Debbie Ryan Resigns as UVA Head Women's Basketball Coach
The University of Virginia is losing its longest tenured head coach.
Women's basketball coach Debbie Ryan resigned Saturday, effective at the end of this season.
Ryan is stepping down after 34 years leading the Cavalier program. She also served as an assistant coach for two years before becoming head coach.
Ryan has won 736 games at Virginia. The 58-year-old is one of nine active Division 1 women's coaches with more than 700 career wins.
Her teams have made 24 NCAA Tournaments, including three straight Final Fours from 1990-92.
The 'Hoos also made 12 Sweet 16s under Ryan, including eleven straight years from 1987-1997, but the team hasn't made it there since 2000.
Ryan's career record is 736-323, and her teams have won 20 or more games 23 times.
Ryan was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008.
She's won eleven regular season conference championships and 3 ACC Tournament titles. She earned ACC Coach of the Year seven times and National Coach of the Year in 1991.
Ryan also served as a head coach for USA Basketball six times.
UVA finished 16-15 this season.
Ryan said, "I am not retiring per se, but I feel we have not lived up to my own standards and expectations this past year and I want to do what is best for our program and the university."
Ryan will coach the team if its selected for postseason play.
A national search for her replacement begins immediately.
"I have loved every minute of my career as the women's head basketball coach at UVa," said Ryan. "I am leaving the program in excellent condition as we have great players here and on the way. In the immediate future I will remain in Charlottesville and choose an area of the university that fits my skills."
Ryan said, "This has been a great ride for me. It's been really fun. It's been the best years of my life. I love this University, and this has been really difficult for me."
She built the Virginia women's basketball program into a perennial NCAA Tournament team, including the three straight Final Fours from 1990-92.
Ryan said, "I cherish those years, but I'll be honest with you, I cherish every single year. Those years do not stand out any more to me than this year does. It's not as much about what you achieve as about what you've been able to do with the people that you achieved it with."
Ryan said, "I'm just real proud to be able to say I was a part of it, and that I helped some things along the way, and that I helped to develop some really, really great young women."
As for the next UVA coach, Ryan says that person will likely have some tie to her.
Ryan said, "I've been in this thing for 30 years, and don't you think I know everybody? I'm not saying it necessarily is going to come from Virginia roots I would hope it would, but I'm not the person making the decision."
Ryan also did not rule out coaching somewhere else in the future.