Ryan Held
Current position
TitleHead coach
Biographical details
Born (1974-11-23) November 23, 1974 (age 49)
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
Playing career
Position(s)Quarterback, wide receiver
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1997Nebraska (SA)
1998–1999Tennessee (GA)
2001Peru State
2002–2004Oklahoma Panhandle State
2005–2008Southwestern Oklahoma State
2011Butler CC (OC)
2012–2013Highland CC
2014–2015NE Oklahoma A&M
2016–2017UCF (RB)
2018–2021Nebraska (RB)
2022North Alabama (AHC/OC/QB)
2022North Alabama (interim HC)
Head coaching record
Overall38–63 (college)
17–22 (junior college)
Accomplishments and honors
1 LSC North Division (2007)

Ryan Held (born November 23, 1974) is an American football coach. He is the head football coach for the University of Nebraska at Kearney, a position he has held since 2023. He was previously the running backs coach at University of Nebraska–Lincoln and was hired in that role in December 2017,[1] after serving in that same position at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida since 2016.[2] Prior to that, he had served as the head coach at Peru State as well as several college and teams in Kansas and Oklahoma.

Early life and playing career

Held was a two-time national champion himself as a Husker from 1993 to 1996. Nebraska posted a 47-3 record during Held’s career with three conference titles. At Nebraska, Held was a teammate of Scott Frost during the 1995 and 1996 seasons.

Coaching career

First stint at Nebraska

As a senior at Nebraska, Held coached the Huskers as a student assistant in 1997, helping them to a 13−0 record and a national title.


As a defensive graduate assistant at Tennessee in 1998 and 1999, he was a part the Volunteers staff that won the 1998 national championship.[3]

Peru State

In 2001, Held became the youngest head football coach in the country (age 26), and he led the Peru State Bobcats to a 5−5 record and a second-place league finish in his only season.

Oklahoma Pandhandle

In 2002, Held took over an Oklahoma Panhandle State Aggies program that had only won two games in the previous three years. He led them to back-to-back winning seasons in 2003 and 2004.

SW Oklahoma State

Held led the Southwestern Oklahoma State program for four seasons, from 2005 to 2008, guiding the team to a share of the Lone Star Conference North Division title in 2007, one year after he was named the division coach of the year.

Butler Community College

In 2011, Held was the offensive coordinator at Butler Community College where he led the team to an 11-1 record and finished as the #2 ranked offense in the country.

Highland Community College

In 2012, he took over a Highland Community College (Kansas) team that hadn't had a winning season since before 2000. In 2013, Highland made it to the playoffs for the first time in the modern era.

Northeast Oklahoma A&M

Held was the head coach for two seasons at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (2014–2015), where he coached 22 all-conference selections in his final season.


Held coached the running backs at UCF under head coach Scott Frost. He was part of a staff that led the nation’s most improved team in 2016 and posted the first perfect regular season in UCF and American Athletic Conference history in 2017. With help from Held’s running backs, the Knights’ offense showed dramatic improvement, increasing their scoring production by more than 35 points per game from 2015 to 2017 and their total offense output by more than 270 yards per game.

Held’s running backs helped UCF rush for nearly 2,500 yards during its undefeated regular season and run to the American Athletic Conference title in 2017. Adrian Killins Jr. averaged 6.8 yards per carry en route to earning all-conference accolades as a sophomore. Killins added 10 rushing touchdowns, including a 96-yard score in the regular-season matchup with Memphis, the longest rush and longest play from scrimmage in both UCF and AAC history. As a unit, Held’s running backs combined for 24 rushing touchdowns in 2017, including scores by six different backs. As a team, UCF ranked sixth nationally with 38 rushing touchdowns.

In Held’s first season at UCF in 2016, the Knights rushed for nearly 2,000 yards and three running backs, including more than 800 yards from freshmen. Killins averaged 6.5 yards per carry, while senior Dontravious Wilson scored eight rushing touchdowns after scoring only three times in his first three seasons combined.

Return to Nebraska

Held returned to his alma mater, Nebraska, in December 2017, when he was one of the first hires on Scott Frost's Husker staff. He was one of four offensive assistants dismissed on November 8, 2021, in a major reshuffle of the offensive staff.[4]

North Alabama

In 2022, Held joined the staff at North Alabama as the associate head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.[5]

Head coaching record


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Peru State Bobcats (Central States Football League) (2001)
2001 Peru State 5–5 3–1 2nd
Peru State: 5–5 3–1
Oklahoma Panhandle State Aggies (NCAA Division II independent) (2002–2004)
2002 Oklahoma Panhandle State 2–9
2003 Oklahoma Panhandle State 6–5
2004 Oklahoma Panhandle State 6–5
Oklahoma Panhandle State: 14–19
Southwestern Oklahoma State Bulldogs (Lone Star Conference) (2005–2008)
2005 Southwestern Oklahoma State 1–10 0–9 / 0–5 13th / 6th (North)
2006 Southwestern Oklahoma State 6–5 4–5 / 3–2 T–6th / T–2nd (North)
2007 Southwestern Oklahoma State 6–5 4–5 / 3–2 6th / T–1st (North)
2008 Southwestern Oklahoma State 3–8 1–8 / 1–4 T–11th / 5th (North)
Southwestern Oklahoma State: 16–28 9–27
North Alabama Lions (ASUN Conference) (2022)
2022 North Alabama 0–3 0–1 6th
North Alabama: 0–3 0–1
Nebraska–Kearney Lopers (Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association) (2023–present)
2023 Nebraska–Kearney 3–8 2–8 9th
2024 Nebraska–Kearney 0–0 0–0
Nebraska–Kearney: 3–8 2–8
Total: 38–63
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title or championship game berth

Junior college

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Highland Scotties (Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference) (2012–2013)
2012 Highland 2–7 1–5
2013 Highland 6–4 5–2 L Region VI Semifinal
Highland: 8–11 6–7
NEO Golden Norsemen (Southwest Junior College Football Conference) (2014–2015)
2014 NEO 5–6 1–5
2015 NEO 4–5 2–4
NEO: 9–11 3–9
Total: 17–22


  1. ^ Staff Reports (December 4, 2017). "Scott Frost brings seven assistants with him from UCF". Omaha World-Herald.
  2. ^ Thayer Evans (December 4, 2015). "NEO coach Ryan Held joining staff of new UCF coach Scott Frost". Sports Illustrated.
  3. ^ Caroline Glenn (December 4, 2017). "Troy Walters, Ryan Held join UCF football under Frost". Central Florida Future.
  4. ^ Gabriel, Parker (November 8, 2021). "Frost making major staff changes: OC Lubick, QB coach Verduzco, OL coach Austin, RB coach Held out". Lincoln Journal Star. Retrieved November 8, 2021.
  5. ^ "Ryan Held". roarlions.com. University of North Alabama SID. Retrieved 27 March 2022.