The No. 18 Arizona women's gymnastics team opens the post-season conference competition in the 2013 NCAA Columbus Regional
Now in his 15th 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 26 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 194-186-3 in his 15 years at Arizona.
In Ryden's tenure as both Arizona's Head Coach and top assistant, he has coached in 22 Pac-12 or Conference Championship meets, 18 NCAA Championships and 22 NCAA Regional Championships. Ryden also trained 15 gymnasts to 29 All-American Awards and 29 gymnasts All-Pac-12 or All-Conferenceawards at Arizona.
In 2012 Ryden led the team to a regular season record of 13-5 as well as the program's 26th consecutive post season appearance, which ended with a bang as senior Katie Matusik and then junior Aubree Cristello qualified to compete at the NCAA Championships. Cristello had success as an all-around competitor, while Ryden coached Matusik to a national third place title on the balance beam.
2011 marked the 25th consecutive postseason appearance for the Wildcats, as Ryden led the team to fourth and fifth place victories at the Pac-10 Championships and NCAA Regional Championships (respectively).
Despite an injury filled beginning, Ryden coached the Wildcats to a 24th consecutive postseason appearance, as well as a third place finish at the NCAA Regional Championships in the 2010 season. Ryden also coached three Wildcats (Deanna Graham, Molly Quirk and Aubree Cristello) to Pac-10 All-Conference awards for all-around.
In 2009, the 12th-year head coach helped the Wildcats reach their 23rd consecutive postseason. A year earlier, Ryden led Arizona to its first victory on rival ArizonaState's home turf in 22 years after regularly having success against the Sun Devils in Tucson. That same season, the gymnastics team earned the Team GPA and Community Service awards handed out by the school, and Karin Wurm was named the inaugural Pac-10 Scholar Athlete of the Year.
In 2007, Ryden led a talented team to a 19-9 overall record, including a fourth-place finish at the Pac-10 Championships and a third-place finish at the South Central Regional Championships. Most importantly, Ryden has spearheaded the construction of Arizona's new training facility on campus, a facility that rivals the top gymnastics training centers in the country. For the second year in a row and third in four years, the team won the Director's Cup for Community Service.
Even after replacing six seniors, including the school's all-time leading scorer Monica Bisordi, Ryden led the 2006 Wildcats to a #13 national finish and into the postseason for the 20th straight year. Junior Aubrey Taylor and Sophomore Karin Wurm emerged as gymnasts to contend with at the national level as both represented Arizona at the NCAA Championships. The Wildcat Gymnastics team won the Director's Cup for Community Service for the second time in three years.
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. The team won the Director's Cup for Community Service.
In an injury plagued season in 2003, Arizona made two appearances in the top-10 nationally and recorded 12 new scores worthy of the all-time top-10 list. The 2003 season also marked the school's high in a meet when the Wildcats earned a 197.375 in a meet 3/14/03 against Oklahoma.
Ryden made his first appearance at the NCAA Championship meet as a head coach in 2002, leading the Wildcats to an 11th place national finish and a 19-13 overall record. This was also the season Ryden was named Pac-10 Conference Coach of the Year and South Central Regional Coach of the Year. In the Pac-10 Championships, Arizona recorded a school record 49.550 in the vault that still stands today. Ryden also coached two Gymcats, Randi Liljenquist and Stevie Fanning, to a pair of Pac-10 Championships in the floor and beam respectively.
In 2001, Arizona finished the season No. 18 nationally behind Ryden and ended the year third in the NCAA South Central Regional. A big highlight of the 2001 season came against North Carolina State, when the team set the school record for uneven bars with a 49.475 score.
In his sophomore season as the Arizona head coach, Ryden led the Wildcats all the way to a No. 20 end of the season ranking and finished fourth at the NCAA Region III Championships. He also coached Arizona legend Heidi Hornbeek to an AAI American Award.
Ryden took over the Wildcats beginning with the 1999 season after being an Arizona assistant for eight year and was a success right from the start. His first team posted four event scores that at the time ranked in the top-five on Arizona's all-time performances list.
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 ArizonaStateUniversity 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 ArizonaStateUniversity 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.