Wagner guides PC North to first ever title
Ryan Wagner, Putnam City North
As time ticked down in the Class 6A title game, Putnam City North coach Ryan Wagner felt the weight lift.
Four years ago, Wagner inherited a program that wasn’t used to winning. Putnam City North was on a 8-year state tournament drought and even worse, his players seemed embrace that reality.
“From the very moment we arrived on campus we started talking about championships,” Wagner said. “We wanted to build our kids’ expectations, because their expectations weren’t very high.”
Four years later, Wagner and the Panthers reached the mountain top after they took down Edmond Santa Fe to claim the Class 6A state title, the first in the school’s basketball history.
Wagner has been named The Oklahoman’s Super 5 Coach of the Year.
“It felt like a balloon popping,” Wagner. “All that stress is released and you’ve accomplished what you set out to do.”
Wagner said getting guys to buy-in to his program’s culture is what led to the turnaround.
“We tell guys you have to bring it every single day,” Wagner said. “You have got to prepare and be an everyday player. That’s how you build a work ethic and culture.”
It also helps he has great players.
Senior guard Adokiye Iyaye signed with UTSA, senior big man Blake Owens was a doubledouble machine, guard Chris Braggs was the ultimate glue-guy and do-everything player while junior point guard Micah Thomas is considered to be one of the top 2019 players.
Still, Putnam City North had a few slip-ups throughout the regular season. They lost in the finals of the Putnam City Invitational as well as in the finals of the Bruce Gray Invitational at Deer Creek.
“We thought coming in we had the ability to do something great,” Wagner said. “You experience adversity and that sharpens you up for the playoffs.”
With that experience, Wagner said his team played the three best games it played all year in the state tournament as PCN took down Tulsa Union, Norman North and Edmond Santa Fe to claim the championship.
“You stick with the process and see it through,” Wagner said. “This is kind of the fruit of our labor.”
Super 5 Coach of the Year Ryan Wagner, Putnam City North.