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Tuesday, 27 October 2020
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Ryder gets best ride of life

Ex-East coach, player joins elite GPSA group

By Jeff Letofsky
The Pueblo Chieftain
Sept. 30, 2018

East High School boys basketball coach Dave Ryder, wearing his signature tennis shoes, signals to players during the closing minutes of their Great 8 game against Valor Christian on March 8, 2014, at the Denver Coliseum (CHIEFTAIN PHOTO/FILE)East High School boys basketball coach Dave Ryder, wearing his signature tennis shoes, signals to players during the closing minutes of their Great 8 game against Valor Christian on March 8, 2014, at the Denver Coliseum (CHIEFTAIN PHOTO/FILE)

A tennis-shoe wearing coach, who led his alma mater to a state championship where he was a standout athlete, is getting his just due.

Dave Ryder, 56, who led East High School to the school's only boys basketball state title, is one of eight individuals being inducted into the Greater Pueblo Sports Association Hall of Fame on Nov. 21.

"It's humbling, exciting," Ryder said. "As an athlete/coach the hard work you put in validates what you did and makes you feel good for what you did."

In high school, Ryder was a three-sport athlete at East where he played football, basketball and ran track, earning nine letters.

In football, he was a three-time all-South-Central League running back. In 1980, he was named the regional running back of the year, was a first-team all-state selection and named to the High School All-American team. His 3,300 yards rushing in a career held up as a record for 35 years.

Ryder went on to play football at Idaho State University and the University of Southern Colorado before entering the coaching profession.

"Went up to Idaho State, played a season, came back to Pueblo, got nicked up a little bit and things didn't work out," Ryder said.

That's when Ryder began to coach, even before he graduated from college.

"The whole coaching thing started with Greg Smith hiring me and giving me a shot," Ryder said. "I coached three sports before I even graduated.

"I was at East for five years and spent 10 years teaching and got out of coaching. When Al Blanc came (to East), I came back as an assistant. I planned on going 10 years and was going to be able to retire. Just so happened we had that great group of kids come through."

The Eagles won the 2014 class 4A state championship under Ryder with a team that overachieved but played with confidence and poise.

Ryder remembers what an honor it was to coach that group.

"They played together and listened," Ryder said. "They were very coachable and cohesive as a group. When they got on the floor, you could let them just play. We gave them some concepts and they just played."

In a letter of recommendation to the GPSA for Ryder's induction, Mark Gregory, whose son Jordan, now in his third year playing professionally in Holland, played for Ryder, has this to say: "Under (Ryder's) program, Jordan excelled athletically, academically and personally. Mr. Ryder time after time went the extra mile for Jordan and was there for him on and off the court. I know without a doubt that Jordan would not have achieved what he has, and will achieve in the future, had it not been largely due to his relationship with Mr. Ryder."

Click HERE to view Ryder's Bio

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