Men's College Basketball

Hellenthal stresses family, community as he takes over as QU hoops coach

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Aug. 12, 2017 12:15 am

QUINCY -- Ryan Hellenthal kept his introductory speech succinct, but in it, he revealed his passion for basketball and his appreciation of community.

Moreso, he showed his love for this community.

"I'm proud to be from Quincy and I'm proud to be your coach," Hellenthal said as he wrapped up Friday morning after being formally introduced as the new Quincy University men's basketball coach.

His last name is recognizable for those who experienced the heyday of the Quincy High School boys basketball program because his father, Mike Hellenthal, served as an assistant coach to both Sherrill Hanks and Jerry Leggett.

Mike Hellenthal also made a name for himself as the QHS baseball coach and is a member of the Blue Devil Sports Hall of Fame.

Although Mike Hellenthal ventured elsewhere, he always considered Quincy his home, eventually moving back here two years ago. Ryan also considered it home, having lived here until the fifth grade and returning last fall to become the top assistant with the QU program.

It turned out to be a place he didn't want to leave again.

"When you start coaching, you always dream of the opportunity to be a head coach," Hellenthal said. "You see jobs that someday in your wildest dreams that you say, I'd love to have that opportunity.' With my college coaching journey, Quincy University had always been on that short list of places.

"To be doing it here at a place I grew up and in a community that loves basketball, I'm humbled and blessed. This is an unbelievable opportunity for me."

Hellenthal, 37, spent 16 years as an assistant coach working his way up from the junior college level.

His career started as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Garden City (Kan.) Community College before spending three seasons at Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College. He jumped to the NCAA Division I level in 2008 as the director of basketball operations at Boise State University.

After two seasons there, Hellenthal became the director of basketball operations at Long Beach State University. He was part of the 49ers staff for four seasons, getting promoted to assistant coach his final year.

Next, he joined the staff at Central Missouri University before working his way back home.

"It's been a long journey, a lot of ups and downs, and I faced a lot of adversity at several different times," Hellenthal said. "I credit getting through those times to my father, his life lessons and him showing me how to understand adversity and handle it.

"Tough times are going to affect us all, but having the ability to overcome is something I have tried to focus and tried to take with every step of this journey."

Friday was another tough step.

His father, Mike, was in attendance at the introductory press conference, but his mother, Janice, and step-father, Walt, were in Iowa City, Iowa, as Hellenthal's sister, Resa, underwent a medical procedure. His sister is a 2006 graduate of QU and arguably her brother's biggest fan.

Although his family couldn't attend the press conference, they were able to listen to it live and experience the raw emotion he showed while talking about the impact his family has had on his career.

Creating a similar family atmosphere around the QU program is vitally important to him.

"Family is what we are about," Hellenthal said. "We will win because we are a family. I want us to win. I want us to compete on a national level. I know we can. We will do that by working together to get it done."

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