Home Virginia Athletics to honor legendary women’s basketball coach Debbie Ryan

Virginia Athletics to honor legendary women’s basketball coach Debbie Ryan

Chris Graham
debbie ryan
Photo: UVA Athletics

Virginia Athletics is going to use its annual National Girls and Women Sports Day to honor legendary women’s basketball coach Debbie Ryan.

UVA is marking the day on Sunday, Feb. 18, coinciding with the women’s hoops team’s game with Syracuse, which tips at 2 p.m.

Ryan led the UVA women’s basketball program for 34 years, compiling a career record of 736-323, while guiding the Cavaliers to 24 NCAA Tournament appearances, 11 ACC regular-season titles, three ACC Tournament championships and three Final Fours.

Ryan was the 1991 Naismith Coach of the Year and was the ACC Coach of the Year on seven occasions.

In 2008 – while she was still head coach at UVA – Ryan was enshrined in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 2012.

Off the court, Ryan, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2000, worked alongside former Virginia state senator and Charlottesville native Emily Couric to lead the push to build a cancer treatment center on Grounds.

Now more than 23 years cancer free, Ryan currently serves as the Principal Gifts Officer for UVA Health System Development.

Virginia Athletics and the Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center have collaborated since 1996 in a celebration of National Girls and Women Sports Day, an event that brings national attention to the achievements of female athletes and issues facing girls and women in sport.

In addition to honoring Ryan at halftime of the Feb. 18 game, Virginia Athletics will host a NGWSD pregame youth sports festival on the concourse of John Paul Jones Arena from 12:30–1:50 p.m. The festival will include multiple sports stations for youth to participate and feature UVA student-athletes from its football, field hockey, rowing, volleyball, women’s golf and women’s lacrosse programs.

Youths who are in eighth grade and under completing all the sport stations will receive a complimentary T-shirt.

Doors will open at 12:30 p.m., and admission to the festival is free with a game ticket.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].