Ryan Riles wins GIAA 3A Coach of the year
Published 4:17 pm Tuesday, June 6, 2023
Grace Christian Academy (GCA) head baseball coach Ryan Riles was named the 3A GIAA coach of the year.
The 4th-year head coach led the team to a 15-9 record this season. It’s a stark contrast compared to the 2022 season which ended with a losing record. Riles said feeling like the best coach of the year wasn’t something he thought about.
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“The thought didn’t even cross my mind,” Riles said. “The season was about my players and watching them grow as leaders and athletes.”
One of those players, Aiden Whittaker, described Riles as “slow to anger” and said if a player messed up, Riles would help them through it without holding the fault against them.
“He’ll tell you what you did wrong and then actually help you fix it,” Whittaker said.
Whittaker said he felt like Riles was coaching like the coach of the year during a regular season game at Westwood. GCA took the lead in the 3rd inning, lost in the 5th, then attempted to mount a comeback to win the game. The Cougars would lose that game 9-8, but Whittaker said Riles stayed positive despite how the game ended.
“Even though they came back and we ended up losing the game, we were still, you know, praised for coming back, not giving up,” Whittaker said. “(Riles) just always uplifts the team. There was never a time where he gave up or anything.”
Whittaker said that Riles’ best quality is how he cares for his players.
“I feel like he cares a lot, … he tries to develop us as, like, men and not just players.”