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Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016

Puxico to dedicate gymnasium to legendary coach Arnold Ryan

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

PUXICO -- Puxico High School will dedicate its gymnasium to former coach Arnold Ryan on Friday night at 5:30 p.m. The event is open to the public.

"We're hoping all the ex-players, cheerleaders and students he had will attend," said Carroll Cookson, a former player of Ryan's. "All the public is invited. This should have been done a long time ago."

Ryan is a Southeast Missouri coaching legend, leading Puxico's basketball program to great prominence in the late '40s and early '50s.

His team won the state championship in 1951 and 1952, and took third place in 1950.

"He also coached the volleyball team over here, and they didn't lose a game for five years," noted Cookson.

Ryan went on to coach at Memphis State University, then came back to coach at Woodland, Lilbourn and Charleston.

In May of 1971, Ryan was killed while coaching baseball. During warmups, a ball hit him in the back of the head and took his life.

"He died doing what he loved," said Cookson. "He has done so much for the sport of basketball in Southeast Missouri. He started the fastbreak, the press and all that. We went over 100 points 13 times. Hopefully we will have a good turnout on Friday night to remember his accomplishments."