Two additions to the University of Evansville men’s basketball coaching staff have been announced by Purple Aces head coach Todd Lickliter. Ryan Combs has been elevated to the Director of Basketball Operations position while Jo Griffin joins the program as a Graduate Assistant.
Combs has worked with the UE men’s basketball team in numerous capacities over his 5+ seasons with the program while Griffin is a 2021 graduate of Kentucky Wesleyan College.
“We are really excited to promote Ryan while adding Jo to our staff. Ryan is a UE grad, which is a huge asset for us. He is very loyal and has an appreciation for what a University of Evansville degree means. His behind-the-scenes work is vital to our program,” Lickliter said. “Jo brings a great deal of basketball experience, but his focus for the future is strength and conditioning. This skill set was something that we thought would be a great benefit for our program.”
Ryan Combs will be entering his sixth year with the men’s basketball program and his first as Director of Operations. Prior to this season, Combs served as a student manager for the 2016-2020 seasons before being elevated to Graduate Assistant for the 2020-2021 campaign. In his first season on Coach Lickliter’s staff, the Aces saw drastic improvement from the prior season. After finishing 10thplace in 2020, the aces improved to fifth in the 2020-2021 season.
The Vincennes, Ind. native graduated from the University of Evansville in 2020 with a degree in Statistics & Data Science. Combs also attended Harlaxton College in the Spring of 2019. He is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Leadership at UE and will graduate in December 2021.
“I am very grateful to be a part of the University of Evansville Men’s Basketball family. As a 3rd-generation UE graduate, this institution has provided me with countless opportunities for personal and professional growth,” Combs said. “I am extremely excited for the opportunity to work under Coach Lickliter and his staff while helping our players flourish on and off the court.”
Jo Griffin will be joining the UE staff as the Graduate Assistant. He graduated from Kentucky Wesleyan College in April 2021 with a degree in Exercise Science and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Leadership.
Prior to his appointment on the UE staff, Griffin spent the summer of 2021 with the Indiana Men’s Basketball Team in the weight room as a Graduate Assistant Strength Coach. As of August 2021, Griffin is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA and is also a certified USA Weightlifting coach.
“It is exciting to get to work with and learn from Coach Lickliter and the amazing staff that he has assembled,” Griffin stated. “I am eager to bring my experiences and hope to make an impact both on the court and in the weight room. I am all in on the vision and culture that they are establishing and will establish come the 2021 season.”
Griffin arrives at UE following a 4-year college basketball career. From 2019 to 2021, he was a two-time team captain for the Kentucky Wesleyan Panthers, which competed in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference of NCAA Division II. Prior to KWC, Griffin spent two years as a walk on for the University of Louisville and played under coaches, Rick Pitino, David Padgett, and Chris Mack. The Crestwood, Kentucky native attended South Oldham High School where he was part of the 1,000-point club and was named 2017 8th Region Player of the Year.