Ryan Theis Introductory Press Conference
Feb. 17, 2014
MILWAUKEE - New head volleyball coach Ryan Theis was introduced on Saturday afternoon at the men's basketball game against Xavier at the BMO Harris Bradley Center on National Marquette Day.
How fortunate do you feel to be inheriting a program that is at the top of its conference and has so much returning talent?
Ryan Theis: There are a couple of different types of jobs. There are rebuilds where you are trying to grow a program, there are middle of the road situations where you are trying to get to the top of the conference, and then there is taking a job at the top and keeping them there. I would think that nine out of 10 coaches would tell you that the toughest is keeping a program at the top and a winner good. It will be challenging, but I love the wealth of talent we have. Obviously Coach Shymansky did a fantastic job recruiting and the program has been built up and I am very happy to come in here with the talent we have.
How closely had you followed the program?
RT: I am familiar with some of the players who have been on the team over the last few years. We recruited against Marquette a little bit. We were about 9-10 hours apart but we were usually fighting the Big Ten for kids. Conference dominance is something that both programs were going for so it required a certain type of kid. I am familiar a little bit with the style of play and the things that were done offensively and defensively. Before we start spring ball, over this next month, the key is I have to learn what we have returning and watch some video on last fall and see what we need to get better at.
What is the difference between the MAC and the BIG EAST from a volleyball standpoint?
RT: Instead of riding buses we are flying in planes, right? That's one of the biggest ones.
I have to learn that. I know the BIG EAST has a couple of strong teams and some are trying to grow programs. The MAC started that process four or five years ago, I think, when they started making volleyball a priority sport in that conference. Hopefully the BIG EAST can continue to grow as a conference. It is a bit in its infancy stage with the realignment that has gone on. We want to grow the conference and make it as strong as possible and hopefully Marquette can be at the forefront of that.
Do you have any goals that you have set out for yourself short term and long term?
RT: Right now I am looking at the immediate future and trying to keep this team together. They are a really good group. They are talented. They are good kids. They do well in the classroom and in the community. Right now I want to keep them together. In terms overall goals, I told them we want to be competing for BIG EAST championships and in the NCAA tournament, playing as long as we can and playing our best volleyball at the end of the year. If we are doing those things we will have chances to advance hopefully deep into the NCAA tournament.
What kind of interactions have you had with the players and are there any things you are excited about?
RT: I am excited in general. I had a really positive response from when I was announced as the head coach. I reached out to all of them yesterday and got some call backs. Meghan Niemann seems to be a pretty vocal leader on the team and I am very excited about how positive she is about me being here. I started on Friday and met all the players today and we will start practice on Monday. I needed to be here and get it going because these guys need a coach.
Are you ready to take on the rigorous schedule that MU has recently played out of conference?
RT: The RPI is quite a tricky thing and the top 25 is something totally different. Learning the differences in those and trying to create advantages is something that I have been studying for years. In terms of having the ability to have a high RPI, the big thing is, one, you have to win a lot and two, you have to beat some good teams along the way. If you schedule too easy your aren't going to get a good enough RPI and if you schedule too hard, you might hurt yourself. It's tricky and you never know how good people are going to be. You can schedule someone and one of their best players leaves or gets injured. I have had that happen too where I thought I had five top 50 matches scheduled and it turned into three. We are going to play tough opponents and build the program that way and we won't be ducking any teams, I will tell you that.