With the wave of new personnel this year, the SUNY New Paltz Athletics program has opened its doors to welcome Ryan Woerner, the new assistant coach for Men’s Basketball.
Woerner, who had previously been an assistant coach for Div. I Cornell’s Women’s Basketball team, was hired by Athletics Director Stuart Robinson and Men’s Head Coach Mike Rejniak.
Woerner joined the staff this September and said he is excited for the opportunity the job presents.
“I was very excited just because of the great opportunity that this specific situation offers,” said Woerner. “Here being the only assistant coach on the staff right now give me a chance to experience the entire program where at Cornell I was mainly just in charge of recruiting so that’s something I’m looking forward to.”
According to Rejniak, he and Woerner had met at Columbia’s basketball camp and his work ethic had impressed the new men’s head coach so much that he knew right away who we wanted his assistant coach to be when he got the post in August.
“They say we have to open our search up nationally, but you meet those people who kind of fit with you and get your ideas and understand how you coach, and that’s what started Ryan’s and I relationship.”
Woerner, who was one of the youngest coaches in Div. I last season, comes from a family line of successful basketball coaching. His mother was the Women’s Basketball Coach at Brooklyn’s Bishop Kearney High School for 25 years, where she won over 350 games with the Tigers and was inducted into the New York City High School Basketball Hall of Fame.
While assistant coaching at New Paltz, Woerner will be “charged with assisting with the day-to-day operations of the men’s basketball office, providing on-court instruction during practices and games and serving as the program’s recruiting coordinator,” according to a press release from Nphawks.com. Woerner said that while he has not seen the team in practice yet, video footage he and Rejniak have watched has left him impressed.
“I think there’s a lot of great pieces coming back and the maturity level off the court seems to be very high,” said Woerner. “In terms of our specific personnel with Harris Wichard coming back and his versatility as a guard, he can shoot and make plays for others. Matt Devine is also versatile at the forward spot, he’s going to be a great tool to us on the perimeter, and he’s a great passer which is something we’re going to need everyone to do.”
Third-year Captain Harris Wichard said that he is excited to work with Woerner in the upcoming season.
“Coach Woerner made a great first impression on me,” said Wichard. “When I first met him I understood that he was a great basketball mind and really cared about turning our program into a winner. He is a players coach and he made it clear he would be there for us to workout and help us with our games whenever we needed it.”
One of Woerner’s goals is to emphasize team discipline both on and away from the court. He said that the team needs to know that while they are responsible for every play and pass made, they are also responsible for their actions in the classroom and as people. However, Woerner said that one of his, and the team’s, major goals is a SUNYAC Title.
“This group of guys is certainly capable of doing that based off of all the time we’ve spent watching them on film and getting to know them.”