Youngstown State has named Ryan Purdy the Head Women's Swimming and Diving Coach, Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Ron Strollo announced on Tuesday.
Purdy previously served as an assistant coach at Minnesota where he was part of five Big Ten Women's Team Championships under Head Coach Kelly Kremer. The Gophers also had three top-10 NCAA finishes during his time in Minneapolis, including placing 10th in 2017.
"I am truly honored to be given the opportunity to lead the Youngstown State University Swimming and Diving program," Purdy said. "From early on in this process, it was very clear to me that there is genuine support for every student-athlete within the YSU Athletic Department. This culture of support begins at the top with Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Ron Strollo. I am excited to be a part of the Youngstown State and thank AD Strollo for this opportunity. I would also like to thank Associate Director of Athletics Elaine Jacobs and Assistant Athletic Director Jesse Potter.
"All of the pieces are in place for the Penguins Swimming and Diving program to grow and improve on the conference and national level. I look forward to that challenge in the short and long term."
At U of M, he spent his final two seasons as head assistant coach for both the men's and women's programs.
In 2017, Minnesota earned 14 women's (11 individual, three relay) and five men's (four individual, one relay) All-America honors at the NCAA Championships. Eight men and two women earned multiple All-America accolades. Both teams placed fourth at highly-competitive conference meets. The Gopher men were 9-0 in dual meets including a 4-0 mark against Big Ten teams. The women were 8-1 with a 3-1 record in the conference.
Purdy had served as an assistant coach on the Division I level since 2005 before taking over the Head Coach role at YSU. He had two stints with the Gophers and spent three years at Fresno State. He began his coaching career as a volunteer assistant with the U of M women's program in 2005.
"We are thrilled to have someone of Ryan's caliber take over our women's swimming and diving program," Strollo said. "He was one of the top assistant coaches in the Big Ten and had a very successful run at Minnesota. He is someone who can develop swimmers and recruit at a high level."
While Purdy was on the Minnesota staff, it won five Big Ten Women's Team Championships (2008, and 2012-15), as well as achieving a top-10 NCAA team finish in 2013, 2014 and 2017.
Since 2011, Purdy was the primary coach of the distance group and a middle distance group. He has also served as the program's recruiting coordinator. One year later, Purdy's group produced a Big Ten individual champion when Hannah Whitehead won the 200-yard freestyle. He coached five different individual qualifiers to the NCAA Championship meet. Purdy was the primary coach to Jessica Plant, an eight-time NCAA All-American and Minnesota's 2015 Big Ten Medal of Honor winner.
On the national scene, Gopher swimmers have experienced success under Purdy's leadership, as his coaching has produced multiple United States and Canadian Olympic Trials qualifiers.
Distance specialist Samantha Harding progressed each year and capped off her summers by becoming a Canadian National Champion four times in the 800- and 1,500-meter freestyle events. In 2015, Purdy coached Harding to selections to Team Canada for the Pan American Games in Toronto and the FINA World Championship in Kazan, Russia, in the open water swimming Events. In the next World Championship Selection, Breanne Siwicki followed suit, qualifying to be a part of the Canadian Open Water National team that will compete at the 2017 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary and the 2017 World University Games in Taiwan.
Purdy, a native of Fort Atkinson, Wis., was then selected by USA Swimming to be a part of the staff for the 2016 Open Water Select Camp based in Fort Myers, Fla. Purdy has accompanied National Team swimmers from USA Swimming and Swim Canada to FINA Open Water World Cup races in Mexico, Hungary and Portugal.
Prior to coming to Minneapolis, Purdy spent three seasons as the assistant coach at California State University-Fresno. In his time with Fresno State, Purdy served as the primary sprint coach and recruiting coordinator for the women's swimming team. With the Bulldogs, Purdy recruited and coached one of Fresno's top athletes, Dani Yoho, a multiple Western Athletic Conference finalist who contributed to breaking six school records at the 2011 WAC Championships.