Ryan Brownlee enters his second season as the head coach of the Fighting Leatherneck baseball team. Prior to Western, Brownlee spent nine seasons at Iowa as an assistant and as the Hawkeyes’ recruiting coordinator. Brownlee is the Leathernecks' sixth head coach since 1955.
In his first season at the helm, Brownlee led the Leathernecks to 19 wins, the most for a first year head coach in program history. Western improved in nearly every major statistical category in 2013 and also advanced to the Summit League Tournament for the first time since 2011. The Purple & Gold defeated South Dakota State in the opening round of the tournament for the team’s first tournament win since 2008.
Four Leathernecks received All-Conference honors in Brownlee’s first season at the helm. Jameson Henning was named First Team All-Conference, the first Leatherneck baseball player to receive the honor since 2008, while Steve Kedroski, Neil DeCook and Aaron Michel were named Second Team All-League. Michel was also named a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American, making him the second player in program history to receive Freshmen All-American honors (Ryan Schmidgall - 2003).
Under the guidance of Brownlee in 2013, Dan Dispensa ended the season with six triples which is good for the third most all-time in a single season. Dispensa also finished his career with 224 hits which is the second most in program history. Brian Loconsole notched nine saves in Brownlee’s first season, which is the most saves for both a single season and career in Leatherneck baseball history.
Brownlee also saw Henning be one of nine players in the conference to be named Academic All-League in 2013. In addition, Nick Bakeris, Tanner Glore and Tyler Farrell were named 2013 Winter/Spring Distinguished Scholars while 12 other members of the roster were named to the 2013 Winter/Spring honor roll (minimum 3.0 GPA).
The first career win for Brownlee came on February 17, 2013 at #1 Arkansas. The Leathernecks took down the top-ranked Razorbacks 7-5 in front of nearly 6,000 fans in Fayetteville, Ark. The win marked the first in program history over a top-ranked program.
Over the past 13 seasons, Brownlee has had 33 players he coached or recruited get selected in the Major League Baseball draft, and two more sign free agent contracts - including 16 over the past five years. In 2013, Loconsole was selected in the 20th round (607th overall) by the Los Angeles Angels, making him the highest Leatherneck selected in the MLB Draft since 1992.
While at Iowa, Brownlee oversaw the program's recruiting efforts. Perfect Game projected three of Iowa's last five recruiting classes as among the 'Top 50' nationally, including the 48th-best in 2011 and 45th-best in 2012. Along with the success on the diamond, Brownlee had seen an average of nine Hawkeyes per year earn Academic All-Big Ten honors during his tenure. A team-record 12 earned the distinction following the 2011 season.
Brownlee was recently recognized for his work helping student-athletes succeed in the classroom when he was invited to speak at the American Baseball Coaches Association national convention on the '10 Rules of Recovery' and time management planner programs he developed and implemented with the Iowa program.
Prior to Iowa, Brownlee worked at James Madison from 2000-03. In his second year, JMU advanced to the tournament championship game, then the following season Brownlee was a part of the 2002 team that won 43 games, the Colonial Athletic Association title and advance to the NCAA Regionals. During those four years, JMU ranked among the national leaders in various offensive categories, including: batting average, scoring, fielding percentage, doubles, triples, and stolen bases.
Brownlee played baseball collegiately at Evansville for his father, coach Jim Brownlee. He was a four-year starter, twice earned All-Conference honors and was an ABCA All-Region selection. Following his senior year, Brownlee received the University's William V. Slyker award as the Most Outstanding Male Athlete. After graduation he worked as an assistant coach for his dad at Evansville.
His summer coaching experiences include two summers in the Cape Cod League and two summers (2000-01) coaching the Quincy Gems of the Central Illinois Collegiate League.
Brownlee resides in Macomb with his wife, Aimee, and their two children, Jackson and Norah.