Metamora Tennis Coach Pens Book on Legendary Football Coach Pat Ryan

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METAMORA, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — Kelly Willard found something to do during the pandemic.

The Metamora High School math teacher and tennis coach just finished a book on the legendary Redbird football coach Pat Ryan. “The Ryan Express” chronicles the 30-year career of Ryan, who retired from coaching in 2020 and is now working for the University of Illinois football program.

Willard, a 1988 Metamora grad and 25-year member of the school faculty, has been a longtime neighbor of Ryan.

“I was doing it for myself, at first. Then I thought there would be people who will enjoy this,” Willard said. “Maybe I’m overestimating that, maybe not everyone will enjoy it. I know there will be some. And for some, it will be a keepsake. It’s building memories.”

“The Ryan Express” will be sold at the high school main office and at home football games this year. The books are $20 apiece.

Willard, who coached his boys tennis team to third place at state this spring, will begin selling his book Aug. 20 at the school Emphasis Night, which includes a football scrimmage.

His father Gordon wrote a book about the first 30 years of Metamora football (1946-1976) and Willard updated it with his first book called “Metamora Football: A Tradition Unmatched,” which covered the first 50 years of MTHS football.

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