Now in his ninth season at the helm of the Arizona gymnastics program, head coach Bill Ryden has not only continued the tradition of Arizona gymnastics, he has taken the success of the program to a higher level. Ryden has led each of his squads to the Regional Championships, stretching the program’s streak to 20 consecutive appearances and made an NCAA Championship appearance in 2002, the program’s first since 1996.
Ryden also has established himself as one of Arizona’s most decorated head coaches, garnering a few awards to his name honoring his leadership. Ryden was named the 2002 South Central Regional Coach of the Year and the 2002 Pac-10 Coach of the Year, becoming the first head coach in Arizona history to be named Regional Coach of the Year. Ryden owns a career and school record of 108-118-3 in his eight years at Arizona.
In Ryden’s tenure as both Arizona’s head coach and top assistant, he has coached in 15 Pac-10 Championship meets, 12 NCAA Championships and 15 NCAA regional meets. Ryden also trained 12 All-Americans and 18 All-Pac-10 gymnasts at Arizona.
In 2005, with the largest senior class in Ryden’s tenure, the Wildcats earned 24 victories, the most for the program since 1996, when the Wildcats finished with a 36-10 mark. In doing so, Arizona placed second at the Pac-10 Championships, matching their best conference finish in school history. Also, under Ryden’s tutelage, senior Monica Bisordi became the school’s all-time leading scorer and was named 2005 South Central Region Co-Gymnast of the Year.
In 2004, Ryden led his program to new heights. Arizona posted 11 scores in 13 meets that rank on the school’s top-20 all-time list. The Wildcats also posted two scores of 197 or better that season, something only accomplished twice in program history previously. The Wildcats also posted 16 team-event scores that rank on the top-10 all-time list. In addition to the team success, Ryden also coached junior Bisordi to her second straight NCAA Championship appearance where she placed fifth on the floor while on her way to second team All-America honors.
Long considered one of the top collegiate coaches in the country, Ryden is certainly no stranger to Arizona gymnastics. Ryden entered his first season as head coach in 1998-99 after spending the previous eight years coaching alongside former head coach Jim Gault, who retired following the 1998 season. During his tenure as Arizona’s top assistant coach, Ryden was named Midwest Region Assistant Coach of the Year in 1992 and was a member of the USA World University Games coaching staff in 1993.
Ryden, who started at Arizona as an assistant in August 1990, has coached in various capacities, both nationally and internationally, for more than 15 years. He served as USA national team coach in 1989, and from 1988 through 1990, he was head coach at Ryden Gymnastics in Littleton, Colo. From 1984 to 1988, he was a Class I/Elite coach at the Denver School of Gymnastics, where he coached former Arizona standout Diane Monty and former Wildcats Andrea Walters and Nancy Milberger during their club gymnastics career. Prior to that, in 1983, he was the head coach of the Arizona Twisters in Mesa, Ariz.
Not surprising, given his coaching proficiency, Ryden has an impressive background as a gymnast himself. He competed both nationally and internationally for Arizona State University from 1978 to 1983 where he was a three-year letterwinner, and during his senior year, Ryden was ranked second in the nation on the horizontal bar.
Ryden earned a B.S.E. in aerospace engineering from Arizona State University in 1983. He worked as a senior engineer at Martin Marietta Denver Aerospace from 1984 to 1990, conducting analysis on ICBM missiles and developing proprietary software systems among other tasks. He has further studies in biomechanics, anatomy and physiology, sports psychology and computer software systems.