SPRINGFIELD — Southwest Baptist University tennis coach John Bryant was one of 15 individuals and two teams inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame on Jan. 31.
In his 44th year at SBU, Bryant is also an associate professor of mathematics and is tennis coach for both men and women’s teams.
Bryant thanked his wife Judy and family, and former players during his acceptance speech. His advised fellow coaches to “take care of your players and they’ll take care of you.” Several of his current and former players attended.
Bryant’s teams have played in 19 NCAA national tournaments and also 19 NAIA national tournaments. In 1984, his men’s team won the NAIA co-national championship. Bryant earned NAIA National Coach of the Year honors in 1983 and was named NCAA National Coach of the Year in 1990.
In 2008, both Bearcat teams won MIAA championships and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. The women’s championship was the first ever MIAA title for any SBU women’s sport. Both teams that year also earned awards for the highest team grade point averages among those in the national tournament. Bryant’s teams hold a near perfect graduation rate.
Joining Bryant in the 2010 Hall of Fame class were former Kansas City Chiefs coach Marty Schottenheimer, former Missouri Tigers and San Diego Chargers tight end Kellen Winslow Sr., former Kansas City Royals pitcher Mark Gubicza and former St. Louis Cardinals catcher Tom Pagnozzi.
Several university and high school coaches, former athletes from several sports and Special Olympics also were inducted.