Ryan Bown is set to enter his ninth season as Penn State Harrisburg baseball head coach in 2021.
Under his leadership, the program has enjoyed unmatched success. Bown has led the Lions to a pair of NCAA Division III Tournament appearances (2013, 2019), a North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) Championship (2013) and a pair of Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) Championship Series appearances (2018, 2019).
The 2020 campaign was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Penn State Harrisburg halted play after just 12 games. Despite the shortened season, Bret Williams became the first student-athlete in school history to earn College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-America honors when he was named to the organization's academic all-America second team. He was also named CoSIDA Academic All-District earlier in the spring. Prior to the 2020 season, Williams was named a D3baseball.com Preseason First-Team All-American and he joined Travis Van Houten, Zak Koroneos, Chase Smith and Tyler Jackson on the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper (CBN) Division III Players to Watch List. The Lions also earned their first-ever preseason ranking when they were ranked No. 24 in the CBN 2020 Preseason NCAA Division III Poll.
The 2019 campaign saw the Blue & White rack up a program-record 33 wins and secure an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament. Penn State Harrisburg picked up its first-ever NCAA Tournament victory with a 13-12 win over Alvernia in May. As a team, the Lions ranked second in the nation in runs scored, third in home runs, third in walks, fifth in slugging percentage and fifth in hits. Penn State Harrisburg won five games against nationally-ranked teams and picked up 14 victories over teams that qualified for the 2019 NCAA Tournament. Williams, Miguel Torres and Travis Van Houten were named CAC First-Team All-Conference, while Zach Gettys earned second-team all-conference recognition.
Under Bown’s tutelage in 2019, Williams earned First-Team All-America honors from the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) and D3baseball.com, while Torres was named an ABCA Second-Team All-American. Williams was named the ABCA Mid-Atlantic Regional Player of the Year to go along with First-Team All-Region recognition from the ABCA and D3baseball.com, as well as CAC Player of the Year honors. Torres joined Van Houten as ABCA First-Team All-Region honorees, while both were named Second-Team All-Region by D3baseball.com. Williams (Hits – 88, Runs – 75, Total Bases – 161) and Van Houten (RBI – 71) also combined to win four NCAA Statistical Championships following the 2019 campaign.
The Lions made a run to the CAC Championship Series in the spring of 2018. Following the season, Williams became the first player in program history to earn all-region recognition when he secured ABCA All-Region First-Team honors.
In 2017, Williams earned Second-Team All-CAC honors thanks to his outstanding rookie season. In 2016, the Blue & White advanced to the CAC Playoffs for the first time since joining the conference in 2014. They won their first game in the postseason when they upset top-seeded Frostburg State. Mark Artley was named First-Team All-CAC for his efforts, while Brendan Riotto earned second-team all-conference honors.
In 2013, Bown inherited a squad that combined to win 14 games the previous two seasons and finished last in the North East Athletic Conference (NEAC). During his first year at the helm, Bown’s team won a school-record 26 games, including 16 in a row. The season ended with the program’s first NEAC Championship and an appearance in the NCAA Division III Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament.
Bown’s first collegiate coaching gig was at Shippensburg University from 2008-2010, where he served as the team’s head assistant coach. In 2008, Shippensburg won the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) West, Atlantic Regional Championship and made an appearance in the NCAA Division II World Series. Two players from that team were also drafted.
Prior to arriving at Penn State Harrisburg, Bown spent two years at nearby Hershey High School. In 2012, the Trojans won their first ever Mid-Penn Conference Championship and finished the season with an impressive 22-2 record.
Bown is a 2004 graduate of Ursinus College. In his senior year, he was an All-Centennial Conference pitcher and made the Centennial’s Academic All-Conference Team. He also serves as Penn State Harrisburg's Strength and Conditioning Coach for all of the college's varsity athletic programs and holds his Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) certificate. Bown currently resides in Palmyra with his wife Rachel and two sons, Braydon and Nolan.
Season by Season:
|Year||Overall Record||Conf. Record||Postseason|
|2020||7-5||(N/A)||Season cut short due to COVID-19|
|2019||33-15-1||(14-7)||NCAA Tournament, CAC Championship Series|
|2018||31-14||(12-6)||CAC Championship Series|
|2016||19-23||(9-9)||CAC Championship Tournament|
|2013||26-16||(10-4)||NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional, NEAC Tournament Champions|
|Total||156-148-1||57-66||2 NCAA Tournament Appearances, 1 Conference Championship|