Continuity key for Ryan’s new coaching staff

Since Joey Florence moved out of the Ryan football field house in February and Dave Henigan took Florence’s old office, a constant theme has existed during all the personnel changes during the last few months.

With Florence’s promotion to Denton ISD athletic director and Henigan’s hire as the new Ryan head coach, the coaching staff underwent its yearly turnover and a lot of familiar faces returned to Ryan as the Raiders sought a sense of continuity.

Based on the way the coaching changes turned out, it’s clear that keeping things relatively similar during the transition from Florence to Henigan was very important.

There’s no question that replacing Florence is a difficult task.

Florence turned around a young and dismal program, brought home two state championships and made five state championship appearances, with the most recent one coming in 2010 (lost the Class 4A Division I title to Lake Travis).

That search for stability was evident when Florence and the rest of the district’s hiring committee selected Henigan as Florence’s replacement.

Before Henigan was the head coach at Corsicana and Grapevine, he was the offensive coordinator at Ryan, the one who brought Ryan back from the dead in the 2002 Class 4A Division I state semifinals against Ennis. It’s been no secret around town that Henigan’s close ties to the Ryan program and his familiarity with it played a huge part in his hiring.

As the yearly coaching staff changes occurred over the course of the spring and the summer, there were a lot of former Raiders that found their way back to McKinney Street.

When former Ryan defensive coordinator David Thomas became the facilities manager at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex, Shane Tolleson was promoted from linebackers coach to fill the void. Sam Collins was a standout center for the Raiders from 2002 to 2004 and he returns to Ryan to coach defensive tackles. Quentin Wyatt was promoted from Myers Middle School, joining a group of Ryan coaches he’s been familiar with over the years.

Henigan brought two assistants with him from Grapevine — Kyle Burch and Jordan Bull. Burch was also a Ryan assistant when the team won a state title in 2002.

The only incoming assistant coach with no ties to Ryan is Patrick Cobbs. However, Cobbs was a standout running back at North Texas and played in the NFL for five seasons.

With the exception of Bull and Cobbs (Bull had been at Grapevine since at least 2007), the rest of Ryan’s coaching staff is familiar with the way Florence did things during his 14-year tenure at Ryan.

Having people who are well-versed with the program will make things easier on the Raiders when the season begins next fall.

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