PELLA, Iowa -- Ryun Ferrell, who piloted Drake to a pair of Missouri Valley Conference titles and most recently led a resurgent program at Northern Illinois, is the new Central men’s and women’s coach.
Ferrell was the women’s tennis coach at Drake from 1999-2006 and has since served as the women’s coach at Northern Illinois. At Central he follows Steve Tyler, who retired after six years with the Dutch men’s and women’s teams.
Under Ferrell, Drake captured the Missouri Valley crown and an NCAA tourney berth in 2000, and a share of the league title in 2005. He posted an 81-76 dual meet record, including a 51-19 (.728) mark in conference matches. Seven Drake players earned all-league recognition during his tenure. He also served as a teaching professional at the Des Moines Golf and Country Club as well as the Wakonda Club.
At Northern Illinois, Ferrell faced a rebuilding job. His teams posted a 57-104 (.354) record in eight seasons, giving him an overall mark of 138-180 over 15 years. But his squad posted a 14-10 mark in 2012-13, the Huskies’ highest win total in 16 years.
“We feel that Ryun has had tremendous experience and success at a variety of levels over 20 years of coaching,” athletics director Eric Van Kley said. “Most importantly, he’s equally passionate about developing student-athletes both off the court and on.
Ferrell said there are a lot of reasons he gave up a Division I job to join the Dutch.
“No. 1, Central is a great place to be,” he said. “Eric Van Kley is an amazing salesman and I can’t wait to work with him. Central’s a great school and I think we can be really successful here. Central’s got a great academic program, it’s got facilities, it’s in a good conference, Central’s got it all.”
Ferrell noted he won’t have to start from scratch. The Dutch men’s program has captured 14 Iowa Conference championships. Central posted a 13-10 record in 2013-14 while the women were 11-6. Both placed fourth in the league and return the bulk of their lineups for 2014-15.
“We don’t need to reinvent the wheel,” Ferrell said. “We want to take what coach Tyler has done and polish it a bit. We’ve got to keep recruiting and get more people excited about playing here.
“A kid might go to a Division I school and play a little bit or they can come here and be part of something special. We’re going to sell the idea of the whole experience you can get when you come to Central. We want to win the Iowa Conference and go to the NCAA tournament, but our players can also get an amazing education here.”
But Ferrell’s first priority is getting to know the current players.
“They need to know that even though I’m a different coach, we still want them here,” he said. “We want to help them be successful as players and in life outside of Pella.”