SVSU introduced its seventh head football coach, Ryan Brady, during a press conference on Monday, March 25, at 4 p.m. in the Ryder Fieldhouse.
Brady, a Chesaning native, was happy to return to the Saginaw region and stressed an emphasis on recruiting within the region.
“The staff and I will be making it a point of emphasis to recruit Saginaw County and the Great Lakes Bay Region hard,” Brady said. “We look forward to connecting with high school coaches all over this region. This is a great place to live and go to school, and we want to keep all these great players right here at home.”
He said he hopes to continue, not change, the football team’s tradition of excellence.
“There is a great tradition here … and I feel challenged to live up to the legacy of the great Saginaw Valley teams of the past,” he said. “I’m excited to continue on such a great tradition of excellence.”
Brady hopes to help the Cardinals win in the fall.
“One thing that was echoed throughout the process was the desire to win and restore the glory and culture of Cardinal football,” he said. “My first goal will be to develop winning individuals. I’m not here to change tradition. What I am here to do is to create a strong, relationship-driven culture with the players.”
He does not anticipate the recent NCAA infractions to affect the team’s upcoming season.
“I understand that SVSU Athletics is on NCAA probation,” he said. “But that should not hurt our football program in any way. We’re keeping all of our scholarships, and are fully eligible for NCAA playoff competition, and it is our goal to be there this fall.”
Brady said his motto for the team will be, “We earn it.” To make sure students earn academic and athletic excellence, he will focus on instilling in players the values of effort, attitude, respect and never giving up.
The press conference ended with Brady expressing his gratefulness for being chosen as SVSU’s head football coach.
President Don Bachand was scheduled to give introductory remarks, but was unable to attend. Instead, Athletic Director John Decker spoke to members of the press and the SVSU football players in attendance.
“Exactly one month ago (Monday), Coach Jim Collins came and announced that he had decided to leave Saginaw Valley to coach at the United States Military Academy,” Decker said to the football players. “That took you guys and me and everyone else by surprise, but it was a good move for Coach Collins.”
Collins resigned two days before the start of spring football practices, Decker said.
“It really put us into a bit of a bind,” he said. “We were out a head coach and … some other departures. I’m very proud of the players and the members of Coach Collins’ staff for being very professional as we went through the process.”
A search committee was formed to find Collins’ replacement “on a very short schedule,” according to Decker. They had several applicants.
The traits the department were looking for in a new head coach included leadership, emphasis on academic and athletic achievement, recruiting skills and coaching experience.
“I believe we have found (those traits) in Ryan Brady,” Decker said.
Decker said the Chronicle of Higher Education has named SVSU a best college to work at for the last two or three years. He believes the number of applicants for the job and SVSU’s past coaches reflect the accuracy of the ranking.
“I must say (the ranking) occurred to me more than once as we’ve gone through the last several weeks,” he said. “I think some of the predecessors and coaches who have been part of this program have gone from Saginaw Valley to distinguish themselves here, but they’ve also gone on to distinguish themselves in their own way.”
“I feel blessed to be head coach at Saginaw Valley State,” he said. “It feels great to be a Cardinal. … It’s a very humbling experience for me to be chosen as head football coach here.”
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