By Cody Soto
Whether it was for a recruiting trip or just to visit the Lone Star State, Ryan McGuyre had never spent a long period of time in Texas prior to this year. McGuyre will now make his mark on Baylor volleyball as the ninth head coach in program history after his hire on Dec. 24, 2014.
“The transition has been very, very fast. It was a great Christmas present for all of us,” McGuyre said. “I am so blessed and excited to be here at Baylor University because it fits so closely to who I am personally and what I want to do and accomplish with this team.”
McGuyre has coached at the collegiate level for both men and women since 1999 and will enter the 2015 season with a .729 winning percentage in his 16-year tenure. He is an eight time NAIA national championship coach and a NCCAA national championship coach at California Baptist.
“Baylor University and our volleyball program will be blessed by the appointment of Ryan McGuyre,” director of athletics Ian McCaw said. “Ryan is a truly exceptional coach, recruiter, leader and mission fit. We look forward to him building a championship program at Baylor.”
Prior to accepting the head coaching position at Baylor, McGuyre served as associate head coach at Florida State and helped guide the team to a 30-3 record in 2014. The Seminoles advanced to the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament before dropping a 3-1 decision to national runner-up Brigham Young University.
“If there’s one thing I take great pride in it’s that the teams that I’ve coached have finished strong,” McGuyre said. “They’ve played their best of volleyball at the end of the year.”
After obtaining a degree from Biola University in 1998, McGuyre returned to his alma mater as head coach for three years before heading to California Baptist University. From 2002 to 2011, he split time as a head coach for both the men and women’s teams and garnered AVCA NAIA Coach of the Year for his efforts.
His time spent with the men’s team provided him with some helpful insights for coaching women’s volleyball. The power of the men can be seen in the higher levels of women’s volleyball, he said.
“If you look at the Final Four of the women’s game, it really is the same level of the men’s game with the power, speed and attacking,” McGuyre said. “It’s really taught me the blocking schemes, how to train hitters, how to use the block, and to pick up the hole. The speed and the power of the game at the highest level is how you win championships.”
Although the new coach has seen game film on Baylor, he wants to evaluate the level of performance of each athlete in person. McGuyre has had limited time so far, but already sees the connection between the players. That relationship will help guide his team to McGuyre’s goal.
“This team already loves one another. They’re really close,” McGuyre said. “I want this to be the greatest volleyball experience ever for these ladies. For a lot of them, it’s going to be winning championships and overcoming and finding that source of strength in themselves from above that’s going to help them not only be successful in life but also on the court.”
The level of competition in the Big 12 conference should not worry the Bears, McGuyre said. The excitement each season brings will need to stay with Baylor if they are going to make a run for an NCAA appearance in 2015.
“Pleasure should always supersede the pressure of a match, and when we’re able to do that even in the difficult trials, then we’re using the best part of ourselves to break out of those things,” McGuyre said. “There’s nothing better than seeing the girls enjoying themselves amongst the competition.”
With another season of Baylor volleyball in the distance, McGuyre will have plenty of time to find the perfect lineup for his team. His philosophy: the best athlete will play.
“My goal is to put the six best athletes on the court and build on their strengths and move from within that,” McGuyre said. “We will rise to our standards and fall to the ones that we tolerate. We’ll build and let leaders lead. It’s a hands-on approach, and it will allow those leaders to be emotionally invested in this program as well.”
McGuyre replaces former Baylor volleyball coach Jim Barnes, who left the program after 11 seasons at the helm.
Barnes left Baylor as the winningest coach in program history, and took the Bears to two NCAA Tournaments and its first Sweet 16 appearance in program history. He exited Waco with a final record of 181-170.