Coast athletes aren’t the only ones climbing the ranks lately.
Ocean Springs High girls soccer coach Ryan Joiner has been announced as the next coach of the East Central Community College girls soccer program.
The move comes with mixed emotions for the Coast native.
“I’m obviously very excited about the opportunity to get back into the college ranks. I’m very appreciative and honored to be the next coach at East Central,” he said Monday. “It’s hard to see those faces (of the OSHS players) when you tell them you’re leaving, but it’s a dream of mine to move on to the next level as a head coach.”
Joiner replaces Gray Massey, who left to coach at the Mississippi University for Women after compiling a 47-26-7 record in three seasons. Joiner expects to finish this season with OSHS and will officially begin at ECCC on June 1.
“We’re now very fortunate to have a coach the caliber of Ryan Joiner join our staff who has a proven record of success,” ECCC president Billy Stewart said in a release. “I am confident that he will continue to move our women’s soccer program forward and will help us meet the academic and athletic goals we have for our team and student-athletes.”
An Ocean Springs native and former Greyhound goalkeeper, Joiner moved on to play at Meridian Community College and later returned in 2011 as an assistant men’s coach and recruiting coordinator.
Joiner returned to the Coast in 2013, when he turned St. Stanislaus into a perennial winner. The Rockachaws claimed three straight MHSAA Class 4A titles under Joiner’s watch, compiling a 57-15-3 overall record in the process.
Prior to the 2016 season, Joiner moved back to OSHS to take over the girls’ program. OSHS finished second in the state in his Lady Greyhound debut and are currently 10-6-1 and ranked No. 10 in Mississippi according to MaxPreps.com.
“I think going to St. Stanislaus first helped me hone my craft as a coach and people organizer,” Joiner said. “Then moving on to Ocean Springs, you take on a bigger program, bigger expectations, more people to deal with. I feel like I have grown as a person and coach (since 2013).”
Along with Gulfport boys coach Henrik Madsen, Joiner was set to coach Port City FC of the Gulf Coast Premier League.
Joiner said he’ll essentially be pulling double duty as signing day is rapidly approaching next month. Joiner expects seven players to return from this year’s team, which leaves 11 roster spots to fill. He hopes to maintain the three previous verbal commitments ECCC had, but that means adding eight players — including four international players — to round out the school’s 2018 signing class.