Now entering his 13th season as head coach of the Cougars, Ryan Cottingham has built a highly competitive and successful program both on and off the court. Cotttingham has guided Spring Arbor to at least 20 wins in six of the last seven years.
The Cougars have been equally impressive in the classroom as they were again recognized by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) with the Scholar Team Award. SAU posted a 3.31 grade point average meeting the required 3.25 GPA.
On the individual level, Spring Arbor has had 19 athletes earn Academic All-America accolades during Cottingham's tenure.
In 2010-11, the Cougars finished 20-15 overall and were 9-7 in the Mid-Central College Conference (MCC), finishing tied for fourth. Spring Arbor would go on to earn runner-up in the National Christian College Athletics Association (NCCAA) national tournament. Forward Willie Pickvet was voted MCC Defensive Player of the Year as well as All-MCC First Team. Guard DJ Baisden completed his career as the school's 10th all-time leading scorer with 1,773 points while being recognized as a two-time All-MCC performer. He was also a two-time NAIA All-American Honorable Mention selection.
Upon completion of the 2009-10 campaign Cottingham was recognized as the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan (BCAM) Men's Basketball College Coach of the Year. He was also named the Mid-Central College Conference (MCC) Coach of the Year. Cottingham guided the Cougars to a 23-11 record and a spot in the sweet sixteen of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) national tournament. It was Spring Arbor's first trip to the NAIA tourney since 1997.
The first round victory in the NAIA national tournament was win number 200 for Cottingham and it came against legendary coach Rollie Massimino and his Northwood University (FL) Seahawks. Massimino is best known for guiding the Villanova Wildcats to the 1985 NCAA Division I national championship over the Georgetown Hoyas.
Cottingham currently ranks second on the all-time wins list behind Hall of Fame coach Bill Bockwitz who garnered 262 victories in his illustrious career.
Spring Arbor has experienced tremendous success in the NCCAA tournament under Cottingham where they have claimed back-to-back national titles in 2005 and 2006. The Cougars finished runner-up in both 2009 and 2011.
Cottingham trails only Bockwitz in the longevity category at Spring Arbor as the hall of famer roamed the sidelines for a longer period of time (18 years).
Cottingham, 39, started his coaching career as an assistant at Alma College (MI) in 1995 and served in that capacity for three seasons. He was then hired as an assistant by Spring Arbor in the fall of 1998. In 1999 Cottingham was appointed the eighth coach in Cougar basketball history replacing Doug Noll.
Coach Cottingham begins his sixth year as assistant athletic director at Spring Arbor. From 2007-10 he served as the NCCAA national basketball chair and from 2005-07 Cottingham was the national vice chair.
Cottingham received his bachelor's degree in secondary education from SAU in 1994. He went on to earn 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 two successful two year stint at Kalamazoo Valley Community College where he was an all-conference selection.
A native of Three Rivers, Mich., Cottingham was a three sport standout in football, basketball, and track. He was an all-state basketball player and led his team to a 63-8 record including a 24-2 mark his senior year and a trip to the Class B state semi-final game. A three year first team all-conference and all-area selection Cottingham scored over 1,000 points in his prep career. He was inducted into the Three Rivers High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 1997.
Cottingham was born on February 14, 1972. His family includes his wife of 16 years, Christy, thirteen-year-old son, Connor, eleven-year-old daughter, Ryleigh, and nine-year-old son, Trey. Christy is currently a teacher in the Jackson County Western School District.
|3||Rob Hogans||SO||G||6-0||175||Farmington||North Farmington|
|5||Chris Bellamy||JR||G||6-2||180||Novi, MI||Novi|
|10||Collin Hewitt||FR||G||5-11||180||Harbor Springs, MI||Harbor Springs Christian HS|
|12||Matt Van Pelt||JR||G||5-9||165||Rockford, MI||Rockford|
|20||Pierre Brackett||FR||F||6-3||210||Flint, MI||Flint Powers HS|
|21||Nick Mascarro||SO||G||5-11||160||Grandville||Tri-Unity Chirstian|
|22||Matt Howe||JR||F||6-9||225||Richland, MI||Gull Lake|
|23||Matt Carden||JR||F||6-6||230||Clinton Township, MI||Fraser|
|24||Derek Belote||SR||G||6-2||180||Spring Arbor||Jackson Community College|
|30||Chandler Okey||FR||G||6-2||155||Bluffton, IN||Bluffton HS|
|32||Jake Peterson||SO||C||6-9||240||Canton||Plymouth Salem|