Coach Spotlight: Ryan Thompson

Ryan Thompson is the second head coach in the history of Wittenberg’s men’s volleyball program. This is also his second season coaching the Tigers. He is a native of Elk Grove, Illinois.

Prior to becoming a coach, Thompson was a volleyball player. Thompson was introduced to the sport of volleyball through his older sister, who inspired him to join the sport as well. He fell in love with the sport and was able to play throughout college.

He played collegiate volleyball at Carthage College. Carthage College is one of the best Division III programs in men’s volleyball. While he was a student, he was a part of the team that was National Runner Up in 2005 and 2007. Also, Thompson’s team won the 2004 NIRSA Division II Championship for college club teams in Charlotte, North Carolina.

After graduating, he took an opportunity to coach a club team. While coaching at the club level, he discovered that he loved it and wanted to make coaching his profession. He had tremendous success at the club level and made the transition to the college game. Thompson began his colligate coaching experience as a volunteer assistant coach in 2015 at Marquette University for the women’s volleyball team.

After coaching at Marquette, he became assistant coach at his alma mater. During his tenure, the team won four regular season conference championships, two conference tournaments and was selected to go to the NCAA Men’s Division III Championships twice. In 2014, the team reached the Final Four, and in 2016, the team made it to the Elite Eight. The team was coached by LJ Marx.

Marx serves an important role to Thompson because he was his former player, assistant coach and a mentor. Thompson stills stays in contact with Marx on a regular basis. Thompson is very thankful for Marx when he is struggling and needs some advice. Thompson says it is “fun” coaching against his mentor.

Thompson describes his coaching style as very competitive because he “hate losing.” He creates an environment for his team that is tough but also fun. There are two sides to Thompson: during practice, he is very passionate and intense but during games, he is reserved and only comments when he needs the guys to execute.

Thompson is very thankful for Wittenberg’s campus and the Springfield community because there are more people who are attending their home games. Men’s volleyball is the newest men’s sport that Wittenberg had added to their athletic program. Wittenberg is also the first NCAC school to add a men’s volleyball program before Hiram added their men’s program in 2017.

Thompson is very thankful to be coaching his first graduating class. These seniors will be remembered in history for starting the legacy for the men’s volleyball program. Each year as the team get better and better, they will try to create their own dynasty like the women’s volleyball team.

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