In April of 2016, UMBC Director of Athletics Tim Hall announced the hiring of Ryan Odom as the ninth head men's basketball coach in school history. It's safe to say that that the marriage has worked out quite well for a growing #RetrieverNation, in addition to positively impacting the pride of the Baltimore metropolitan and Mid-Atlantic regions.
In his second year at the helm, Odom and his staff brought the program and the university to a place that even the most ardent Retriever supporter would have thought was impossible. In a six-day span, UMBC won an America East Conference title at prohibitive favorite Vermont and followed up by engineering the first victory for a No. 16 seed over a No. 1 seed in NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament history. UMBC overwhelmed the tournament’s top overall seed, Virginia, 74-54, in Charlotte, N.C., earning an ESPY nomination for the “Best Moment” of the year.
The Retrievers won a school-record 25 games (25-11) and Odom earned the 2018 Hugh Durham Award as the nation’s top mid-major coach. Baltimore multi-media entity, Press Box tabbed Odom, along with graduate student guard Jarius Lyles as Sportspersons of the Year.
In the wake of UMBC's unprecedented success, two staff members - Griff Aldrich (Longwood) and Eric Skeeters (Delaware State) - earned Division I head coaching positions in the spring of 2018. Despite those departures, and the losses of Lyles, senior guards K.J. Maura and Jourdan Grant, along with season-ending injuries to starters Daniel Akin and Max Curran, Odom and his revamped coaching staff led UMBC back to the America East Championship game in 2018-19.
The 2018-19 Retrievers (21-13, 11-5, third America East) set a program record by winning 20 or more games in three consecutive seasons. Odom has compiled a three-year mark of 67-37 at UMBC and a four-year head coaching record of 96-58. The North Carolina native has led three of the top four win-producing teams in school history.
After finishing 7-25 in 2015-16, the new Retriever mentor led UMBC (21-13) to its first winning season since 2007-08, when the Retrievers went to the NCAA Tournament. UMBC finished the year as the nation’s third-most improved team, with a +13.0 mark, behind only Minnesota and UCLA. Odom’s team posted three wins in the CIT and became the first America East team to triumph in three games in a postseason tournament.
Odom earned the 2017 Joe B. Hall Award, which is presented annually to the top first-year coach in Division I.
The only similarities between the 2016-17 and 2018-19 teams were in the win-loss column. Odom's first squad outscored its foes, averaging 81.1 points per game, finishing 25th in the nation in scoring offense. The most recent edition allowed 64.0 points per contest, currently (March 25) ranked 25th in the country in that category.
Odom served as head men's basketball coach at Lenoir-Rhyne (N.C.) University for the 2015-16 season. The Bears (21-10) advanced to the NCAA Division II Regional Finals for the first time in school history and won 20 games in a season for the first time in eight years. Lenoir-Rhyne improved by 10.5 games from the previous campaign, led the nation in 3-point field goals made per game (12.4) and finished ninth in the country in scoring at 90.1 points per game.
Prior to earning the position at Lenior-Rhyne, Odom coached at UNC Charlotte, 2010-15. The 49ers earned a bid to the NIT in 2013. In May of 2014, the Durham, N.C. native was elevated to associate head coach and on January 6, 2015, Odom was named interim head coach at Charlotte for the remainder of the season.
Odom led the 49ers to eight victories (8-11) as mentor and coached Torin Dorn to Conference USA Freshman-of-the-Year honors and Pierria Henry to third-team all-league accolades.
Prior to his tenure in Charlotte, Odom spent seven years on the coaching staff at Virginia Tech as an assistant and was part of a Hokies' team that earned a berth to the NCAA Division I Tournament in 2007 and beat Illinois in the first round.
Odom was also an assistant coach at American (2000-03), UNC Asheville (1999-00) and Furman (1997-99) and served one year as an administrative assistant at South Florida (1996-97).
Odom graduated from Hampden-Sydney in 1996 with a bachelor's degree in economics and was a four-year starting point guard on the men's basketball team. He served as team captain his senior season and led Hampden-Sydney to an 80-30 record during his playing career, including two berths in the NCAA Division III Tournament. In addition, Odom finished his career as the school's all-time leader in three-pointers made and placed fourth in assists.
Ryan is the son of Dave Odom, who retired in 2008 as the head coach at South Carolina. The elder Odom earned SEC Coach of the Year honors 2004 and ACC Coach of the Year honors in 1991,1994 and 1995, while at Wake Forest University.
Odom, his wife, Lucia, and their son Owen reside in Annapolis. Their older son, Connor, attends Oak Hill (Va.) Academy and competes in boys' basketball.