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Thread: Coaching Was on Rex Ryan’s Horizon From the Start

  1. #1
    All League
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Forked River, NJ

    Post Coaching Was on Rex Ryan’s Horizon From the Start

    Coaching Was on Rex Ryan’s Horizon From the Start

    Published: January 20, 2009

    Before Rex Ryan became the Jets’ head coach, before he became a coach at all, he attended Super Bowl III with his family.

    Buddy Ryan, his father, was a defensive assistant during the Jets’ only Super Bowl appearance, 40 years ago. Rex and Rob, his twin boys, were 6. The first sign the boys had aspirations to follow their father into the family business came on a Miami beach. While Joe Namath held court for the reporters who surrounded him at the swimming pool, the twins looked up from playing in the sand, mesmerized by the quarterback who would soon make good on his guarantee of victory.

    “From being around football so much, they loved it,” Doris Ryan, their mother, said Tuesday in a telephone interview. “And so did I. We’re just a football family.”

    Wherever Rex Ryan went on his coaching odyssey, his father’s shadow followed. Buddy Ryan created the 46 defense, which revolutionized how defenses attack offenses, and even Doris still refers to him as a football genius.

    Doris Ryan, who was divorced from Buddy when the twins were 2, also sounds like a football coach. She watches the NFL Sunday Ticket from her home in Oklahoma and wrote a dissertation in college on football strategy. She is the mother who sits with her sons on visits as they go over their game plans. The mother who can describe the 46 defense, right down to the kamikaze rushes that stuff rushing lanes and wreak havoc with offensive lines.

    She says that defense comes down to three factors: will, toughness and determination. Rex, she says, will bring all three elements to the Jets after he is introduced at a news conference at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

    “I never doubted it because he never wanted to be anything except a coach,” she said. “Like his dad, he wasn’t interested in playing at the pro level. He just wanted to coach. That was from Day 1.”

    The twins were born in Ardmore, Okla., while their father was on a recruiting trip for the University of Buffalo. After their parents divorced in 1965, they moved to Toronto with their mother. Doris Ryan had finished her doctorate at the University of Chicago, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa, and she would rise to vice president at the University of New Brunswick.

    When the boys reached junior high, there were no organized sports at the local schools. So they moved to Chicago to live with their father. They served as ball boys for the Bears, and Buddy Ryan was the defensive coordinator.

    Buddy and Doris remain friendly. They talked every day last week by telephone, hoping that Rex Ryan’s playoff run as Baltimore’s defensive coordinator would not hamper his chances for the job he really wanted — head coach of the Jets.

    Rex Ryan wowed the Jets during a five-hour interview Jan. 11. He told his parents that he wanted the job, relished what would be high expectations in New York and wanted his first N.F.L. head-coaching job to be where his father started in professional football.

    The Jets were most impressed with how thorough Ryan was during the interview. He got that trait from his mother and his mentors, like the former Ravens coach Brian Billick.

    Doris Ryan said her son was always organized and meticulous, especially when it came to football. He carries some of his father’s famous temper, but does not have the same temperament, she added.

    “I always worried that people will think because Buddy was a bit rough with the press that Rex is like that,” she said. “You’re going to find a totally different coach, a very laid-back guy who is emotional and passionate about football.”

    But she also sees shades of her former husband’s defense in both her football-coaching sons (Rob is the Cleveland Browns’ defensive coordinator), the same aggression, the same swashbuckling style, the same risks. She hopes the Jets have the talent on defense to match the Ravens’. Baltimore has players like safety Ed Reed and linebacker Ray Lewis.

    “He plays a version of Buddy’s defense, but he made it his own,” she said. “Particularly with the Ravens. That defense is all Rex.”

    The Jets’ job marks the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. Rex and Rob played football at Southwestern Oklahoma State University from 1981 to ’84. Even then, she knew they were headed into coaching.

    Buddy Ryan had befriended the coach there, Bob Mazie, at a football camp in Chicago. The boys arrived on campus as 180-pound defensive ends. The athletic director, Cecil Perkins, said the Ryan brothers were not the most talented players, but they made the most of their abilities.

    “He hit harder than his bones were supposed to,” said Perkins, now a special assistant to the university’s president. “They were just great people. Ornery as heck. If you were to insult their girlfriends, they might just swat you on the nose. I happen to think that’s the way it should be done, so I have a lot of respect for them.”

    Rex Ryan struggled through injuries in college, but Perkins said he noticed that every time he decided to do something, he did it well.

    When teammates asked him to describe the 46 defense, he gave a lesson. When he wanted to excel in college, he aced exams. When he wanted to coach, he studied football, even then.

    “I don’t think he ever played that much,” Doris Ryan said. “I don’t think he particularly cared. He was ready to get out and start coaching.”

  2. #2
    All Pro
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Mianus CT
    very nice article i loved the part where his mom said he just wants to coach where his father started with the new york jets

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Quote Originally Posted by NY Times
    When the boys reached junior high, there were no organized sports at the local schools. So they moved to Chicago to live with their father. They served as ball boys for the Bears, and Buddy Ryan was the defensive coordinator.
    NY Jets now looking for a head coach. Applicants without any previous experience as a ballboy need not apply.


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