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Final gun sounds on winning career
Final gun sounds on winning career
By TONY LANGE
Tom Bryan retired from Gilmour Academy, effective Aug. 1, after a 48-year career as an athletic director and coach.
Bryan, Gilmour's athletic director since 2001, spent the majority of his career, more than 37 years, at Hawken School.
While he was at Hawken, he hired Cliff Walton and Jerry Holtrey, who became two of Ohio's premier coaches, Bryan said.
Walton, Hawken's head coach for varsity football, joined an elite list of coaches last fall after winning his 200th game with the Hawks. In 30 seasons, Walton's record is 200-112-1.
Holtrey, Hawken's head varsity swimming coach, is among eight sports figures who will be inducted into the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame on Sept. 22. He has coached the Hawks since 1969, with his girls' team currently on a 13-year streak of winning the Division II state championship meet. The Lady Hawks have won 21 state titles overall.
During his tenure at Hawken, Bryan coached the boys' varsity basketball team from 1970 to 1990 and recorded more than 300 wins during that time.
"I feel proud in that I left the program in a very, very good state," Bryan said.
Since joining the Gilmour Lancers in 2001, Bryan has been the director of a sports program that has won six state championships and seven state runner-up titles.
"I think you could just take all of those state championships and runner-up things out of the equation," Bryan said. "It's more about working with quality student athletes who are really focused and going in the right direction academically and athletically. It's rare where you find a school that everyone there wants to be there and everybody wants to study."
While Gilmour offers 23 varsity programs, with another 50 teams at the junior varsity, freshman and middle school levels, a few of the premier programs include girls' track, volleyball, boys' and girls' basketball and golf, Bryan said. Gilmour also offers the only girls' prep hockey program in Ohio, which attracts student athletes from all over the country.
"Gilmour has a unique setup with just a beautiful facility and venue," Bryan said. "Not many places can you walk out of class at the end of the day and go have practice. It's not ice time at midnight, it's ice time at the right time all the time for them, and they play an extremely competitive schedule."
The highlight of his time with Gilmour was revitalizing the athletic program and making it very competitive, with 70 percent of the student body being involved in at least one sport, Bryan said.
"The coaches I've put in place have been very outstanding, and the coaches are what make the program what it is," he said.
Now retired from the athletic director position, Bryan said he looks forward to consulting with Kristy Booher, former associate athletic director, who has been named the interim athletic director.
"Kristy is going to do an outstanding job, and it's going to be fun working with her for a while," he said.
"I'm also now able to spend quality time with my grandchildren and with my wife," Bryan said. "I refereed the Big 10 for 15 years, and every weekend in the fall I was gone, so now it's time to stay home and wash the windows and whatever," he said with a laugh.
Bryan plans to keep his position as the official timer for the Cleveland Browns, however, he said. It's a very demanding position, but he gets to go into the locker room before games and talk with officials, many of whom are good friends, he said.
In his retirement, Bryan said, he also may revisit the role of supervising the Indoor Football League, for which he once held the title of director of officials.
Prior to retiring from Gilmour, Bryan hired a new head coach for the varsity football team, Shawn Dodd. The Lancers football team advanced to the state playoffs six of the 10 years during Bryan's tenure.
Dodd was hired because of his enthusiasm, his knowledge of the game and, notably, his general personality, Bryan said. "I think he is going to relate to the players extremely well and be a quality coach for us for many years."
Bryan grew up in East Liverpool, where he played football, basketball and baseball. He graduated from Baldwin-Wallace College and earned his master's degree at Kent State University.
Bryan has two sons and three grandchildren, ages 7, 6 and 4. They all live in the Cleveland area.
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