By Mike Max

By Mike Max, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Ryan Hoag was a Minnesota Viking long before that he was a standout athlete in the Minneapolis City Conference. That’s where he’s returned to help turn around another sport.

Hoag went from Gustavus Adolphus College to an eight-year career in professional football.

But what he’s doing has nothing to do with football but another love — tennis. Hoag is now the boy’s tennis head coach at Washburn High School.

“He’s a great tennis coach, he’s very inspiring. No matter what he’s always having us bouncing over,” said tennis player Varo Zembryki.

What’s impressive for Hoag is that he didn’t take the job just to pass time in the spring with his heart in football. Tennis is another place that he has passion and his team is indicative of what he believers.

Hoag was a star tennis player at Washburn when the school had a winning team. And that’s what he wants to bring it back.

“I didn’t take this job to become second fiddle to the South who’s been a perennial in the last 10 years, or Southwest. I came to take this program over and be the city champions,” said Hoag.

His practices do offer a little football-feel.

“I want to say rough but he’s tough. He’ll hit hard balls; he won’t just hit it back and forth. He’ll give you advice on how to hit shots and he’ll really push you,” said tennis player Aaron Chung.

That’s what he wants — to challenge and push his team to new heights, the same way he made it sports.

“We can do two things more than anybody — we can work harder than anybody and we can be more prepared than anybody. And we can have fun too …  and that’s the goal,” said Hoag.

Comments (4)
  1. Brendon says:

    can you really call him a former NFL Pro? did he actually play in a regular season game? I just looked him up on wikipedia and he seems to have been signed and released a lot during pre-season and was on a practice squad. that doesn’t count

    1. Sdecka says:

      Ummm, so what?

  2. Jon Lendrum says:

    Greatest coach I’ve ever had, but most importantly the greatest guy I know…


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