About Mayor Don Ryan

Don RyanDon Ryan is the current mayor of the Incorporated Village of Hempstead. He previously served as a trustee, a position he held since 2001. He is a product of Hempstead Public Schools: Fulton School (1957) and Hempstead High School (1961). Later, Don graduated from Adelphi University with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree (1966) and Teachers College at Columbia University with a Master of Arts degree (1971). Don taught for 33 years, the last 25 of those years with the added responsibility as Director of Youth Employment Program at Hempstead High School (several thousand students got their first work experience in this effort).

Hempstead youth basketball teams under Don have traveled to Helsinki and Tampere, Finland; Tallinn, Estonia; Copenhagen, Denmark; Malmo and Stockholm, Sweden; Toronto, Montreal, Halifax and Charlottetown, Canada; St. Croix, Barbados, Puerto Rico and Bermuda; and, throughout the United States, including Chicago, Wichita, Denver, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Amarillo, New Orleans, Miami, Orlando, Atlanta, Charlotte, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Boston. Don was active at Percy Jackson Youth Center, too, coaching Hempstead Tiger Cubs football teams from 1968-its first season-through 1998. Don also coached youth baseball in Hempstead (1962-1983).

 Among those Don coached/taught while they were youngsters include Julius "Dr. J" Erving, Basketball Hall of Fame; Kenneth I. Chenault, Chairman/CEO of American Express; Steve Mills, General Manager of the New York Knicks; Lisa Smith, All-Big East at St. John’s University (Don’s goddaughter), a retired Corrections Officer; Dr. Lee Ross, Professor at Central Florida University; Denee Rivera-Barracto, administrator at Queens College; Mike Malone, head coach, Denver Nuggets, and, brothers Rob Moore and Brandon Moore of NFL fame. Also, applause to the many volunteers in Village of Hempstead youth programs, especially Willie White (multi-sport coach since 1970).
 Don’s coaching philosophy goes beyond the fundamentals of basketball. A strong emphasis is placed upon good attitudes and academic progress. Don sums up his coaching philosophy thusly. ’’I coach life, not just basketball."
 Don has chaired LTI (Leadership Training Institute) and The Salvation Army Advisory Council. Don is a Past President of Hempstead-Uniondale Rotary Club, a member of HEVN (Helping End Violence Now), HERA (Hempstead Educators Retirement Association) and the NAACP. In 2003, Don established the Village of Hempstead Youth Council.

 Don attends St. Thomas the Apostle (where he was baptized and his parents married). Don has been recognized many times over the years for his love of community.

  • 1967 OTHERS AWARD The Salvation Army
  • 1973 BROTHERHOOD AWARD Rotary/Lions/Kiwanis 
  • 1978 TEACHER-OF-THE-YEAR Hempstead HS (voted by students) 1979 MAN-OF-THE-YEAR Hempstead Chamber of Commerce
  • 1981 COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD  Union Baptist Church 
  • 1981 TEACHER-OF-THE-YEAR Hempstead HS (voted by students)
  • 1986 MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AWARD So. Hemp. Congregational Church
  • 1986 YEARBOOK DEDICATION Hempstead HS (voted by students)
  • 1987 CITIZENSHIP AWARD Gomillion-Campbell Post 1488 
  • 1988 UNI-SPAN AWARD Hofstra University
  • 1991 NATIONAL TEACHER AWARD National Football League
  • 1992 MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AWARD Nassau County MLK Committee
  • 1992 PRESIDENT’S AWARD Hempstead NAACP
  • 1995 PRESIDENT’S AWARD World Sports Hall of Fame (Idaho)
  • 1998 MAKE A DIFFERENCE AWARD Town of Hempstead
  • 1998 GRAND MARSHAL Hempstead Schools Homecoming 
  • 2002 GRAND MARSHAL MLK Parade (United People, Inc.)
  • 2002 PUBLIC SERVICE AWARD Hempstead Hispanic Civic Assoc.
  • 2004 THE WOODRUFF AWARD Adelphi University Hall of Fame
  • 2005 ALL ARBOUR COACHES AWARD Nassau County CSEA Local 830
  • 2006 WALL OF FAME Hempstead Village Youth Council
  • 2006 COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD Bertha Harris Key Women 2007 MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AWARD Nassau County CSEA Local 830
  • 2007 CHAMPION FOR CHILDREN Francis J. Logan, Jr. Foundation
  • 2008 EVERYDAY HERO AWARD Kiwanis Club of Hempstead
  • 2009 KEEPER OF THE DREAM Economic Opportunity Commission
  • 2009 BROTHERHOOD AWARD Hempstead Day (Maryland) 
  • 2011 PUBLIC SERVANT-OF-THE-YEAR Hempstead Chamber of Commerce
  • 2013 MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR, AWARD Operation Get Ahead
  • 2013 TYREE CURRY MEMORIAL AWARD Hofstra University
  • 2013 COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD Jackson Memorial AME Zion
  • 2013 SAL AMBROSINO AWARD Hempstead Boys & Girls Club
  • 2013 YOUTH ADVOCATE AWARD Hempstead Coordinating Council
  • 2013 YOUTH EMPOWERMENT AWARD Creative Empowerment, Inc.,
  • 2014 HUMANITARIAN AWARD Freeport-Roosevelt NAACP
  • 2015 NASSAU COUNTY HALL OF FAME High School Sports (Inaugural class)
  • 2015 CERTIFICATE OF HONOR Congregation Beth Israel
  • 2015 COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD Baptist Ministers Wives/Widows
  • 2016 COMMUNITY CHAMPION AWARD  Doric Lodge #53