Arizona Daily Wildcat March 10, 1998
Gault turns program over to UA assistant
In a night honoring his accomplishments and retirement, Arizona head coach Jim Gault surprised everyone when he announced Friday night that his successor would be current assistant coach Bill Ryden. Ryden will take over following this season's conclusion.
"We are pleased that Bill will take over this program," said Kathleen "Rocky" LaRose, UA's senior associate athletic director. "He is the ideal choice to carry on the tradition of excellence that Mr. Gault has established at Arizona. Jim (Livengood) and I are confident that he will continue to lead this program to distinction as we enter the 21st century."
"Bill has worked so hard for the last eight years as an assistant coach here," Gault added. "I am so proud to hand over the program to him."
Ryden, who came to Arizona in 1990, was named Midwest Region Assistant Coach of the Year in 1992 and was a member of the USA World University Games coaching staff in 1993.
"It's overwhelming to receive the news at this point," said Ryden, who had been head coach at Ryden Gymnastics in Littleton, Colo., before coaching under Gault. "It is an honor, as well as a great responsibility, to take over the reigns of such a quality program."
Ryden, who competed at Arizona State from 1978-1983, actually entered the Arizona program as a result of former UA gymnast Diane Monty's efforts.
"I had coached Diane when she was in club and decided to watch her when Arizona was performing in Colorado," Ryden said. "At the time I had given up gymnastics to pursue a career as an engineer. While I was doing well, I was not as happy as when I was in coaching.
"So, I had dinner with Diane and Mr. Gault that evening and discussed the possibility of me becoming an assistant at Arizona. Since then, things have worked out for the best."