Metro State steals Strain from SIU baseball team
Southern Illinois University (SIU) assistant baseball coach Ryan Strain, who was influential in revamping the Salukis' production on the base path last season, has a new path himself: head coach at Metro State University in Denver.
Strain, a native of Denver, has been the hitting coach at SIU for the past seven seasons. In an SIU press release, SIU head coach Ken Henderson said he is happy for Strain and that he has what it takes to succeed as a head coach. Under Strain's guidance, 13 SIU players earned All Missouri Valley Conference honors.
One of his biggest accomplishments at SIU came last season when he introduced a new plan for running the bases. The Salukis more than doubled their stolen base count, ranking 11th nationally and finishing the year with 100 stolen bases -- their best count since 1991.
“This is a good hire by Metro State and a great opportunity for Ryan to be a head coach and return to his hometown," Henderson said in the release. "I am happy for him, his wife Katie, and their family. I also appreciate his hard work and loyalty to Saluki Baseball over the past seven years. We will look forward to following his future success and wish him all the best."
In the same press release, Strain said his time at SIU helped him develop into a better coach.
“I will always look back at my time in Carbondale with fond memories,” Strain said. “Thank you to all the support staff that helped me along the way, and thank you to the Saluki fans. Great times are ahead for the baseball program.”
Strain started his collegiate coaching career at the University of Northern Colorado (UNC), where he served as an assistant coach from 2008-2010. He was the hitting coach and also oversaw infield defense. The team set 28 school records, and in Strain's last year there, the Bears finished with an overall record of 34-24 and a conference record of 22-6.
Last season, Metro State finished the season with a 27-25 overall record and went 19-16 in conference play. Strain will be the 12th head coach in program history
Before becoming a coach, Strain played baseball at North Carolina State University, then transferred to the University of Nevada. After college, he spent two years playing minor league baseball in the San Francisco Giants organization and one wth the Rockford RiverHawks of the Frontier League.