Garden State Attack was founded by Coach Ryan McNeil, a former Division I College Coach and Player.
Coach McNeil’s first year as a head coach was August 2004, successfully built the fortunes of two volleyball programs for the NJIT Highlanders. Now, in a back to the future move, he is focused on building the fortune of Garden State Attack Volleyball Club.
Coach McNeil was hired as head coach of the men's team, he filled role since the 2005 season, restoring the program to heights it hadn’t seen since the 1990s. He was also hired as assistant coach of the NJIT women, but his duties soon expanded to become head coach of that sport, which he led for four seasons (2005 to 2008). In that capacity, he guided the NJIT women through their successful transition to NCAA Division I from Division II.
As men's head coach since 2005, Coach McNeil led a resurgence that saw NJIT return to the upper levels of the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association, qualifying for the EIVA postseason playoffs for three consecutive years (2006 to 2008) and reaching the playoff semifinals in 2008.
In those 2008 semifinals, NJIT lost to George Mason, ranked 11th in the nation, 3-2, for the right to advance to the conference final against Penn State, which would go on to win the national championship.
Recapping his NJIT career to date, Coach McNeil took over a men’s program that had four straight losing records and guided his first squad to a .500 overall record in 2005 and followed that up with playoff appearances for three years beginning in 2006. Along the way, NJIT won the 2007 championship of the EIVA Hay Division with a 9-1 division record and a year later marched to the brink of national prominence with a run to the 2008 playoff semifinals.
On the women's side, Coach McNeil assisted on a 2004 team that made a double-digit jump in wins from the previous season and then became interim head coach in 2005 and permanent head coach in 2006.
In 2006, he led NJIT into its first season of Division I competition. Despite facing Division I competition with only two starters returning from the previous year, the Highlanders won 10 matches, surpassing the team's nine wins in its last season at the Division II level in 2005.
Sporting a lineup without a junior or senior in the top seven, Coach McNeil guided the young 2006 squad to a 7-7 mark over the last 14 matches. In 2007, the Highlander women took another step, logging 13 wins--three more than in 2006--and NJIT won five of its last seven 2007 regular season matches. In 2008, his last season heading the women’s team, NJIT won 18 matches, the highest wins total in nearly two decades going back to 1990, when the Highlanders, who then played at the Division III level, won 23 matches.
Championship-level volleyball is nothing new to Coach Ryan McNeil, who was a standout player in both Canada and the United States. Later, as an assistant coach at Lewis University in Illinois, he helped coach the men's team that won the 2003 national championship match and the women's team that qualified for two NCAA Tournaments.
A native of Montego Bay, Jamaica, Coach McNeil resided in Ontario, Canada, for 15 years. He was MVP of two college teams in Canada--Sheridan College and Ryerson University.
Transferring south of the border to Lewis University in Illinois, Coach McNeil played on the Flyers' 1998 national semifinalists. He then turned to coaching at Lewis, assisting with both the men's and women's teams.
In his two years as an assistant with the Lewis men, they qualified for the NCAA tournament twice, won two Midwest Intercollegiate Volleyball Association crowns and captured the 2003 national title match. He coached with the Lewis women for four seasons and during his tenure the Flyers made the NCAA Tournament twice and achieved national ranking in 2002.