The Charleston football tradition has continued to excel under head football coach Ricky May since he took over the program in the spring of 2019. And now, due to a vacancy that occurred from the loss of Tigers assistant coach Ryan Myers who left Charleston for a position with the Alma school district, the Tigers have named Bryson May as the latest member of the football coaching staff. Bryson is the son of head coach Ricky May and helped with the program in May’s first season as an unofficial graduate assistant.
That first 2019 season at Charleston was a challenging one for the Mays. The Tigers began the year devastated by injuries, and the new head coach did a masterful job holding the team together and getting players back along the season that would eventually lead to a run that culminated with a state playoffs berth. Bryson was a young coach at the time and was alongside May’s side that season. Since that season, Charleston has won undefeated conference titles, and the Tigers are now set to challenge again for the 3A-1 title. Booneville has again joined the conference, and early prognosticators are predicting a Charleston / Booneville showdown for the 3A-1 in 2022.
Add to the Charleston / Booneville rivalry that Ricky May left the Bearcats’ staff for the head job at Charleston, and the rivalry becomes even more intense. And now, a second May has joined the staff, and this storied series will take on increased significance, both now and potentially in the future.
Coach May took time from his busy schedule to talk to RNN Sports about the hire of Bryson to his staff. May was busy last week as a member of the All-Star game coaching staff, but took time to visit. He began by saying, “He (Bryson) was a student assistant with us in 2019. He graduated from Arkansas Tech. He originally went to Henderson State and was going to play. He made the team, but he never played. He made the roster. He went to Henderson because his brother was there. After he got there, he decided he was not happy there, and he transferred to Arkansas Tech and decided that he just wanted to be a student. He transferred, got married, and that was probably the best thing for him. I never would have thought that, but that was the best thing for him.”
Since 2019, Bryson has held jobs outside of coaching until the 2021-22 school year where he coached at Danville High School. Bryson was the defensive coordinator for the Little Johns’ football team that made the playoffs in the fall of 2021. The 2022 season at Charleston will be his second year to coach.
According to the Charleston head coach, “Right now, he (Bryson) is just going to take Coach Myers’s job by coaching the offensive line, and I will give him the option of coaching the defensive ends or the defensive line. And I will coach the other (unit that Bryson chooses not to coach.) Bryson will have a lot to learn with our offense. When he helped us in 2019 he actually helped Coach Myers on the line. He pretty much helped with our seventh grade by himself that year. So, he gained valuable experience that year.”
I asked Coach May how it will feel working with his son on the Charleston coaching staff. Coach May responded by saying, “Luckily I had the opportunity to coach my other son at Waldron, and I don’t see it being much different. When the opening came up, I knew a couple of offensive line coaches that I had worked with in the past, or knew. I spoke with those guys and both of them were in great positions already. So, they were not really an option. Bryson is going to bring a lot of energy. The kids at Danville loved him. He is going to be another “relationship guy” that will be big for us. So, I’m anxious about that part of it. I always look for a great person first (when looking to hire coaches). I think that is what we are doing with this hire.”
Relationship-building has been a big part of the Tigers’ success in their football program, one that Coach Ricky May has emphasized since his arrival in Charleston. And those relationships will be important again this year as the team will again face a tough non-conference schedule and a defense of their 2021 3A-1 title.
Charleston, who traditionally plays a tough, Class 4A non-conference portion of their schedule every year, will continue to do so in 2022. The Tigers open the new season on September 2 at Elkins. The Charleston philosophy of playing large, successful opponents in the first three weeks of the season have always prepared them well for the 3A conference portion of their schedule.
RNN welcomes Bryson May to the Charleston coaching staff, and we wish him and the Tigers the best of success in 2022!