Former Metamora Coach Pat Ryan takes position with Illini

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — Pat Ryan wasn’t out of football long.

The former Metamora coach was named the Illinois football team’s Director of Illinois High School Relations, Illini head coach Bret Bielem accounced Tuesday.

Ryan retired from coaching last year after a 30-year career at Metamora. Ryan is one of the most decorated coaches in Illinois high school football history, leading his Redbirds to seven state championship games and winning state titles in 2007 and 2009.

His 268-75 record in 30 seasons gives him the 14th-most wins in Illinois high school history and the 11th most of any coach at one school. Ryan was inducted to the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2016.

“I am thrilled to be a part of what Coach Bielema is building at Illinois,” said Ryan in a statement. “Football has been a big part of my life. The relationships I have made by being involved in this game are priceless. I look forward to enhancing the long-lasting relationships within the state of Illinois and building new ones within the Illini Football Family.”

Bielema is in his first year of coaching the Illini. He was hired in December.

“I’m very excited to bring the life lessons of Coach Ryan here to the Illinois football program,” said Bielema. “He started as an Illinois high school football player then moved on to be an assistant coach and a head coach at Metamora and has reached the highest level of success in state football history. He has been able to build relationships with high school players, high school coaches, and college programs throughout his entire coaching career. He will be a huge asset for us as we continue to build relationships throughout the state of Illinois and across the country. We are very excited for Coach Ryan and his family to join us here in Champaign and look forward to a very bright future.”

Ryan has spent most of his life at Metamora High School, first as the team’s quarterback prior to his graduation in 1981. His coaching career started as a student assistant at Southeast Missouri State under Peoria native Bob Smith, before he came back to Metamora to be an assistant coach.

He was an assistant at Metamora for three seasons before taking over the program for three decades. Ryan is a six-time Greater Peoria Area Football Coach of the Year, three-time Greater Peoria Area Sports Hall of Fame Male Coach of the Year, and three-time Shrine Game coach.

Ryan’s teams went on an incredible run during a 16-year period from 1995-2010, winning 10+ games in 15 of the 16 years. Metamora qualified for the Illinois High School Association state playoffs in 24 of Ryan’s 30 seasons.

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