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Coach Orner: Officer to Coach

By sabrina Brown
On August 30, 2012

For much of his life, Xavier cross country head coach Ryan Orner would have been better addressed by a different title: Officer.
Following four years of running for Towson University, Orner went directly into the State Police Academy. He then spent 12 years working for the Maryland State Police.
However, four years into his career in law enforcement, Orner realized that something vital was missing from his life.
"I really started missing that connection and tie that I not only had to running, but college athletics in general. So I started coaching," Orner said.
He then began living a dual life: trouper by day, coach by night.
"Day-to-day, it was an interesting transition," Orner said. "I'd spend my mornings and some evenings dealing with some of the worst criminals you can imagine, and then transition over to coaching some of the brightest and most talented athletes in the country."
Orner began by coaching at Old Fields, a private, all-girls boarding school. He then transitioned to an assistant coach at Johns Hopkins University before moving to Cincinnati for his wife's work.
Upon first moving to Cincinnati, he volunteered as an assistant coach at the University of Cincinnati before taking the head coaching position at Xavier this summer.
"I loved my career in law enforcement. I had a lot of fun and worked with some great people on very interesting cases. But ultimately I found out that coaching was really where my heart was, what I wanted in my future," Orner said.
Orner has now given up his career in law enforcement in order to focus solely on his career in coaching.
Almost as unique as his career path, however, is Orner's coaching philosophy. He believes that workouts created for the individual are more effective than those designed for the team as a whole.
"There's no standard workout that I have everyone on the team do," Orner said. "I truly believe that every athlete is different, and you need to figure out what's going to work best for them by individualizing the workouts."
Orner has high hopes for this year's team, and he credits the team for a smooth transition throughout the coaching change.
"This is not only a very talented group of student athletes, but an extremely hardworking group as well," Orner said. "They're very dedicated to their sport and to getting better. As soon as I came in and started working with them, I saw that from day one."


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