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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Bryan Puts Family First With Basketball Resignation

Arkansas River Valley Business Directory

The cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon. Little boy blue and the man in the moon. When you coming home, dad? I don’t know when. But we’ll get together then. You know we’ll have a good time thenSong by Harry Chapin (1974). The song Cat’s In The Cradle has hit many a dad square in the heart over the years. After a record-breaking 2020-21 season with both the junior and senior Lady Tigers, Coach Bryan announced his resignation to his teams on Tuesday, June 22. Although Coach Bryan’s resignation will surely send shockwaves through the program, school, and community, those who know him well will tip their hat in pure respect for one simple reason. He resigned to spend more time with his family.

The time it takes to succeed at coaching is no joke. Countless hours staying up late watching film trying to properly plan for practices and games followed by the actual practices and games themselves are rough. Tack on a coach’s main job as an educator for eight hours a day and you’ll quickly see that time isn’t on a coach’s side. Few can pull it off, but those who can tend to be successful in their coaching careers. Coach Bryan was one of those few and the success of his players, both individually and as a team, showcased on the court what his time could create. Bryan led the Lady Tigers program to one of the most successful seasons in recent memory with the junior high winning Conference and District Championships while the senior high earned runner-up in conference and districts, finished third at regionals, and advanced to the Elite 8 in the State Tournament. He also helped multiple players rake in All-Conference, All-Districts, All-Regionals, and All-State awards along with a couple of players getting college scholarships to boot. Needless to say, when the 2020-21 season was over, multiple programs statewide not only noticed the Lady Tigers, but they also started making calls to try to secure Coach Bryan as their own program’s coach.

All of the championships, awards, and accolades can make some coaches zero in on success and success alone. They’ll do whatever it takes at all cost to continue gaining those accolades for their program, their players, and themselves personally. But sometimes the cost of success can begin to build debt in other areas of their lives as they prioritize their coaching career over all else. The debt of time lost with his family was the one fee that Coach Bryan chose not to ignore. After plenty of prayer, Bryan made his choice to forgo his childhood dream of coaching for his alma mater in exchange for a more important adult dream of being a great father and husband.

“The Lord blessed me with the opportunity and privilege of coaching. The athletes are what made my time coaching a blast and I will always cherish those memories. Even better, I got to set see a few of my players accept Jesus as their savior and that’s what I’m most proud of. I know we have a special group of athletes that will bring many more victories and championships to Mansfield in the future. I ask that they do what I’ve always asked them to do and give God the Glory win or lose. All that being said, I’ve lost too much precious time with my family. I can’t and don’t want to be absent from any more of their childhood.”

“He was a great coach, sure, but he was so much more to the Lady Tigers. Coach Bryan was a mentor for the girls when it came to the game, their education, and their lives as a whole. He was basically a second dad to them. That’s what made him so special to the players” said Coach Bryans 2020-21 student coach, Adam Hecox. “I would’ve respected his decision no matter what the reason was. But to know his reasoning was to spend more time with his family, that just proves even more what a great man he is.”

Although he will no longer be coaching the Lady Tigers, young men and women will still get their Bryan fix as he will continue his teaching career at Mansfield. Best of all, Bryan can finally answer the question of “when you coming home, dad” by simply stating “Now son. I’m coming home now.”   

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