Athletic Director Steve Cobb announced Aug.14 that Ryan McCarthy has been hired as the women’s basketball coach at University of Alaska Anchorage after the resignation of Nathan Altenhofen Aug.9.
“I grew up in Chugiak until I was about 12 years old. I grew up watching the Seawolves and have always had a special place in my heart for Seawolf athletics,” McCarthy said.
The new coach joins the university from Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho where he played shooting guard from 2001-2005 and later held the titles of assistant, interim and associate head coach over the course of five years.
He also played shooting guard in 2006 for the Central Oregon Hotshots of the International Basketball League.
McCarthy said his first experience coaching was in Germany where he coached the Tus Bramsche second level team, consisting mostly of college-aged men, while simultaneously playing for the upper level Tus Bramsche team during the 2006-2007 season.
“It was busy,” he said.
The coaching experience was enough to bolster his resume to return to NNU.
According to information released by Dallas Baldwin, assistant sports information director, McCarthy led the Crusaders to a 56-27 record as assistant coach from 2007-2010, and the next season led the Crusaders to a 14-13 overall record, including a 9-9 mark in conference play and a bid to a Great Northwest Athletic Conference postseason tournament, while he was acting head coach for Kelli Lindley during her leave of absence.
“She gave me a lot of responsibility and let me use my ideas in some key areas… recruiting would probably be one of the key one’s, but also she let me coach where there would be times I would be running parts of practice and on days she could not be at work I would take over. So a combination of those situations ultimately prepared me to take over the program the year I did.” McCarthy said.
As associate head coach in 2011-2012, he helped coach an 18-10 season and another GNAC Tournament appearance.
Though the head coach position was unadvertised, McCarthy said he learned of the job opening when he read online that former coach Tim Moser had accepted an assistant coaching job with Colorado State University at the end of the spring semester.
“I always respected the women’s basketball program at UAA and had a desire to coach there for a long time. However, the timing seemed right for me to look into that job when it became vacant. I felt I was ready to take over a program and had built up quality relationships that will help me succeed.” McCarthy said.
He said quality relationships include mentors within the coaching realm and recruiters who trust him to give players a quality college playing experience.
He predicts that the most demanding part of coming into a new program will be installing his team building system with the offense and defense, which he said isn’t hard, but time consuming.
“I consider this move for me as coming back home. I have a ton of great memories here and I take a lot of pride in providing our players with the best collegiate experience and leading the program to the next level.” McCarthy said.
McCarthy’s wife and college sweetheart, Jenny, and 1-year-old son, Donovan, will be joining him in Anchorage.
While he said Jenny has only been to Anchorage as a basketball player in college, she is nonetheless looking forward to making the city their new home.
Jenny also played shooting guard for a professional team, the Hagen Huskies, in Germany with McCarthy.
“She’d give me a run for my money in a game of H-O-R-S-E,” he said.
Cobb said Aug. 13, that McCarthy was one of the three original candidates considered to replace Moser, and that the pay for the new coach will likely be the same as Altenhofen’s, which was projected to be $70,000 before bonuses.
The women’s basketball season is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Nov. 9 at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex Center.
For more information about the women’s basketball team schedule, visit http://www.goseawolves.com/SportSelect.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=13400&SPID=6357&SPSID=58338.