This brother act has really taken off
Ryan Ressa was in full-scramble mode Friday morning in his coach’s office on the UCLA campus in Westwood, Calif.
And he was loving every minute of it.
Ressa, a former Pullman resident and Washington State University graduate, was clearing out his desk and loading boxes in preparation for making a short move – just 30 miles down Interstate 405 – to Long Beach State to take over as the school’s head men’s golf coach.
“It’s kind of crazy around here right now,” said the 30-year-old former WSU golfer and two-year Cougars letterwinner, who served as an assistant at his alma mater, San Diego, Duke and UCLA before landing his first head coaching job with the 49ers, “but I’m really excited, man.
“It’s going to be something special down there.”
And different, too.
In his role as an assistant under four different coaches, including Walt Willliams at WSU, Ressa often functioned as a sounding board when tough decisions – like who was going to play in the No. 5 spot – needed to be made.
“But now, every decision is on me,” he said. “Even at UCLA, where my role as an assistant was pretty broad and I had a lot of responsibility, the major decisions still fell on the head coach.
“I’m fortunate to have a lot of mentors I can still get guidance from in making those decisions, but it’s still going to be a big change.”
As it turns out, Ressa isn’t the only one in his family dealing with a big change in their golf careers.
His older brother, Tim, another WSU graduate and former Cougars letterwinner who had served as the head pro at Stoneridge Golf Club in Blanchard, Idaho, for the past four years, recently accepted a job as a teaching professional at the ultra-exclusive Sheshan Golf Club in Shanghai.
According to his father, Leo, Tim, 32, learned about the job in Shanghai from a club manufacturer’s representative and accepted the position after twice being flown over to China to look into the job and find suitable housing.
“They ended up hiring him an interpreter for a year and he’s even got a driver to take him back and forth to work and chauffeur him and his girlfriend anywhere they want to go,” Leo Ressa said. “So he ended up with a pretty sweet deal.”
Ryan Ressa thinks his deal is pretty sweet, too.
“I can’t wait to get down to Long Beach,” he said. “It’s a great community, and after spending a couple of days down there, it’s definitely where I want to be. It reminds me of Pullman, as tight as the community is. And they really love their golf.
“We’re going to build something special down there – something that is going to get everybody excited.”
Ressa will officially assume his duties at Long Beach State on Monday and plans to head immediately to San Diego to take in the Callaway Junior World Golf Championship that starts that same day.
“But now, instead of recruiting for UCLA, I’ll be recruiting for Long Beach State,” he said. “I can’t wait.”
Leo Ressa and his three sons – the youngest being Josh, 26, who works for a Spokane-based excavation company – used to play together as a foursome at the old nine-hole WSU course.
“When the kids were growing up, that was kind of my way to get out and spend some time with them,” he said. “And Tim and Ryan played all the time on their own, too. We’d drop them off at the course in the morning and pick them up at night.
“They both loved golf, and it’s neat that it turned into careers for both of them. I’m proud of what they’ve accomplished.”