MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A pair of supremely successful Morgantown High School coaches received one of the state’s top athletic honors on Thursday.
Lady Mohigans girls basketball head coach Jason White, and Morgantown cross country head coach Michael Ryan, were both named WVSSAC Coach of the Year for their sport.
“This is the first time. It even makes it a little sweeter, you know. To do it doing something you love,” White said. “You go to the gym every day, and you work hard at it. You spend a lot of late nights trying to break down film, and you go out on the road and you’re trying to scout. It’s a rewarding feeling to win this. Again, I’m very humbled to win this. I’m very blessed to be friends with a lot of these great coaches around the state of West Virginia.”
“I’m obviously very humbled. An award like this is something that takes a lot of people. It’s just not me. And the kids are the one that are out there doing it,” Ryan said. “They’re the ones that are out there going to practice every day, and putting in the work, and having success. I’m just glad I get to set back and watch it at the end of the year.”
For Ryan, this is his second time being named the top cross country coach in the state. However, this is his first time being recognized for his accomplishments with the MHS boys cross country team.
Ryan was named the Boys Cross Country Coach of the Year on Thursday. This comes four years after he was named Girls Cross Country Coach of the Year in 2017.
“I think it’s the same feeling,” Ryan said when asked to compare the two. “I was still surprised when I got the call today. It’s a great honor. I’m just glad to be able to do something positive in the community, and give something back to these kids.”
Ryan’s Morgantown boys have won a pair of state championships and finished second in the state two other times over the last five years. That, of course, doesn’t include the back-to-back state titles that his girls have won over the past two seasons, nor does it include the two consecutive Gatorade Player of the Year awards won by female members of his program.
“To see them happy, and see them have success is all I need,” said Ryan.
White, meanwhile, is a first-time recipient of the Coach of the Year award for girls basketball.
White’s Lady Mohigans basketball teams have won three state championships in the past, but many around the state say he’s done some of his best coaching over the past two seasons. White helped coach his program to the AAAA state semi-finals this spring.
“A huge credit, even though I’m the recipient of the award, I feel like it’s a credit to what a great coaching staff I have with me in Doug Goodwin and Matt Kelley, what a great job they do, and then the terrific players that are in the program that make it so fun to come to the gym everyday,” said White.
Not only was it a great surprise for both coaches, but both said it was also a great sense of joy to share the honor with another coach at their school.
“Coach Ryan does a fantastic job. I think the world of him, when it comes to his ability to lead, and what he’s able to do with our cross county team is just remarkable. Very well deserved. And, really, even more honored to be able to share this with him,” said White.”
“There’s competition all around at Morgantown High. We got a lot of kids that want to go out and want to succeed,” said Ryan. “Coach White’s ran a great program over the years that he’s been there. To be in the same sentence with him is an honor.”
Former head coach, now MHS athletic director John Bowers, always tweets about ‘Mohigan Excellence.’
Teams coached by Ryan and White have been adding to the long list of ‘Mohigan Excellence’ since they began coaching the Mohigans. Now, they have added their own, individual, examples of that excellence.