From the coaching box to the AD’s office…Ryan Presnell ready to tackle new role

Published 1:50 pm Tuesday, May 21, 2024

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Ryan Presnell is accustomed to being in a tight position and needing to make a difficult call or two with the game and season on the line.

He just finished a storybook season where he took a young team that took its licks on the chin during the regular season to within two games in the sub-state against Knox Gibbs of making it to the state tournament.

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He recapped the season by saying, “I was super proud of the kids and where we came from the last 12 months. They did everything that I asked. There was a lot of trust and faith between the coaches and players. We came in every day with a goal of making the state tournament and we got really close, running out of steam there at the end. To make it to the sub state with as young a team as we had was absolutely incredible. I am looking forward to the future of Cyclone baseball.”

The future of Cyclone baseball, however, will be without Presnell as with a recent press release from the Elizabethton School System, he has been named as the new Athletic Director at Elizabethton High School replacing Forrest Holt who recently announced he was stepping down after a six-year tenure.

It’s just another opportunity that Presnell looks at in God opening another door in his life – one that he is ready and willing to step through.

“It brings a lot of challenges,” said Presnell. “One of the biggest challenges is not getting to work with kids every day. I do know that I am going to come in here every day with the idea of enabling coaches like myself to forge relationships with those kids to win championships.”

The athletic department at Elizabethton High School is in great shape thanks to the leadership under Holt over the last six years, including coming through the 2020 season impacted by the COVID virus.

It’s the type of job that Presnell has been able to adapt to as he changes speed going from putting in many hours on the baseball diamond to now overseeing the various sports and even over a  $3 million dollar athletic complex that is getting ready to be built on campus.

“I know that I am inheriting something that is incredibly healthy,” said Presnell. “Coach Holt has done a phenomenal job and I have some big shoes to fill. I am looking forward to the challenge and to the change of scenery. One of the things bred into me in the military was to be ready for change. I think there are going to be some big obstacles to conquer this first year but I am looking forward to doing it.

“I am really proud to be over Cyclone athletics. I know that I am not in charge of all of it, but at the end of the day, to enable these coaches to do what they do at a championship level is incredibly exciting to me.”

In regard to the complex that will soon have its groundbreaking, Presnell is looking forward to bringing some experience to the plate as he also has been recently overseeing the building of a baseball hitting facility at the Northeast Community Credit Union Ballpark facility.

“It’s something that has been needed for a while,” said Presnell. “I will be proud to shepherd that along with Mr. (Richard) VanHuss and Dr. (Jon) Minton. I think that it’s something here that can help coaches push their program to the next level.

“From working through building the hitting facility down at the baseball field, I have seen a lot of the challenges. We have had great parental support down there and I count on having the same up here for this facility. We would really love to make this the crown jewel of Cyclone athletics and put it together as quickly as possible.”

With all the time that baseball required, Presnell often didn’t get to see other sports seasons at the school and is looking forward to watching the plethora of sports offered by the school and evening teaching his own kids to appreciate other sports besides baseball.

“I can’t wait to now have time to go see the other sports play because a lot of times we were with our team so much that we got tasked out in so many different directions that we couldn’t go to many other sports events,” Presnell said. “We keep up with it at a distance.

“I look forward to being able to be there to contribute to sports like soccer, volleyball, tennis and golf – I love that because I love these sports and these coaches are my friends. There is going to be long hours put in. I love my job and I love being here with these kids. This will give me a little more flexibility. I can see me and my kids at the golf course driving around and watching a match and just teaching them about other sports.”

Presnell is married to Sarah and the couple have three children – 12-year-old Ryan Jr., 10-year-old Caroline, and six-year-old Cole.