Centre to honor Bryant

new gym floor named for coach

November 26, 2004

Tom Bryant, former Centre men's basketball coach and athletics director, will remain a fixture on the basketball court as the new gym floor at Sutcliffe Athletic Center has been named in his honor.

A dedication will take place Dec. 3 at 8 p.m. when the Colonels host Rhodes College.

Centre's home court was renovated this summer as part of the $22-million expansion and renovation project known as The College Centre.

"This is an appropriate honor for Tom Bryant," says Brian Chafin, Centre's director of athletics and recreation. "He rejuvenated the men's basketball program at Centre and left a strong legacy."

Matt Vonderbrink , Centre's coordinator of recreation and men's tennis coach, played basketball for Bryant and says the coach had an extraordinary tenure.


"Tom Bryant meant a lot to the basketball program and the total athletic department at Centre for a long time," Vonderbrink said. "He also meant a lot to me personally. He led the basketball program during a run that may be the most successful sustained period of any athletic program here at Centre.

"During the late 1970s and 1980s, Centre was always in the hunt for the conference championship and often highly nationally ranked. His team-oriented style of play was a trademark of his squads and his philosophy. Tom was very demanding of that style from his players.

"He also was athletic director during a highly successful period for many other sports here at Centre. His leadership in attracting quality coaches and giving them the means to succeed was significant. He personally came to my high school games and recruited me to attend Centre and has helped me in most of my professional opportunities."

Bryant won 389 games from 1968 to 1996. He guided the Colonels to two NCAA Division III Final Fours (1979 and 1989). Bryant's teams won 15 conference championships and reached the Division III tournament nine times. Centre named him an honorary member of its Athletic Hall of Fame in 1997.

The National Association of Basketball Coaches named Bryant Kodak Coach of the Year in the South District eight times.

A 1955 graduate of Miami of Ohio, Bryant had successful coaching stints at Colerain, Hillsboro and Walnut Township high schools in Ohio before becoming the head coach at Centre.

He's a member of the Miami of Ohio University Athletic Hall of Fame and the Ohio Coaches Hall of Fame.

Bryant was a starter on three Miami teams that won their conference championship. He was a team MVP and also named to the Mid-America All-Conference team.

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