Ryan Litzinger is the new assistant coach for the men’s basketball team.
He will replace previous assistant coach Robbie Harman, who accepted a job as assistant basketball coach at Davenport University in Michigan, his home state.
Litzinger came straight from an eight-year position as assistant coach for the University of West Georgia’s men’s basketball team.
Litzinger was born and raised in Rogers, Arkansas, but spent the last eight years as an assistant coach at the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, Georgia.
“I played basketball my entire life,” Litzinger said. “Growing up during the University of Arkansas Razorbacks’ glory years in the 1990s, I never wanted to go to college anywhere else.
“I ended up as student manager at the University of Arkansas, which led me into coaching at West Georgia and eventually here at OCU.”
Litzinger arrived on campus two weeks before classes started, he said.
“I am really enjoying it here, though,” Litzinger said. “The campus is beautiful and vibrant as everyone is returning for the fall semester.”
Litzinger already has set some personal and team goals, which include helping Head Coach Vinay Patel as much as possible and getting the team back in shape before practice starts in October, he said.
“Beyond that, I just want to help us get in a position to compete for a national championship,” Litzinger said. “I know that’s what this institution and department is all about, and OCU men’s basketball is due for another banner.”
Some men on the team spent the summer on campus taking summer classes and working out with Coach Patel, while some of the international students just arrived on campus.
“I know they’re eager to get to work and start learning how to play with one another,” Litzinger said. “I can already tell that this is a group that’s hungry for success.”
Litzinger helped the Wolves win a Gulf South Conference regular season championship in 2015 and a GSC Tournament championship in 2016, according to OCUsports.com. He also led West Georgia to three NCAA tournament appearances in the last five years during his tenure there.
“I think Coach Litzinger will push us to become better basketball players and a better team,” Junior Forward Elijah Christman said. “I think he’ll take some of the weight off of our head coach, Coach Patel, and allow him to coach at an even higher level than he already does.”
The team’s first game is at 3 p.m. Oct. 28 against Manhattan Christian at home in Abe Lemons Arena in Henry J. Freede Wellness and Activity Center.
“I really appreciate the welcome I’ve received all around campus,” Litzinger said. “I’ve been getting a crash course on OCU and the lay of the land here, and everyone has been incredibly friendly and helpful. I can see the support for our basketball team is going to be phenomenal.”