In 1983 a head coach named Mim Ryan took up a coaching position at Sanborn Regional High School, little did she know, or anyone else for that matter, that she would go down as one of New Hampshire's greatest coaches, that she would set her own bar and her own standard, doing something no one had ever accomplished until she did.
When she first started, it took her awhile to get going, but in 1990, she captured her first state title, and getting Sanborn their first and only state title, in program history. She would make it to one more state championship (1992), during her time at Sanborn, but she would fall short, to what would become NH's greatest dynasty, Kingswood, from 1990-1998.
In 1999, Ryan would take her talents to Timberlane. In 2001, Ryan took Timberlane to powerhouse status as she took the program to its first-ever state final appearance, but they fell short. They would make it back to the state final the next two years (2002-2003), but unfortunately would fall short both times, to what would, ironically, be the state's second-best dynasty, Salem, from 2002-2007. In 2007, Ryan would make it to her sixth final, but again she would fall short, as Salem would make Timberlane their last victim, as their dynasty came to an end.
In 2009, Ryan finally broke through at Timberlane. She won her second state title, which was also Timberlane's first in their program's history. More significantly, Ryan set a new bar for coaching, becoming the first coach to win a state championship with two different programs.
In 2010 Ryan and Timberlane, had to take a back seat to the new kid on the block, a young and ambitious coach named Heidi Hand, who took over the Winnacunnet program, and till this day has the reign of the most perennial powerhouse in NH. For almost half a decade Winnacunnet became top dogs as they stormed D1 but in 2014 a freshman class, that had the names of MacKinnon, Rothwell, and Fitzpatrick, and the leadership of Coach Ryan, would eventually be the ones to seize power. As sophomores, they were one of the favorites to win the whole thing, as they broke school records, finished second during the regular season, but crashed out in the quarterfinals to Londonderry.
As juniors, they went into the tournament as underdogs, as Coach Ryan led them through arguably one of the most significant runs in tournament history. Coming in as the sixth seed, they went on to beat the #3, #2, and #1 seed to capture a state title. In the title game, they dethroned Winnacunnet and stopped them from winning a third consecutive title. They went down 1-0 but scored their second goal with about four minutes to go, to capture the title.
As seniors, they came in as a favorite, and they didn't disappoint. Coach Ryan would capture her 300th career win, becoming the fifth coach in state history to achieve the milestone.
She would lead them into a rematch of the year's previous final, as the game was almost a carbon copy of the final. Timberlane went down but battled back to tie the game with no time left on the clock, Timberlane earned a corner, and what will forever go down to us as "The Fake Corner," Timberlane would score it and go on to knock out Winnacunnet in OT, to advance to the final.
In the final, they again went down to the Cinderella story that was Londonderry, but in the second half with the coaching of Ryan, and her star-studded seniors, and her junior star Sarah Padellaro, they were too strong for Londonderry as they dominated the second half and went on to capture their second straight title. Not a bad year for Ryan to end her career on.
Below, some of Coach Ryan's ex-players were kind enough to tell us what Ryan meant to them.
Coach Mim Ryan finishes her illustrious coaching career, with a record of 302-139-38 (W-L-T), being one of only five coaches in state history to break the 300 win mark. She finishes with nine championship appearances, fifth all-time, and winning four of them, tied for fifth all-time. Even with all these accomplishments the one thing that makes Coach Ryan a legend in our eyes was being the first coach to ever win a state title with two different programs, which only one other coach has been able to accomplish since she's done it. Mim Ryan came into the state and created her own standards and set a new bar, that is very hard to touch, she will forever go down as one of the all-time greats, and we thank you, Coach Mim Ryan, for gracing us with your presence in the field hockey world!