Ryan Sawyers completed his fifth season on the Purdue coaching staff in 2011, joining the Boilermakers on a full-time basis in August 2008. Sawyers works primarily as the pitching coach and also assists with defense. In the summer of 2009 he was promoted to the position of Recruiting Coordinator for the Boilermakers. He previously served as the volunteer assistant during the 2004 season.
Purdue's hot start and impressive showing in the month of April led to a memorable final full season at Lambert Field, as the Boilers posted 37 victories in 2011 to equal the program's single-season record.
Purdue's 37 overall wins were the most in the Big Ten Conference. The Boilermakers finished third in the league with a 14-10 conference record, one game out of first place, and reached the Big Ten Tournament for the fourth consecutive year.
Purdue led the Big Ten in numerous statistical categories, highlighted on the mound by saves and strikeouts. For the second year in a row, the Boilers led the league in Ks and had seven different pitchers record a save. Additionally, Purdue drew the most walks at the plate and issued the fewest number of free passes on the mound.
The 2011 pitching staff set new school records with 21 saves and a 2.85 strikeout-to-walk ratio, eclipsing the 2.35 strikeout-to-walk record established by the 2010 staff. The Boilers' average of 2.63 walks per nine innings was the lowest in program history.
Closer Nick Wittgren, a Second Team All-Big Ten honoree in 2011, recorded 12 saves during his first season with the program, leading the Big Ten and finishing one shy of Purdue's single-season record. He quickly emerged as the team's top reliever, finishing a game in 24 of his 28 relief appearances.
Matt Morgan (twice), Joe Haase and Brad Schreiber were all recognized as the Big Ten Pitcher of the Week in 2011. As one of only three seniors on the roster, Morgan was the leader of the pitching staff. Purdue posted an 11-2 record in games he started and the senior took the mound in the opener of every Big Ten series. He recorded his 200th career strikeout in the May 13 win against Illinois, becoming the eighth pitcher in program history to reach the benchmark.
Haase led the team in innings pitched, emerging as one of the pitching staff's most consistent performers in his first season as a starter. His six victories were highlighted by a complete-game shutout of Minnesota at Target Field during the conference-opening weekend.
Schreiber was leading the Big Ten in strikeouts and batting average against when he suffered a season-ending injury on April 17 at Penn State.
During the 2010 season the Boilermakers broke the record for strikeouts in a season with 435 which also led all Big Ten pitching staffs. The Boiler hurlers also finished the season with the Big Ten's best batting average against with opponents hitting .276 against Purdue throughout the entire season. Sawyers has seen three pitchers selected in the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft during his three seasons as pitching coach in West Lafayette. In that same period, the Boilermakers have claimed a league-high eight Big Ten Conference Pitcher of the Week awards and one National Player of the Week award.
Also during the 2010 season, its 123rd overall, senior right-hander Matt Bischoff became Purdue's all-time strikeout king during an April game against Northwestern. The Decatur, Ind., native later broke the single-season strikeout record against those same Wildcats during the Big Ten Conference Tournament in Columbus, Ohio.
Sawyers came to Purdue with a Central Illinois Collegiate League (now the Prospect League) title in tow after leading the Springfield Sliders to the championship in 2008. He was the Sliders' head coach in their first season in the league and led the team to a CICL-best 30-17 regular-season record. The Sliders won the first half, the regular season and the league championship. Sawyers was named Manager of the 2008 CICL All-Star team which defeated the KIT All-Star Team in Huntingburg, Ind.
Prior to joining Schreiber's staff at Purdue and his summer appointment in the CICL, he most recently served as an assistant at Garden City Community College in Garden City, Kan. During his three seasons (2005-08) with the Broncbusters he sent numerous players on to the Division I ranks and professional baseball, while also helping to lead them to a NJCAA Region VI runner-up finish in 2007. During Sawyers' time in Garden City players signed letters of intent with Purdue, Kansas, Florida Atlantic, Southeast Louisiana and Texas A&M Corpus Christi. Along with his pitching staff duties at Garden City, Sawyers coordinated recruiting, travel, fundraising, facility maintenance, strength and conditioning and academic monitoring. The Busters finished the 2008 academic year with the third best team GPA in the country.
He began his collegiate coaching career with a three-year stint at Shepherd University (2000-03) where the Rams won three consecutive division titles and finished runners-up at the 2002 NCAA II North Atlantic Regional. Under Sawyers' direction the Rams finished the season with the nation's 29th best ERA and led the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in ERA in 2002 and 2003.
After Shepherd, Sawyers spent a season as an assistant at Allegany College of Maryland and has also served as the head coach for the Front Royal Cardinals in the Valley Baseball League and as the pitching coach for the Chillicothe Paints independent professional team in the Frontier League.
His collegiate playing career includes pitching two seasons at West Virginia Wesleyan College where he was named the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year in 1999 and led the team in strikeouts both years. He also helped pitch Allegany College of Maryland to a Junior College World Series appearance in 1997. At Allegany Sawyers played for Junior College Hall of Fame Coach Steve Bazarnic.
Sawyers, who holds a bachelor's degree from West Virginia Wesleyan College and a master's degree from West Virginia University, lives in Lafayette with his wife, Jaime, son, Brady, and daughter, Chelsea.