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Haddam resident Ryan Cherry teaches science at Eliot Middle School in Clinton, in addition to coaching its boys’ soccer and girls’ basketball squads. For the past four years, Ryan has also worked alongside Head Coach Eric Bergman as an assistant coach with the Morgan golf team. (Photo courtesy of Ryan Cherry )
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Ryan Cherry has been a pillar of the Clinton community as both a coach and a teacher for nearly 15 years. While Ryan enjoys guiding his teams to success, he gets his greatest satisfaction from making a difference in the lives of his student-athletes.
Ryan grew up in Idaho, then moved to Colorado, and has lived in Connecticut for the past 14 years. A Haddam resident, Ryan teaches 7th-grade science at Eliot Middle School in Clinton, where he’s coached boys’ soccer for 14 years and girls’ basketball for the last eight years. Ryan has piloted the soccer squad to five Shoreline Conference championships, while helping the girls’ hoops team claim three conference crowns.
In addition to coaching at the middle school, Ryan has also served as an assistant coach for the golf squad at Morgan for the past four seasons. He’s helped Head Coach Eric Bergman’s squad capture a both Shoreline Conference title and a state title throughout his tenure.
“I applied for the head coaching job originally when Eric got the job. At the time, I was hired as an assistant to him to help promote girls on the team and potentially start a girls’ team,” says Ryan. “The girls’ team was unable to [continue as a program], but we did get some girls to join the boys’ team, which is now co-ed.”
As someone who works with a young cast of athletes, Ryan focuses on preparing them to take that next step after they graduate from middle school. No matter what level he’s coaching at, Ryan aims to bring out the best in his athletes by stressing the importance of integrity.
“I work with younger kids, so my focus is more on developing their character and attitude. I am also trying to prepare them for the more competitive high-school level of sports,” Ryan says. “I try to motivate with positive feedback and emphasize character traits more than winning.”
Still, Ryan likes it when he sees his athletes experience those triumphant moments. The look on their faces reminds Ryan why he coaches kids during all three seasons of the school year.
“I love when the kids succeed. I enjoy seeing them blossom and see their personalities outside the classroom,” he says. “I also enjoy when they feel a sense of accomplishment when they win. It’s always great to see them hit their goals.”
Coach Bergman credits Ryan for wisely uses the precious time that he gets to spend working athletes. Bergman says that Ryan does a great job of helping the Huskies’ golfers sharpen their skills on the links.
“Coach Cherry is truly a transformative coach and mentor. Realizing his time with his players is limited, he focuses on setting goals, establishing routines, and enabling players to reflect on progress and outcomes,” says Bergman. “He’s a true credit to the profession of coaching, and it’s an honor to work beside him on the golf course.”
Ryan appreciates all the good will that he’s received from his fellow members of the Clinton community. Ryan says that everyone in town offers a great wave of support as he helps Clinton’s youngsters reach their potential both on the field and in the classroom.
“Clinton is a phenomenal community in all aspects. It is so supportive of me in teaching and coaching,” Ryan says. “The town has a great youth athletics program, and I love coaching here. It’s a family community here with supportive people.”
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