High school dedicates 'Coach Bryant Court'
|Basketball players scurry across the court in the Westwood High School gym named in honor of Phil Bryant, who coached at Westwood for 33 years. Photo by Susan Cort Johnson|
Feb. 9, 2013 — “Coach Bryant Court” was painted on the gym floor the summer of 2012, shortly after Phil Bryant retired as teacher, dean of students and athletic director of Westwood High School (WHS). Wednesday evening, Feb. 6, the town gathered at the gym for its dedication.
Jenn Williams, an English teacher at WHS and 2013 athletic director, launched the ceremony with a short speech that covered Bryant’s accomplishments during his 33-year-long career with the district.
She told the crowd Bryant was not only a local legend but is known throughout the North State for his accomplishments. Last year he was nicknamed “The Wizard of Westwood” when the varsity boys and girls basketball teams he coached both won the Division VI section championships.
“One of Phil’s greatest gifts that he bestowed upon the students of Westwood was the realization that the lessons learned while playing the game are also transferable to everyday life. He taught them that perseverance and hard work not only make you a better player but also a better person. He taught them to push themselves to truly find what they are capable of,” said Williams.
Several players Bryant coached were in the audience during the gym dedication. They came to take part in the celebration and also watch a basketball game between the WHS varsity boys team coached by Sam Osofsky, who played for Bryant and the team from George Whittell High School located in Zephyr Cove, Nev., that Bryant coaches this season with his son, Matt.
Adele Emershaw, superintendent/ principal of WHS, read a quote from Osofsky in her speech in which he said, “Coach Bryant has been a coach, mentor and father-figure, but, more importantly, my best friend.”
Other quotes from players that did not have attributions included, “I am the person I am today because of you without question” and “My time with you may have been a short four years, but you have been with me for the past 26 years.”
Bryant paused before addressing the crowd to fight back tears. He said he could add many names to the floor of the gym that would include all the great players Westwood has had through the years. Westwood was the home of champions thanks to the students and the community, he said.
He told the audience it was a difficult night to be on the court with the visiting team but he could not pass up an opportunity to coach with his son who was the greatest basketball player he ever coached.
Bryant began his coaching career with Pop Warner football in Chula Vista and coached in this league from 1967 to 1971. Also he coached at Chula Vista High School from 1971 to 1972 and at Marian High School from 1973 to 1979. In 1979 he was hired by the Westwood Unified School District.
During Bryant’s time at WHS he has been head coach for football, boys basketball, girls basketball and baseball. He led teams to more championships and section titles than any other coach in the school’s history. His record for basketball is 635 wins and 277 losses and in football 78 wins and 40 losses.
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