GC hires Aquino as new Men’s Basketball Coach


Courtesy of GC Athletics

GC’s new head basketball coach, Ryan Aquino.

Alayna Fogarty, Contributing Writer

Bobcat alumnus Ryan Aquino was recently announced the new GC men’s basketball head coach on June 18. 

GC men’s basketball is not unfamiliar to Aquino. He has served roles such as assistant coach and head recruiting coordinator for the past eight years. 

Aquino graduated from GC in 2012 and played for the GC basketball team from 2008 to 2012. He later received his master’s degree from GC in 2015. 

As an undergraduate at GC, Aquino was a very accomplished player. In his senior year, he was invited to play in Reese’s Senior All-Star Game. 

Aquino received awards such as All-Southeast Region First Team honors from the National Association of Basketball Coaches and Daktronics. He also received All-PBC First Team as well after he became the only player to average a double-double in the Peach Belt Conference. 

“It is crazy to think about when the news came out and they announced that I was the first alumni in the program,” Aquino said. “Just seeing the amount of support from the alumni that I have coached and played with and those that I know from before my time, their support was very humbling, and it all means a lot to me.” 

Coach Aquino and Senior Brandon Thomas are both looking forward to the season opener this year, as GC is playing UGA in their first game. 

“I am looking forward to how we perform on the biggest of stages,” Thomas said. “This will be the biggest contest we have had in a few years because of COVID-19.” 

“I love the shift with Coach Aquino,” said senior Richard Crawford. “He has adapted quickly and has shown very high energy towards his new position and to the team. He is developing a really good system that fits the team well and allows each player to succeed in a way that best suits them.”

The Bobcats were 21-8 a season ago. They appeared in their first NCAA tournament in over a decade, and this team is looking to pick back up where they left off. 

“The biggest keys to success this season are defense, communication, and composure,” Thomas said. “I expect that we continue the success we’ve had as a program these recent years and ultimately I see us returning to the national stage.” 

The Bobcats lost a couple of key players from a season ago. One of them being GC’s all-time leading scorer, Jordan Thomas. The other was former three-year starter and team captain Wesley Simpson, who played an extremely important role in his time at GC. 

“We lost two guys that have started the past three years, they are not only unbelievable players but also unbelievable kids,” Aquino said. “This allows so many opportunities in leadership in some of our younger players and I am excited to see that play out.” 

Aquino continues to prepare for his first season as head coach for his alma mater. The team hopes to have a repeat of the success from a season ago, and to reach a step further. 

The Bobcats tip off their season this fall with a scrimmage against UGA.