Byrne impressed with SBCC’s athletics, academics

Ryan Byrne relishes the opportunity to be in a leadership role and work with the entire student-athlete population as the new Director of Athletics at Santa Barbara City College.

Byrne is visiting the campus this week before officially starting his job on July 5.

At his previous position at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, Byrne was the director of the student-athlete academic success program. His experience also includes positions in athletic administration and compliance at Santa Rosa College and Sonoma State University.

Byrne is impressed with the program at SBCC that helps student-athletes move on to four-year colleges.

“Paula Congleton has put a lot of things in place here,” he said. “She’s going to be a great source. I’m looking forward to working with her.”

A former community college athlete himself, Byrne said it’s more difficult these days for athletes from two-year schools to transfer to NCAA institutions.

“It’s different in the sense the NCAA rules and regulations continue to notch up the standards for transfer, especially for community college athletes. We truly are legitimate student-athletes at this level. The four-year level really wants us to prove that.”

In Byrne’s career, it’s always been about helping students improve academically and advance to the next level.

“As a coach, I was able to integrate that. When I was chalking up a play, I would talk about note-taking skills, talk about translating that to academic success skills, talk about the learning process. The student-athletes learn to apply those skills to anything.”

He added: “We are fortunate we have a great program in place (at SBCC), and we have a lot support throughout campus, making sure we fulfill our mission. And athletics needs to play a signficant role in that.”