Ryan Saunders joined the Crusaders as an Assistant Men's Basketball coach in August 2015 after spending the previous twelve years – four as a player and eight as an assistant – at Barry University in Miami, Florida.
Saunders assists in all aspects of the program while focusing on the Crusaders' defense and guards. He also serves responsibilities for recruiting, on-court coaching, scouting, player development, and academics.
Prior to joining Belmont Abbey, Saunders was a member of a 2014-15 coaching staff that helped the Barry Buccaneers to a 25-6 season, advancing to the second round of the NCAA Division II National Tournament – the fifth national tourney he was a part of at the school. Barry rose to No. 2 in the nation, and was ranked in the Top 25 in the national polls in every week but the first during the season. Saunders helped guide senior point guard Deric Hill on his way to breaking the single-season assist record and earning all-conference honors.
In 2013-14, Saunders helped lead Barry to a 19-9 record and trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Buccaneers finished fourth in the Sunshine State Conference, following a 9-7 league mark. Barry beat two ranked opponents, and opened the season with nine straight wins to earn a No. 25 national ranking. The Bucs ranked fourth in the nation in assists per game (18.9).
In 2009-10, Saunders helped the Bucs reach the Sunshine State Conference Tournament championship game and an NCAA Division II National Tournament bid. The Bucs went on to defeat Florida Southern, 64-59, for the first NCAA Tournament win in three trips to the dance.
During his tenure as assistant coach at Barry, Saunders coached one all-American, three all-South region players, seven all-conference players, two defensive players of the year, and one conference newcomer of the year. In addition, five players under Saunders made the SSC all-tournament team.
Prior to his coaching career, Saunders, who made 120 straight starts in his four-year career – playing in every game – walked away as the Bucs’ all-time leader with 578 assists. His assist total ranked fifth in SSC history at the time. Saunders was the starting point guard on two Buccaneer squads that earned NCAA Tournament berths under head coach Cesar Odio. In 2003-04, he was named to the SSC All-Freshman Team, averaging 7.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists. He shot career-highs from the floor (50.4), three-point range (42.0) and free throw line (75.0). As a sophomore in 2004-05, he started all 32 games at the point, averaging 5.1 assists per game to lead the conference. He also chipped in 4.9 points and 2.1 rebounds as Barry posted a then school-best 23-9 overall record. As a senior, Saunders was named First-Team All-SSC, and led Barry to its second NCAA tournament berth in three seasons. Again starting every game, he was third on the team in scoring at 9.5 points and in assists at 4.2 per game. He pumped in a career-high 29 points in a 68-62 win over Lynn on Jan. 24, 2007.
Saunders received his bachelor's degree in 2007 and his MBA in 2009, both from Barry University.
A native of Orlando, FL, Saunders resides in Charlotte, NC.