BasketballHiringOhio ValleySoCon

Ryan Ridder leaving UT Martin to be head coach at Mercer

Mercer announced on Friday the hiring of Ryan Ridder as its next head men’s basketball coach. Ridder has been the head coach at Tennessee-Martin for the last three seasons and before that spent four years at Bethune-Cookman.

“I could not be more excited to welcome Ryan, his wife Jen, and their children to the Mercer family,” said Mercer AD Jim Cole. “Coach Ridder has shown throughout his career that he excels in skill development, which will help bring out the best in our returning student-athletes. I’m also confident that our fans will be energized by the brand of basketball that he will bring to Hawkins Arena as well.”

Ridder took over an 8-win UT Martin team in 2021 and after 8 wins in his own first season, he had led the Skyhawks to a combined 40-25 record over the last two years, culminating with a share of the 2024 OVC title. A rising star in the coaching world, Ridder’s first head coaching gig was at Daytona State College (FL), where he won four conference titles in four years (2013-17). That landed him the job at Bethune – also located in his home town of Daytona Beach – in 2017, where he finished above .500 in two of three full seasons and won the MEAC title in 2018.

“I want to express my gratitude to President Bill Underwood and Director of Athletics Jim Cole for their faith in me to lead the men’s basketball program at Mercer University,” Ridder said. “My family and I are extremely excited for this opportunity to build new relationships, as well as to build on the tradition of success that this program has already experienced. There is an immense amount of support and pride in the Mercer family, and I can’t wait to meet our phenomenal young men and get to work. Go Bears!”

Mercer parted ways with former head coach Greg Gary earlier this week after five seasons. The Bears have been to the NCAA Tournament three times, most recently in 2014. Their last postseason appearance was the 2018 CBI.


credit to Mercer Athletics for the image