Joe Ryan, Ascension Catholic High School Girls and Boys Powerlifting Coach
- High School: Denham Springs High School
- Spent four seasons as Head Powerlifting Coach at Ascension Catholic
- Began teaching at Denham Springs in January, while still coaching the Ascension Catholic's powerlifting team
- Will be starting Denham Springs' first-ever Powerlifting Team next school year
- Girls team just won the third-straight Division V Powerlifting State Championship, while the boys team placed third. It is the first time the ACHS boys team placed in the top three since 1992.
- Girls team had seven individuals place first in their weight class, with two being named "Most Outstanding Lifters." Boys team had two athletes place first in their weight class.
Your girls team just won their third straight Division V State Championship, and seven girls placed first in their weight class with two being named Most Outstanding Lifters. With a team that has been so dominant the past few years, what is the key to keeping them motivated?
"Well the thing I told everybody was that everyone is expendable. No one is guaranteed a spot every year. Between my first and second year, I lost five seniors and had a lot of freshmen come in. So, that just shows anyone can get the job done. You have to work hard day-in and day-out to earn that spot."
Your boys team placed third this year, the first time to place top three since 1992. What was it like to see this group of young men taste success for the first time in a long while?
"It was awesome. Going in, we really expected that we could win. The kids were confident and were running on a big high after the regional meet. So it was really awesome to see the guys, especially those seniors who have been working hard their entire careers to be able to see their hard work pay off."
You just finished up your fourth season as Ascension Catholic's head powerlifting coach, and next year you are heading to your alma mater, Denham Springs, to start the school's very first powerlifting program. Is this something you knew you always wanted to do or did the opportunity just present itself and you felt obligated to do it?
"When I got into this profession it was a dream of mine to come back to Denham. Denham gave me so much as an athlete. Without the coaches, teachers and administrators, I never would've made it to college. Because of them I went to college, and I owe them everything for that. Also, I get to start this program from the ground-up, so that's really special."
What is the best advice you've received from one of your mentors or a veteran coach?
"One of my mentors has been Steve Baronich, the Woodlawn (BR) Head Powerlifting Coach. He's always just told me that once things start, there is no control in stopping them. I took on a big task holding powerlifting meets. It's not the easiest task as a young 25, 26-year-old, so you just have to be prepared. Another big mentor of mine is Chandra Ewen, a volleyball coach at Dutchtown. She's always just told me to do the best I can with the opportunity that presents itself."