Ryan Lundgren is returning to the college sidelines.
He resigned as the Vallivue boys basketball coach after four seasons to take an assistant job with the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls. The news was announced by Vallivue athletic director Tony Brulotte Tuesday.
“I’ve had a handful of other opportunities over the last four years, I just didn’t ever feel like it was worth the move because I was in such a good place,” Lundgren told the Idaho Press. “But when I was offered this job, it was a no brainer. I mean CSI has been an elite junior college and nationally respected for a really, really long time. I’ll be able to expand my network and coach at one of the highest levels there is.”
The Boise High graduate went 62-44 with the Falcons.
Lundgren came to Vallivue in 2015 after spending four years on staff with the Boise State men’s basketball team as head coach Leon Rice’s Director of Player Development. The Broncos went to the NCAA Tournament twice and won a Mountain West Championship while he was there.
Lundgren inherited a Vallivue program that won just nine games in three seasons. The Falcons went 11-13 in his first year.
He followed that up with one of the best years in program history after Vallivue dropped from the 5A Southern Idaho Conference to the 4A SIC during the 2016-17 campaign. Vallivue went 20-8, advanced to state for the first time in six seasons and came within four minutes of a state title in its first championship game since 2008.
The Falcons lost 56-52 to Preston in overtime of the 4A state championship game. Lundgren was the Idaho Press’ Boys Coach of the Year that season.
Lundgren then took his team back to the postseason in each of the next two seasons.
“He was the thing that turned that program around,” former player Steele Hadlock said. “He made an OK program with not a lot of potential to a program that went to state almost every year he was involved. Even though it was a short time with Vallivue, he made one of the biggest impacts anybody has made in that school in a while.”
Vallivue won a share of the 4A SIC crown, placed second at the District III Tournament and lost to Century in the third-place game at state this past season. The Falcons did all of this despite being picked to finish fifth in the league with just two starters back.
“It was the best thing I ever did,” Lundgren said. “I’m so fortunate I was able to get on at Vallivue. I’ve really felt like Caldwell has truly been home these last four years and I love this community. I always will. So no matter where my career takes me moving forward, Vallivue is always going to be the place I’m going to look back on and say, ‘Man those were some of the best years of my life.’”
Lundgren, 30, also help raise $20,000-30,000 for Vallivue to have the first video board in the state. The board is eight feet high, 11 feet wide, 150 diagonal inches and nine commercial grade wall televisions rolled into one.
He had at least one player every season and six overall go on to play college ball, including Amoro Lado, whose 23.8 points per game this season, was the highest scoring average in the 5A and 4A SIC in 23 years. Lado will play for perennial top-10 junior program Chipola College in Florida.
“He showed me the ropes year after year and my overall (basketball) IQ shot through the roof from where it was before, so my understanding of the game definitely improved with Ryan coaching me for four years,” Lado said. “It meant a lot and it helped us build a strong relationship with each other during the past four years. I’m always going to be grateful and appreciative.”
Lundgren is heading to a junior college power. The College of Southern Idaho men’s basketball team has won three national championships and just played for a title in 2018.
“I’m just excited to dive in headfirst and meet all the people there and experience their excitement and their passion for CSI basketball,” Lundgren said. “The staff is awesome. (Head coach) Jeff (Reinert) is going to be unbelievable to work with. I’m just going to learn a ton from him. It’s going to be an enjoyable opportunity.”