Ryan Roller took the next step in his Lipscomb basketball career when he was named the Lipscomb Academy girls basketball coach Monday.
Roller played basketball at both Lipscomb Academy and David Lipscomb University.
“Ryan’s knowledge of the game, talent and experience is what is needed to continue to build on the strong foundation that our girls’ basketball program has established,” Lipscomb Academy Head of School Greg Glenn said. “He understands the game both from a player’s and a coach’s perspective, and this experience along with his enthusiasm and love for our students will be beneficial as he leads this program.”
Roller, who has been working with Lipscomb’s admissions department since 2011, will replace longtime girls basketball coach Ernie Smith, who announced his plans to step down and focus strictly on baseball prior to the 2015-16 hoops season. Smith spent nearly 30 years as the Lady Mustangs head coach and accumulated more than 900 wins in that span.
For Roller, who spent time as a assistant basketball coach at Montgomery Bell Academy and Mt. Juliet before taking over as the director of basketball operations at Belmont, it’s a chance to demonstrate his passion for the sport on his old stomping grounds.
“Basketball has been a lifelong passion for me, and I cannot wait to pour into this team the way many of my coaches poured into me as a player,” Roller said in a statement. “Our team will be known for its discipline, attitude and hustle as well as its commitment to Christ and one another on and off the court.”
Roller was a four-year starter at point guard for the Mustangs, helping lead Lipscomb Academy to two state final four appearances and two sub-state appearances before moving on to play for Don Meyer and Scott Sanderson at Lipscomb University, where he was a two-time team captain and a second team independent All-American, as well as part of two teams that made it to the NAIA National Tournament.
He is also the son of Lipscomb Academy athletic director and former Mustangs boys basketball coach Mike Roller, who coached his son for two years in high school.
“I would say he’s very familiar with the program,” Mike Roller said. “There’s two sides to that. I’m excited because I think he’s a good fit for our program, but I already want us to do well because I’m the athletic director. It raises it a level when you’re watching your son coach.”
Reach Sam Brown at 615-259-8232 and on Twitter @SamBrownTN.