SPRING ARBOR, MI - Spring Arbor University is excited to announce that Ryan Cottingham, Head Coach of Men's Basketball and Associate Athletic Director, will assume the role of Director of Athletics of the University for the 2012-13 school year. Cottingham will take over the reins from Head Baseball Coach, Sam Riggleman who steps down later this month.
Cottingham will start his 14th season at the helm of the basketball program and will remain the head coach of the Cougars. He is a 1994 graduate of Spring Arbor and earned his Master's degree in Athletic Administration from Central Michigan University in 2000.
As a collegiate athlete Cottingham played guard for SAU from 1992-94, and was voted the team's MVP as a senior. He was also a NAIA All-America Honorable Mention selection that year as well as an NCCAA All-American. Cottingham was a two-year all-conference member while scoring 1,028 points in just two seasons. Prior to his arrival at Spring Arbor Cottingham had a successful two year stint at Kalamazoo Valley Community College where he was an all-conference selection.
The athletic department experienced tremendous growth under Riggleman with expansion of student athletes, sports, staff, and facilities. Under Riggleman's guidance, the number of student athletes on campus has grown from 145 athletes to 261 in the fall of 2011. This fall, men's and women's soccer will start competition with a J.V. program to be played on a brand new state of the art soccer facility. There are also several coaches on campus full time, which Riggleman deemed important so student athletes would have access to their coaches if needed.
It was Riggleman's decision to step down as the director of athletics at this point in his career so he can devote the majority of his time to his biggest passions, coaching baseball, and student leadership. Riggleman will, of course, remain as head baseball coach and will enter into his ninth season as the Cougar skipper. He is nearing the extremely rare 1000 win plateau with a career record of 914-586.
Cottingham becomes the third AD at Spring Arbor University following Riggleman and longtime AD, Hank Burbridge.
Cottingham is ready for the challenge and had this to say about the transition;
"I am truly honored and humbled to be named the Director of Athletics at my alma mater. I am grateful that Hank Burbridge gave me the opportunity to become the men's basketball coach 14 years ago. To work under him, and then Sam Riggleman for the past eight years, has had a profound impact on my professional and personal development. To follow in their footsteps is pretty special.
We have experienced tremendous growth under coach Riggleman and I look forward to building on the momentum that he has created. Coach Riggleman will undoubtedly be a great resource for me and the entire athletic department. We have a phenomenal coaching staff that goes above and beyond what is expected and I'm really looking forward to working with them in this capacity.
I want to thank my amazing wife, Christy and our three children; Connor, Ryleigh, and Trey for their support."
Spring Arbor is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), and the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA), and competes in the recently named Crossroads League (formerly known as the Mid-Central College Conference).
The changes in leadership are expected to take place the first week of August.