Growing up in Tarkio, Missouri, Jim Ryan wasn't ready to give to up his love for athletics when he received his high school diploma. Although he didn't come to Northwest as a highly sought after recruit, track coach Dick Flanagan and cross country coach Richard Alsup saw something special in him and success soon followed.
When he arrived in Maryville, he found himself surrounded by an outstanding group of athletes. This competition fueled his drive for success. Fiercely competing in practice allowed him to be at his best when it mattered most. During his career, Jim became a three-time All-American and six-time MIAA champion holding school records in the 1,500 meters and his favorite event, the 3,000 meter steeplechase. He earned a trip to the NCAA National Championships in each of his four years as a Bearcat.
Jim ran during a time when cross country and distance running was beginning to grow not only in the MIAA, but across the country. He was involved in a number of battles with rivals from Southeast Missouri, Central Missouri and Missouri Southern and was able to peak at the right moment, claiming a championship in the 5,000 meters as a senior.
Jim fondly remembers training and competing with an outstanding group of athletes during his time as a Bearcat. They taught him to look deep inside for that last reserve of strength that he didn't know was there which made him a better student-athlete and continues to benefit him throughout his life today.
Jim graduated from Northwest with a degree in Industrial Arts Education and currently lives in Cincinnati.