By Cheyenne Keith
Behind every great basketball program, there’s a genius who engineers the talent and prepares the savage athletes for a championship. For Arcata, that man’s name is Ryan Bisio. The thirty-four year old Humboldt County native is heading into his second year as head coach for the tigers and after an exceptional season last year, hopes are even higher as the upcoming season rolls around.
“I think the outlook is potentially better than last year. The returning group looks a lot better,” Bisio said.
Arcata basketball has always been a powerhouse. Living up to the expectations of others in the community isn’t a thought in the mind of Bisio, because of the fact that he has totally eliminated the word “expectation” from the program. Instead, he finds hope and desire to fuel the minds of his players in order to help them grow as individuals and students of the game.
“We’ve eliminated the word ‘expectation’ from the program completely,” Bisio said,
“We try to be clear about what we want and hope.”
Of the returning players, he has a few exemplary leaders in mind that will be clear with their desires for the season.
“Well, we are returning a couple of all league caliber players,” Bisio said.
Being an exceptional coach is one thing that Bisio has accomplished in his career with Arcata so far, but where does the story begin for the brains behind the brawn? As it turns out, Bisio had attended Arcata High until sophomore year when he moved to St. Bernard’s. From there, he was given a scholarship to play for Notre Dame. The journey certainly didn’t end there as the future Arcata coach would leave Notre Dame in order go to Santa Rosa Junior College and move again to Cal State where he accomplished getting a degree in Jazz Studies. After college, Bisio moved to Denmark to play professional basketball as a point guard and also helped to coach the club to back to back final fours. With a history like that, free time would seem to be faint. For Bisio, however, it was quite the opposite.
“I had a lot of free time. I wrote a lot of music, toured, wrote a book, travelled,” Bisio said.
If there is something Bisio loves more than basketball, it’s music. Behind the deep voice that he talks with is a vocal quality that will certainly take one by surprise.
“I think he has the voice of somebody that will be famous!” Asher Critch enthusiastically said.
Not all musicians are born with the music fundamentally sound in their minds. For Bisio, it started at a later age.
“Well, what happened was I won the Junior Olympics in Bowling [at age six] and the prize was a Yamaha piano. That’s what started it all,” Bisio said.
Since his favorite artist is Tom Waits, Bisio’s favorite style of music falls between folk, rock, and the blues.
“I’m just a full on musician man; an artist who cares deeply about my work and hopefully someone who people enjoy working with,” Bisio confidently said.
Music has a huge role in how he coaches too. He applies the necessary flow of music to his basketball coaching skills, making it easy for Bisio to be a player’s coach–one that cares about the trust and cohesiveness of his team.
“I think it’s a fun style, and I know people [the players] like to get out and move around; coach Bisio allows that with some limitations,” former coach Eric Vollmers said.
“I think he’s doing a great job,” Vollmers said, “I expect it to continue, and I think we are fortunate to have him here.”
The tigers are hoping for a great season under Bisio’s leadership and looking forward to something special to coming out of it.
“He really believes in the fact that it’s on us and that he can only do so much,” senior CJ Gray said, “It’s great because it allows others to emerge as leaders. It’s going to be an awesome season!”