Tulsa names alum, former assistant Ryan Wills as newest head coach
TULSA, Okla. -- After three years as an assistant coach at Alabama, Ryan Wills returns to his alma mater as the Golden Hurricane's head coach, it was announced on Monday by TU vice president & director of athletics Derrick Gragg.
Wills was born and raised in Tulsa and graduated from Wright Christian Academy before attending Tulsa. He earned his bachelor's degree from TU in business administration in 2008.
Wills spent the past three seasons at Alabama under former Tulsa head coach Ed Allen. During those three years, the Crimson Tide posted an overall 53-44 record, including the most wins in school history with a 24-10 mark in the 2013 season. The 2013 Tide team also made an appearance in the NCAA tournament. Before joining Allen at Alabama, the Tide had won just 19 matches the previous two seasons before posting 29 in Wills' first two years there.
"I'm excited to return to my alma mater and lead the volleyball program into a new era as we enter the American Athletic Conference. The University of Tulsa is a first-class university that attracts the right kind of student-athletes," Wills said. "We have a lot of work ahead of us to keep positioning Tulsa volleyball as a top contender in the American Athletic Conference."
Before joining Alabama, Wills was an assistant coach for the Golden Hurricane for the 2010 season under Allen. Tulsa posted a school-record 31 wins, including 30 consecutive victories, and winning the program's first NCAA tournament match with a victory against 15th-ranked LSU. TU finished the 2010 season with a 31-3 overall record, a 20-0 mark in Conference USA play, a conference regular-season crown, and ranked No. 20 in the country in the AVCA Coaches poll.
"Ryan is an excellent hire for the University of Tulsa," Allen said. "You've got a guy who's very sold on being at Tulsa. It's a great opportunity for him to be able to be a head coach for the first time at a place that we both think is pretty special."
Wills was a student assistant coach at Tulsa for the 2006-07 seasons and helped the Golden Hurricane win its first Conference USA regular-season title in 2006, followed by the program's first C-USA tournament championship and NCAA tournament appearance in '07. Tulsa compiled an overall 54-15 record during those two seasons.
After his graduation from Tulsa in 2008, Wills was a volunteer coach at UCLA for two seasons (2008-09) under now-retired head coach and National Volleyball Hall of Famer Andy Banachowski, the all-time winningest Division I women's volleyball coach and winner of six national championships.
UCLA reached the NCAA regional semifinals in 2008 and the NCAA second round in '09. Wills helped train three AVCA All-Americans, two Pac-10 Conference Freshmen of the Year performers and one AVCA National Freshman of the Year. The Bruins posted a 46-20 record in those two seasons and was ranked as high as sixth nationally.