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Meet SHS's New Varsity Basketball Head Coach

Submitted 13 days ago
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Les St.Pierre

"Basketball is my Passion"

In case you haven't heard, Stevens High School has a new varsity basketball head coach. 

“I really wanted the position,” Dan Ryan related in an interview last week. “I'm thrilled! I feel I have the talent to draw up in this community a sustaining program for basketball. I am interested in the kids. I am not interested in personal well-being in being the varsity coach. I am interested in the kids to be able to perform admirably at the high school level and to be competitive.”

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Ryan is not exactly a stranger in these parts, having lived in Claremont for the past seven years serving as a volunteer assistant in the hoop program at the high school. When the head coaching position opened following the resignation of Matthew Baird-Torney, a move which caught Ryan completely off guard, Ryan applied for the job.

“It was in the hands of the athletic director,” Ryan pointed out. “He was the one who hired me. He (Doug Beaupre) was familiar to me. I go to as many football, basketball, and baseball games that I can, both home and away, so I am a fixture and Doug is aware of that. But whether or not that is the reason I got hired I don't know. I never want to know who else applied because it always runs through your head, 'Am I better than that guy?’ I wanted it to be a hire for my skills, not because the other guy was deemed bad. I am hoping I got hired because of my experience.” 

At the age of 72, that experience is a multi-faceted commodity, and Ryan is sure it will pay off. 

“It can't hurt,” Ryan stated in regards to the experience he possesses on the hardwood floor. “It can only help. I have seen so much basketball in my life. Basketball is my passion.”

Originally from Boston, Ryan attended Cardinal Spellman High School in Brockton, MA. It was only natural his athletic nature, in particular liking the sport of basketball, would, in his younger days, allow him to drift toward following the NBA Boston Celtics. He admitted his heroes during his youth were Red Auerbach, Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, and Tommy Heinsohn.

Ryan followed up his high school days with assistant coaching stints at Belknap College (now defunct) in Center Harbor, NH, Plymouth State College, and a long time at Inter-Lakes High School in Meredith, NH. While at Inter-Lakes he was the junior varsity coach for 15 years before rising to the head coach position, which he held for eight years. In those eight years, the first two were, in his words, “dismal” before the Lakers blossomed into competitiveness reaching the finals three times, but never winning a state championship.

Health issues became a major roadblock for Ryan over time and he eventually went under the knife as doctors had to remove a tumor in his brain. The brain surgery left him with bouts of seizures, a condition now firmly fixed due to medication prescribed by doctors at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. It was advice from DHMC prompting Ryan to move closer to the medical facility. He, in turn, left the Lakes Region and settled in Claremont.

These last seven years has enabled Ryan to get his feet wet and to become familiar with the school and its students and athletes. Now he has the task of guiding the Cardinals boys to basketball wizardry in a 22-team Division II.

“I am going to initiate a lot of different things,” Ryan stressed. “I am going to play man-to-man and we are going to be a transition team. Matt didn't run much. We are going to use three-man screen plays, pick plays to get us generated to start to play a free-lance offense.” Paul Silva, the head football coach, will remain as an assistant hoop mentor, and Scott Spaulding will return as the junior varsity coach. 

To date, Ryan has seen upcoming hoopsters in summer league play and has not particularly cared for what he has seen on the courts.

“Right now these kids aren't going to be competitive because they lack the fundamentals,” Ryan noted. “I want to make sure they come out of the youth league prepared to go into middle school and when they come out of there they should be ready to be able to be competitive at the high school level. If you are not ready to use your off hand, you are not fundamentally sound. You are not going to be ready to compete. Right now there are seven varsity eligible kids who can't use their off hand. That is what I am going to address."
Ryan, with the help of Claremont Savings Bank Community Center staff member Justin Martin, has an opportunity to speak at a Claremont Youth League Coach's Clinic November 20 to address that particular concern of his.

“Keep it simple,” Ryan said. “That is my philosophy. Just go out and play basketball!”
Dec. 14 Laconia 7:00 p.m.
18 at Lebanon 6:30 p.m.
21 at Oyster River 6:30 p.m.
Jan. 02 Fall Mountain 5:30 p.m.
04 Merrimack Valley 7:00 p.m.
08 Hanover 7:00 p.m.
11 Bow 7:00 p.m.
15 at Newport 7:00 p.m.
18 at Hollis-Brookline 6:30 p.m.
25 at Coe-Brown Northwood 6:30 p.m.
29 at Fall Mountain 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 01 Plymouth 7:00 p.m.
08 at Con-Val 6:30 p.m.
12 Newport 7:00 p.m.
15 at John Stark 6:30 p.m.
19 at Kearsarge 6:30 p.m.
26 Souhegan 7:00 p.m.
Mar. 01 Kearsarge 7:00 p.m. 

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