April 13th, 2017
Hyland's Heroes: Dan Ryan
The following feature is a part of a bi-weekly series, sponsored by Hyland Insurance. "Hyland's Heroes" is a series of profiles that spotlight Louisville area Catholic volunteers, coaches and administrators who assist athletic programs and teams, and help promote excellence in all aspects of sports.
St. Michael athletic director Dan Ryan is this week’s Hyland’s Hero.
When and how did you get your start with St. Michael?
In 2003 I volunteered to coach my youngest daughter's, Brooke, 3/4th grade basketball team. That was my first taste of volunteering at St. Michael. Two years later I became athletic director at St. Michael.
Who asked you to contribute or what got you involved?
Like most parents my kids involvement got me involved in coaching. I am glad she did as I still coach girls basketball at St. Michael even though all my kids are older. As far as athletic director that is another story. I coached the previous athletic director's, Kirk Senn, daughter in basketball. At the year-end banquet he approached me about joining the athletic board as the assistant AD. I didn't know anything about being an assistant AD but he was convincing and told me I would only have to help him a little. What he didn't tell me was his term was ending in two months and the assistant AD becomes the Athletic Director at that time. I found that out two months into it as a surprise at the May meeting. That July i became Athletic Director.
What’s the connection with your faith and giving your time to student athletes?
My connection came with a sense of calling from God to try and do something of value in young people’s lives. I firmly believe God puts you in positions to use your talents to try and do good things. I get to do both in being a volunteer coach and AD.
Who was the most influential person on your volunteer career? Why?
My Dad, Sam Ryan, is definitely the most influential people on my volunteer career. We grew up in the St. Ignatius Catholic Community here is Louisville. My dad coached football for years and I always got to tag along. He also worked the softball field, chicken dinners, picnics, men’s club, etc. He was always making a difference in his players lives as well as a difference in the parish. It's the way we were brought up. It was a way of life and has made for lifelong friends and memories.
What are your major themes/principle as a volunteer?
As far as a coach I try and make sure my players know how special they all are. They are strong individuals and they need to perform to the best of their talents all the time. As an AD my main theme is to try and put programs in place for the opportunity for our kids to be good Christians. If that happens then in turn I believe the foundation is set so they can find their calling later in life and will accept it.
What does your role at St. Michael bring your family?
I hope in the long run it instills them to make a difference in someone's life for the right reasons. To feel good about making that difference while expecting nothing in return.
What are the fondest experiences or memories you have of your volunteer time?
Coaching my kids certainly will always be a memory I will cherish. Along with that privilege, my fondest experience has been all the relationships that I have been fortunate enough to forge over the years. Volunteering has given me lasting friendships/memories for a lifetime. Whether it’s going and watching former players continue their playing careers, socializing, or working tireless hours.