CCDHS AD Ryan announces retirement

Abe Winter
Star Staff Writer

It’s time to move on for Custer County District High School athletics/activities  director Mike Ryan — at age 50.

Lucky guy.

The relatively young AD has resigned, effective at the end of June, to move to Billings, where many family members reside.

“It’s been good,” he said of his 19 years in Miles City. “The best part of my job is that I’ve gotten to work with good people. That’s what I’ll miss the most, the relationships.”

A graduate of Billings West High School (1985) and Rocky Mountain College (1991), Ryan spent seven years at Ekalaka High School coaching basketball and track and field (boys and girls) while teaching history and physical education.

“Those small communities live for high school sports,” Ryan said, adding that he still has “a lot of good friends” in the southeastern Montana town.

He arrived in Miles City in 1999 as an assistant athletic director to Ted Schreiber, who spent 21 years at the position before turning the reins over to Ryan five years ago.

Ryan and wife Karen, a special education teacher, have two children — Cole, who lives and works on a ranch near Bozeman, and Megan, a student who is majoring in chemistry at Carroll College in Helena.

Ryan believes the CCDHS athletic program he is leaving is in relatively good shape, except for two head coaching positions — girls basketball and volleyball — that need to be filled

“Those are the biggest concerns, those two positions,” Ryan said of resignations by Aaron Essex (basketball) and Marci Mollman (volleyball).

Those hirings might be part of the next athletic director’s duties. That could be Ruben Moreno, who was offered the position Tuesday night at the CCDHS School Board meeting.

Moreno, currently the AD at Sidney Public Schools, hasn’t accepted the position as of yet, but Ryan likes the idea of his hiring.

“He has experience in Eastern A (athletics), so that’s good,” Ryan said.

CCDHS boys basketball coach Houston Finn said he enjoyed working with Ryan.

“The thing I appreciated most about him is he’s a great man and I will miss him,” Finn said. “Mike’s done a tremendous job for Custer Custer School District.”

Meanwhile, Ryan is looking ahead to his days in Billings.

“It’s just to be near and wanting to spend time with family,” said Ryan, who spent a lot of time away from them with his coaching and AD duties.

“My wife and kids have been very supportive and I’ve  enjoyed my time in Miles City. This is home, where we raised our kids,” he said.

Rest assured he won’t be a couch potato. After all, his first week of retirement will be spent floating down Smith River with others from CCDHS.

“I’ll have to find something to do (in Billings),” Ryan said. “I’ll need to stay busy.”

Just like he was here in Miles City for almost two decades.

(Contact Abe Winter at or 406-234-0450.)