PISCATAWAY, NJ – Rutgers University wrestling head coach John Sacchi announced the hiring of Joseph Ryan as an assistant coach with the program. Ryan replaces long-time assistant coach Mike Leta, who announced his retirement at the conclusion of the 2004-05 season after nine years with the program.
“I am extremely sad to see Mike leave us after so many great years together,” Sacchi said. “He was an integral part of our success and will be missed.”
“We feel we have added a proven winner and dedicated individual in Joe Ryan,” said Sacchi. “He has a wealth of coaching experience and his successful track record warrants credit. Joe is a dedicated and enthusiastic recruiter, which is the life blood of any program. He is well known and respected throughout New Jersey and neighboring states. Joe will have an immediate impact in this program and I look forward to working with him.”
Ryan will begin immediately and assume the assistant coaching responsibilities along with his role as the program’s recruiting coordinator. He will also work closely with all the administrative responsibilities of the program.
“I am excited to be back in New Jersey coaching New Jersey’s team,” said Ryan. “Coach Sacchi is one of the leaders in Division I victories and I am proud to assist him in the continued success of the program.”
Ryan, who grew up in River Edge, NJ, and currently resides in Rahway, comes to Rutgers after four seasons as the head coach at Wagner College in Staten Island, NY, where he oversaw all facets of the program.
Prior to his stint at Wagner, Ryan spent four seasons at nearby Seton Hall University, including three seasons as head coach. Under his tutelage, Seton Hall posted a 35-13 record from 1998-2001 with six NCAA qualifiers and four Academic All-Americans during that span. The Pirates were ranked among the top-25 on the National Wrestling Coaches Association All-Academic list, with three individuals earning Student-Athlete of the Year honors. Ryan guided the 2000 SHU squad to a 15-4 overall record and a No. 30 national ranking in the final poll. Ryan’s recruiting efforts landed high school All-Americans and state champions from New Jersey and around the country. The Pirates wrestled a challenging schedule with Ryan at the helm, facing off against several nationally-ranked teams.
Prior to joining the Seton Hall coaching staff, Ryan spent seven years as the head wrestling coach at Northern Valley Regional High School in Demarest, NJ. He guided Northern Valley Regional to five conference titles and 59 consecutive match victories. Ryan was named the NJSIAA District VIII Coach of the Year on three different occasions. Prior to taking over as the head coach, he served five years as the school’s assistant wrestling coach.
Ryan was a three-year starter for national power Lock Haven University, where he placed in several tournaments.
He graduated from River Dell Regional High School in Oradell, NJ, where he was a two-time captain and state qualifier, as well as a freestyle state champion and Greco-Roman National Champion.