Virginia women's basketball head coach of 34 years Debbie Ryan will be stepping down following this season, according to the official Virginia release earlier this morning. Including her two years serving as assistant head coach, Ryan has been bringing relevance to Virginia Women's Basketball for all but two years of the program's existence.
While at Virginia, Ryan earned a 736-323 record, and is one of only eight active Division I women's coaches to have broken the 700-win mark. Her teams won 20 or more games 23 times and 30 or more twice, and under Ryan, has madde it to the NCAA Tournament 24 times. She also made three straight Final Four appearances from 1990-92.
Virginia finished the season 16-15 (5-9 ACC), and fell to Wake Forest in the first round of the ACC Tournament.
"In the immediate future I will remain in Charlottesville and choose an area of the University that fits my skills," Ryan said in the official release. "The Emily Couric Cancer Treatment Center is of particular interest to me, but I have not settled on anything yet.
"I have loved every minute of my career as the women's head basketball coach at UVa. I have been blessed to work in a nurturing environment with exceptional young women, truly dedicated coaches and talented administrators and colleagues."
"Debbie Ryan is an iconic figure in women's basketball," said Virginia President Teresa A. Sullivan. "I first became aware of her and her influence on the sport while I was at UT-Austin. After arriving in Charlottesville, I soon learned that she's also an icon in the fight against cancer. Debbie exhibited the same courage and determination in leading the University's young women on the court as she did in her own struggle with cancer.
"Throughout her 36 years at the University of Virginia, Debbie Ryan has been the model for dignity, dedication, class and courage," athletics director Craig Littlepage said. "No one has a greater love for the University of Virginia and I'm grateful for all of her contributions to our women's basketball program and our department. In addition to her contributions to the game nationally, her impact has been felt on the international basketball scene as well.