Emotion Can Take You A Long Way!

Emotion Can Take You A Long Way!

I live just outside of Charlottesville, Virginia. It’s beautiful country with heavy forests and rolling hills. I can see the Blue Ridge Mountains to the west. They were once considered the boundary of the American frontier. Three presidents came from this area: Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe. Jefferson was the principal writer of the Declaration of Independence. James Madison was the principal writer of the United States Constitution. James Monroe formulated the Monroe Doctrine. Each in his own way helped to form the country that we live in today.

But this post is not a travelogue or a history lesson. This post is about a retiring basketball coach and her team at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Debbie Ryan has coached at UVa for 36 years, 34 as the head coach. She was named the coach by her uncle Gene Corrigan who was the Athletic Director at the time. He was so concerned about the charge of nepotism that he consulted the University’s president. He asked what her last name was. When Corrigan told him that her name was Ryan, the president said “Hire her”. Her teams have won 739 games over those 34 years. She has coached the UVa Women’s team for 36 of the 38 years of it’s existence. In 2000 she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She beat that and it has been in remission for over ten years. She was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008. At the end of this season she tendered her resignation after her team went 16-15 in the tough ACC conference. The 58-year old coach in an emotional press conference said that it was time for her to go. This year’s team did not come up to her standard not blaming the team but herself. She thanked the University saying that she owed it everything including her life. Then, she hoped for one more opportunity to coach. Well, she got three more opportunities. Her team on a wave of emotion and determination are now in the quarterfinals of the WNIT after winning three straight games. Last night, they beat a Boston College team that a month ago defeated them by 20 points. This weekend they’ll play Charlotte in Charlottesville and if they win they’re in the WNIT Final Four. Emotion can take you a long way!

Emotion almost took the UVa Women’s Basketball team to the next level. Unfortunately, on Saturday night the lost to Charlotte 79-74. The Debby Ryan era is over. Thanks for everything coach!


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