|Position:||Head Women's Water Polo Coach|
Arriving at the Institute in September of 2014, Ryan Pryor is poised for his sixth season at VMI as the team enters its ninth year of existence in 2020.
Pryor led the Keydets to their third-straight winning season in 2019 with a 16-14 record and a third-consecutive MAAC Tournament berth. Senior Sarah Dolitsky earned second-team all-conference honors and finished her career in second-place for goals scored. She also set the program record with eight tallies in an early-season match against Macalester. Red-shirt freshman McKenna Imset shattered the old program mark for goals by a rookie and joined Dolitsky on the MAAC's second-team squad.
From 2017-18, Pryor led the program to unprecedented levels by amassing 42 wins (22 in 2017, 20 in 2018) paced by Shelby Barkley '18 and Natalie Rivas '18. After scoring a program record 107 goals in 2018, Barkley was named the program's first ever All-American presented by the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches. Barkley finished her career with 314 goals, shattering the previous school record of 191, as she ended her career a two-time First Team All-MAAC recipient and two-time Secon Team All-MAAC honoree. Rivas was also named to the All-MAAC First Team in 2018 a year after claiming Second Team All-MAAC honors.
Given the Institute's Nathaniel W. Pendleton award for excellence in coaching in 2017, Pryor led VMI to its first postseason appearance in program history as the Keydets qualified for the MAAC Tournament as a No. 3 seed. For these accomplishments, Pryor was named the 2017 MAAC Coach of the Year. The Keydets again qualified for the MAAC Tournament in 2018, this time as a No. 4 seed.
In 2017, the Keydets defeated MAAC foes Marist (ranked No. 23) once and Iona College twice, both schools that VMI had never been defeated in the first five years of the program. He also coached freshman Isabel French to MAAC Rookie of the Year honors as she led the league in saves with 286 for the year.
Over the past four years under Pryor's watch, 10 Keydets have been recognized on the MAAC All-Academic team. VMI also received its first national ranking in program history on April 19, 2017, as the Keydets earned a No. 25 ranking.
Pryor came to the Institute after a brief stop in Providence, Rhode Island at Brown University. Prior to his time with Brown's program, he served as the acting head coach for men's and women's water polo at Connecticut College, stepping in midway through the 2014 season. During his tenure as the interim, the women's program captured the Collegiate Water Polo Association's Division III championship.
From July 2011 to April 2014, Pryor was the assistant coach for both programs in New London, Connecticut. In addition to organizing practices and designing the offensive and defensive structures for both programs, Pryor served as the primary recruiter, including initial contact, evaluation and arrangement of campus visits. He was an integral part of the programs going from 35 percent recruited student-athletes to over 82 percent, in addition to carrying the largest rosters in program history.
While at Connecticut College, Pryor saw both programs achieve a high level of success, both in the pool and out. Under his guidance, the men's program finished third in the CWPA Division III Championships in 2012 and earning the program's first-ever rankings, No. 10 in 2012 and No. 12 in 2013. The men's team was also ranked in the top 10 for team GPA all three seasons, including fifth in 2013.
On the women's side, the Camels won back-to-back conference championships in 2013 and 2014 while becoming the only Division III team to reach the CWPA Eastern Championships, finishing ninth in 2013 and eighth in 2014. The Camels had a potent offense under Pryor, leading Division III in scoring during those same seasons, earning Connecticut College its first rankings on the women's side, eighth in 2013 and ninth in 2014. The women's team was also ranked third in team GPA in 2012 and held the top spot in 2013.
Before Connecticut College, Pryor was the head coach for the University of Michigan women's club water polo team. His duties included organizing and distributing practice plans, running drills and other tasks to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of practice. The squad went 27-1 during his tenure as the club coach, claiming the Big Ten championship and finishing third in the country among club teams.
A standout in his own right, Pryor was a four-time All-Big Ten selection in 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009, while earning CWPA All-America honors in his final season. Pryor has four years of coaching experience at the high school level as well, leading those teams to program records for wins in each season.
Pryor has earned three degrees from the University of Michigan, graduating in 2007 with a pair of bachelor of arts degrees in English and communications studies. In May 2010, Pryor completed his juris doctor degree from the University of Michigan Law School.