Ashes to ashes: Phoenix coach Ryan fired


The other shoe finally dropped. After two and a half seasons, Green Bay has fired head coach Will Ryan, the university announced Tuesday. Ryan leaves Green Bay with a career record of 15-61, including a 2-19 record this season. He went 13-37 in Horizon League games. Assistant Coach Freddie Owens has been named the interim head coach.

The firing comes on the tail of a four-game homestand that saw the Phoenix lose by 32, 21, 16, and 34 points. Their only wins this year have come over IUPUI and UMKC.

Coach Ryan replaced Linc Darner, who in his five years with the team was 51-39 in conference games and led them to three postseason tournaments, including the NCAA Tournament in 2016.

Ryan was hired in June, 2020 to a six-year contract. His only head coaching experience came the year before. He had just led D-II Wheeling University to a 14-13 record after being picked to finish last in their conference. Before then, he was an assistant coach at Ohio and North Dakota State.

The Will Ryan era has been disappointing to say the least. After the team went 8-17 in his first year, it’s been all downhill. Multiple promising young players, such as Amari Davis and Kamari McGee, transferred away during his tenure, and the transfers that he’s brought in largely haven’t been able to contribute to winning. The Phoenix finished last season 343 at KenPom, and currently sit at 360, fourth lowest in all of D-I.

Green Bay currently has three players committed to this year’s recruiting class, all of whom are from Wisconsin. With Signing Day not until April, it remains to be seen which players, if any, remain committed.

Green Bay hired Josh Moon as the Athletic Director in July, 2021. He’ll now look to make his own hire. The school is on the hook to pay the remainder of Ryan’s contract, a total of $568,750 over the next three years. They’ll finish paying Darner’s buyout in April.

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