• October 21, 2021

Debbie Ryan on leaving the court for the last time as the head coach of Virginia

Debbie Ryan coached her last game at John Paul Jones Arena as the head coach of Virginia Saturday night. Charlotte defeated the Cavaliers 79-74 in the quarterfinals of the WNIT Tournament. Post-game, Ryan discussed leaving the court and her life since she announced she was stepping down from her position.

On walking off the court for the last time

I can’t tell you how incredibly humbled I am by the way my former players and my present players have embraced me. They have been absolutely amazing. I’ve been so proud to be a part of my former staffs, my former players, just everybody who has ever been here for me, whether they played for me or Dan Bonner or Barbara Kelly. Everyone is a family here. They just rallied around me. Everyday, there were four or five people calling just to be sure I was okay. I mean, I just can’t tell you how humbled I am by that. It’s amazing to me how they’ve been.

On weeks since she announced she would be stepping down

It’s going to be really different. I imagine I will have a reaction, whatever that means. It’s going to be really hard. I’ve never done this before. It’s going to be kind of interesting. I guess I won’t have the anxiety that I’ve had for the past two weeks, which is a little different. It’s just been a really hard two weeks. You want to do you best for them, and yet you’re not quite yourself. None of you in here would understand this, but I could compare it to the three days you have to wait for a blood test to come back to tell you whether your cancer has returned. It’s the exact same feeling. But I’ve had it for two weeks. It’s a hard, hard feeling. Even though you know what’s going to happen at the end, it’s just hard. There’s nothing like the doctor telling you. You get the symptoms all back, everything comes back again in those three days and you think you’re going to die and all that stuff, and then the doctor gets on the phone with you and says "you’re okay." And then everything goes away. Just like that. It’s like nothing ever happened. But those three days, while you’re waiting, and unless you’re a survivor you wouldn’t understand it. These last two weeks have been like that. It’s been just really hard, because I’ve tried to be who I am, but it’s just been really hard. And they know. They’ve picked up for me, and they’ve been funny around me, and they didn’t actually ask me to dance or anything, which would have been really funny. They didn’t want this to end either. But it did. Now we have to deal with it. I do imagine I will have some sort of reaction to it.

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