18 top-three league team finishes in past 31 years
PELLA — Ryun Ferrell, who piloted Drake University to a pair of Missouri Valley Conference titles and most recently led a resurgent program at Northern Illinois University, is the new Central College men’s and women’s tennis coach.
Ferrell is leaving his post as women's coach at Northern Illinois, where he's served since 2006. He was the women’s tennis coach at Drake from 1999-2006. At Central he follows Steve Tyler, who retired after six years with the Dutch men’s and women’s teams.
Photos courtesy of Northern Illinois sports information
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.
“Ryun is a high-energy coach who focuses on developing relationships with all of his players. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome Ryun and his wife, Deboarah, and their children to the Central family.”
A graduate of Baker University (Kan.), where he was a member of two conference championship squads, Ferrell earned a master’s degree at Wichita State University (Kan.). He spent 1995-96 as a volunteer assistant at the University of Kansas before gaining Division III experience in 1996-97 as assistant men’s and women’s tennis coach at the College of New Jersey, where he helped the squad take a New Jersey Athletic Conference title. He was also a teaching professional at the Princeton Racquet Club. He was an assistant at Wichita State University from 1997-99 and taught at the Wichita Racquet Club.
Since 2009 Ferrell served as director of the adidas Tennis Camp in DeKalb, Illinois, and led the Northern Illinois camps and clinics since 2007.
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.”