Ryan Dickson enters his fourth season as Head Coach of the LaGrange College men's soccer team in 2021-22. He started as a Graduate Assistant Coach for the Panthers, coming to LaGrange in the summer of 2015 to pursue a master's degree in philanthropy and development.
During his time at LaGrange, the Panthers won their first-ever USA South game in 2015. He helped lead the team into the USA South tournament during the 2017 season for the first time in program history.
Dickson was ecstatic to be named head coach following the 2017 season.
“I am very excited to get this opportunity to become the head coach at LaGrange College," said Dickson. "It makes it even more exciting because I have already worked with these players for three seasons. We have reached new heights every year that I have been here. I would like to thank former Men's Soccer Head Coach Matthew Evans in guiding me along the way for the last few years and leaving me with a good group of players. I would also like to thank Athletic Director Jennifer Claybrook for giving me this opportunity to continue moving this program forward.”
During Dickson's first year as head coach in 2018, the Panthers finished 10-9, their most wins since the 1993 season. The 10 wins are tied for the third most in a single season in program history. The 2018 Panthers also qualified for the USA South tournament for the second consecutive season, battling Maryville down to the wire in a 2-1 setback during the first round.
Dickson raised the bar once again in 2019, as the Panthers finished with a program-record 16 USA South points. Fourth-seeded LaGrange gave top-seeded Covenant everything it could handle during a 2-1 win for the Scots in the first round of the conference tournament.
During the abbreviated 2021 spring season, Enrique Hernandez and Blake Webb were named to the USA South All-Conference West Division first team, while Alex Drazic represented the Panthers on the West Division second team.
Dickson, a native of Portadown, Northern Ireland, came to LaGrange after being a Volunteer Coach at Emmanuel College in Franklin Springs, Georgia, for two seasons. He helped lead the Lions to a 16-20-2 record, as they transitioned from the NAIA to NCAA Division II.
In Northern Ireland, Dickson played for his local club, Portadown F.C., and made his first semi-professional debut at the age of 18. He then moved to Loughgall F.C., as he played in the Irish League for two seasons before coming to the United States. At the youth level, he represented his local County Armagh for three years in the world-famous Milk Cup tournament. He was part of Manchester United's School of Excellence for four years and was also involved in the Northern Ireland schools' development programs.
He started his collegiate career at South Carolina-Salkehatchie, finishing with 10 goals and nine assists. Dickson was named to the All-Region First 11 twice. He transferred to Emmanuel and played another two years, helping the Lions post an overall record of 21-16-2 in the Southern States Athletic Conference. He scored seven goals and had nine assists in 38 starts.
Dickson graduated from Emmanuel in 2013 with a bachelor's degree in kinesiology. Ryan is married to Jeannie Dickson.