University of Galway appoints new Director of Sport and Physical Wellbeing

Des Ryan has been appointed the new Director of Sport and Physical Wellbeing at University of Galway. Credit – Martina Regan.
May 01 2024 Posted: 11:47 IST

University of Galway has announced the appointment of Des Ryan as the new Director of Sport and Physical Wellbeing. 

As Director of Sport and Physical Wellbeing Mr Ryan will play the lead role in the strategic management of sport and physical wellbeing in the University, including the development of infrastructure, facilities and participation for all sport activity.  

President of University of Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: “We are delighted to have someone with such a breadth of experience as Des Ryan to lead the development of sports and physical wellbeing at the University. From premier league soccer, to inter-provincial and world rugby, to gaelic games, and expertise in sports science, Des Ryan will bring a wealth of knowledge, experience and insight to the University. We are conscious of the relationship between academic performance, health and wellbeing, and we often look to our values of excellence, respect and openness when we think about the importance of sport and physical activity. I look forward to working with Des Ryan and colleagues in Spórt to ensure the broadening of opportunities and achievements of our students.” 

Congratulating Des Ryan on his appointment, University of Galway’s Dean of Students, Professor Ciara Meehan, said: "We are very pleased to have someone with Des Ryan’s experience and background to lead and develop our reputation as a leading third level institution for sport. As an established sports manager Des Ryan combines a passion for sport and a commitment to inclusion and diversity with a promise to support our elite athletes and promote the health and wellbeing of all our students and staff. We look forward to ensuring that our strengths and successes in sport will continue to grow and prosper." 

Speaking of his appointment, Des Ryan said: “I am delighted to be joining the University of Galway. I look forward to working with the whole student and staff community to develop a dual-aspirational plan to help increase the physical wellbeing of everyone in our University community and, secondly, to help people in the sporting community to be their best. I will work with all the students, staff and volunteers to help University of Galway be a healthy environment where everyone feels they belong and an environment where they can improve their physical wellbeing and sporting potential. 

“I would love to speak to any graduates or people from the wider community who would be interested in volunteering or supporting the University Sporting and Physical Activity projects.”    

Originally from Aughrim in Co. Galway, Mr Ryan is a leading youth coach and performance manager in sport and a world-renowned practitioner and speaker in the field of youth athletic development.  

Prior to joining the University, he worked for Setanta College as Director of Coaching and Athletic Development; Arsenal Football Club Academy as Head of Sport Medicine and Athletic Development; Head of Strength and Conditioning at Connacht Rugby; and Strength and Conditioning Coach and Fitness Education Manager within the IRFU. 

Over the years Des Ryan has presented at the UKSCA – the UK's Professional Body for Strength and Conditioning, the Australian Strength and Conditioning Association (ASCA) and the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) conferences, as well as many other conferences around the world. He also has worked as a consultant to World Rugby, Brentford FC and the National Cricket academy in India. Des works closely with the Gaelic Games community as a member of the Sports Science Working Group and also the Coaching Advisory Working Group.   

Des Ryan has a Masters in Strength and Conditioning and is also an Accredited Strength and Conditioning coach with the UKSCA. He also has achieved the High Performance Sports Accreditation from the British Association of Sports and Exercise Science and is a chartered scientist.   

University of Galway is home to 40 active sports clubs, which are student-led and organised, with more than 6,000 students participating in sport and physical activity at the University. 


Marketing and Communications Office


Featured Stories