The new varsity water polo program at Augustana College in Illinois has tabbed Ryan Pryor to be it’s first head coach. Pryor resigned from his position with the Virginia Military Institute after six-year run during which its womens’ team saw marked improvement, finishing the abbreviated 2020 season with a 12-1 record. He will lead both the Vikings’ men’s and women’s varsity programs.
The Michigan native departs Lexington having led the Keydets to four consecutive winning seasons and three straight Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Tournament berths. In 2017 VMI honored him with its Nathaniel W. Pendleton award for excellence in coaching. That same year he earned MAAC Coach of the Year honors.
“I am thrilled that Augustana was able to attract an experienced coach and mentor to launch our men’s and women’s water polo programs,” commented Director of Athletics Mike Zapolski. “Ryan’s past coaching experiences, myriad of contacts and the added benefit of a new, state-of-the-art facility will serve him well in the recruiting process as he builds a highly competitive program.”[Augustana Athletics]
The Vikings will begin competition as members of the Collegiate Water Polo Association in the 2021-22 scholastic year.
Okay, I haven’t been paying attention. This is a GREAT catch by Total Waterpolo b/c Pryor’s departure from VMI represents some key considerations (IMO):
– Graduation of VMI all-time great goalie Isabel French (988 career saves) will REALLY affect Keydets in 2021
– The program peaked in 2020 (12-1 – amazing for a team that in 2014, year before Pryor arrived had 20 losses); getting higher that 4th in MAAC was too much to ask
– It’s hard to recruit girls for water polo at a military academy (I think that’s obvious); Pryor did an OUTSTANDING job at this
Good for Augustana / Pryor; bad for VMI (but, there’s another Ryan Pryor out there!)
The question is: who is that other Ryan Pryor?! What do you and everyone else think?