Sometimes you have to take the opportunities given to you.
That has guided Chris Bryant’s career and when the next opportunity came, after some consideration, Bryant took it.
Bryant became the second head coach at Van Buren to announce he was stepping away from his position. Bryant is stepping down as head coach of the Lady Pointers to take an assistant principal position at the high school.
“It definitely wasn’t burnout. I enjoyed coming to work every day and working with the coaches and the players. These opportunities don’t happen often and when they do you have to give it a sincere look. Not just for yourself, but for your family as well,” said Bryant. “This opportunity presented itself and it’s a good fit. It’ll give me a chance to build my leadership and a chance to be mentored by some really great people who have been instrumental so far in my career. It’s just a win-win situation for me.”
Bryant closes out his chapter as Van Buren head with a 103-67 record over six seasons (2014-20). The Lady Pointers qualified for the state tournament during each of those seasons and was a semi-finalist in 2017.
During his tenure, the team was back-to-back champs at the Neosho Holiday Hoops Tournament in Missouri.
Bryant counts victories over perennial powerhouses Bentonville, Tahlequah, Sequoyah, Northside, and a win in the 2018-19 season which ended Springdale’s 48-game conference winning streak.
The Lady Pointers have sent eight players to the college level during Bryant’s six years.
“Being here for 17 years as a coach has been great,” Bryant said “I really enjoyed coaching and teaching with Tipton as my supervisor. I’m looking forward to working with him during administration career as well.”
Bryant got his start at Hartford after working with Coach Marty Barnes at Arkansas Tech for three seasons. The opportunity came for him to take an assistant job at Greenwood, he took it. He was there for one season when the head coaching job in Cedarville came available.
“I’ve known since the fourth grade I wanted to be a coach,” said Bryant about growing up in Cedarville. “For 23 years, finishing up college working with Marty and then coming to Van Buren to work with Randy [Loyd]. I had many opportunities to learn from some of the most elite coaches in Arkansas.”
His wife was already working for the Van Buren School District and his daughter was just born, so the move back to Crawford County came at the right opportunity. Bryant’s return landed in Cedarville, but when Loyd was looking for an assistant, Bryant got another call and soon found himself in Van Buren.
“It was a lucky day in my career when we hired Coach Bryant,” said Randy Loyd, who announced his retirement earlier in the week. “His knowledge and his hard work… it was like having two head coaches on the bench instead of one.”
After serving as an assistant for 11 seasons another opportunity became available for him and Bryant was the new Lady Pointers basketball coach. His overall coaching record was 202-107.
“I developed a lot of great relationships with the other teachers and staff and this opportunity is just the best of both worlds,” Bryant said. “I get to take a step forward professionally and still maintain these relationships.”