairly mellow, but I am so happy to be here," Ryan said. "I am up for the challenge and I know the staff is too. Once we name them.

"I love the Midwest. It has a laid-back attitude and I just like it. Iowa City was a smaller version of Columbus and I enjoyed myself out there. This is a good place and my wife is from Bloomington, Indiana. So, from a family perspective it was a perfect fit. I couldn't think of a better city to live in. It's heaven on earth so far. Now, we just got to win."

Ryan elaborated on why the OSU job was attractive to him.

"Winning," he said. And family. Family first. It was a great opportunity for my wife to be closer to her family. It's been a goal of mine to win a national championship and I felt this was a place where that could happen. And this is a great academic school. If you look at the average SAT scores of the incoming students, this is a top 25 school nationally. So, there is no reason to lose the top-student athletes to Ivy League schools. This really had everything I was looking for. And then when I got here, I just felt I had to have this job because this place is incredible. So, it's was family, the ability to win, the academic reputation and just the beauties of campus."

As soon as Ryan heard that Hellickson was retiring, he was interested in the OSU position.

"I've known Russ for years and he's a great human being," Ryan said. "So, when the job opened up – there weren't many jobs that could take me from Long Island and Hofstra – but this is one that I was excited about right away."

Ryan wants to win immediately at Ohio State. He knows he needs to lay the foundation for the program, but that doesn't mean the team can't be successful right away.

"In my interview I mentioned that I put a three-month plan together," Ryan said. "I didn't want to go much further than that in terms of building a team. I set realistic goals. One of the people on the committee was a student-athlete here – J. Jaggers. And I liked him immediately. He made the statement of, ‘Coach, this is a now program. We want to win now.' And I liked that fire in him. So, as a staff we will assess the team and I know there's a lot of good people in the room. So, there's no reason why we shouldn't win now. But there's still a process of finding out who is really on board. Who is going to do it. Because talking about it and doing it are two different things. So, I'll know within 90 days of practice starting who is all in. I know I'm all on. And I know all of our coaches will be all in."

Ryan is inheriting one of the top recruits in the nation in Lance Palmer. The four-time state champion from Lakewood St. Edward is expected to be a dominant wrestler in college as well.

"Yeah, excited to have Lance Palmer," Ryan said. "Getting a St. Ed's man in here… I've watched him at high school nationals and I've followed his career. He brings a lot of credibility to our program and Russ did a good job of grabbing him."

One of the complaints that fans had about Hellickson was that he was unable to land enough of Ohio's top high school wrestlers. Ryan plans on reversing that trend.

"Yeah, I've heard the term and I'm going to use it: I want to fence the state in," he said. "We don't want anyone getting out. We know they will, but the plan is certainly to keep the best wrestlers here. I don't see how a student-athlete with a 1,500 on the SAT could come on this campus and not want to come. The place is really that magnificent and that is our plan."

Two-time NCAA heavyweight champion Tommy Rowlands became an assistant coach following his OSU career and Ryan was asked if Rowlands will likely remain on staff.

"I'd like to keep the best big guy from Ohio around," Ryan said. "So, right now, the search is not over yet and I can't throw any names out there really. But, I think when it's all said and done we're going to have a great staff."




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","mobileBody":"New Ohio State wrestling coach Tom Ryan met with the media on Friday to discuss a wide range of topics.

Ryan, a two-time All-American grappler at Iowa, coached at Hofstra the past 11 years and compiled an overall record of 109-82-2 and led the Pride to a 47-match (46-0-1) unbeaten streak in dual-match action.

Ryan is replacing Russ Hellickson who stepped down following the 2005-06 season.

\"I'm fairly mellow, but I am so happy to be here,\" Ryan said. \"I am up for the challenge and I know the staff is too. Once we name them.

\"I love the Midwest. It has a laid-back attitude and I just like it. Iowa City was a smaller version of Columbus and I enjoyed myself out there. This is a good place and my wife is from Bloomington, Indiana. So, from a family perspective it was a perfect fit. I couldn't think of a better city to live in. It's heaven on earth so far. Now, we just got to win.\"

Ryan elaborated on why the OSU job was attractive to him.

\"Winning,\" he said. And family. Family first. It was a great opportunity for my wife to be closer to her family. It's been a goal of mine to win a national championship and I felt this was a place where that could happen. And this is a great academic school. If you look at the average SAT scores of the incoming students, this is a top 25 school nationally. So, there is no reason to lose the top-student athletes to Ivy League schools. This really had everything I was looking for. And then when I got here, I just felt I had to have this job because this place is incredible. So, it's was family, the ability to win, the academic reputation and just the beauties of campus.\"

As soon as Ryan heard that Hellickson was retiring, he was interested in the OSU position.

\"I've known Russ for years and he's a great human being,\" Ryan said. \"So, when the job opened up – there weren't many jobs that could take me from Long Island and Hofstra – but this is one that I was excited about right away.\"

Ryan wants to win immediately at Ohio State. He knows he needs to lay the foundation for the program, but that doesn't mean the team can't be successful right away.

\"In my interview I mentioned that I put a three-month plan together,\" Ryan said. \"I didn't want to go much further than that in terms of building a team. I set realistic goals. One of the people on the committee was a student-athlete here – J. Jaggers. And I liked him immediately. He made the statement of, ‘Coach, this is a now program. We want to win now.' And I liked that fire in him. So, as a staff we will assess the team and I know there's a lot of good people in the room. So, there's no reason why we shouldn't win now. But there's still a process of finding out who is really on board. Who is going to do it. Because talking about it and doing it are two different things. So, I'll know within 90 days of practice starting who is all in. I know I'm all on. And I know all of our coaches will be all in.\"

Ryan is inheriting one of the top recruits in the nation in Lance Palmer. The four-time state champion from Lakewood St. Edward is expected to be a dominant wrestler in college as well.

\"Yeah, excited to have Lance Palmer,\" Ryan said. \"Getting a St. Ed's man in here… I've watched him at high school nationals and I've followed his career. He brings a lot of credibility to our program and Russ did a good job of grabbing him.\"

One of the complaints that fans had about Hellickson was that he was unable to land enough of Ohio's top high school wrestlers. Ryan plans on reversing that trend.

\"Yeah, I've heard the term and I'm going to use it: I want to fence the state in,\" he said. \"We don't want anyone getting out. We know they will, but the plan is certainly to keep the best wrestlers here. I don't see how a student-athlete with a 1,500 on the SAT could come on this campus and not want to come. The place is really that magnificent and that is our plan.\"

Two-time NCAA heavyweight champion Tommy Rowlands became an assistant coach following his OSU career and Ryan was asked if Rowlands will likely remain on staff.

\"I'd like to keep the best big guy from Ohio around,\" Ryan said. \"So, right now, the search is not over yet and I can't throw any names out there really. But, I think when it's all said and done we're going to have a great staff.\"

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