The SAGU athletics department announced on Thursday the university and its students will honor former head basketball coach Terry Bryan on Feb. 27.
Bryan, a SAGU alumnus, former player and the men’s basketball coach, died on Aug. 19 from Huntington’s disease.
“Basketball became his median for ministry,” said Olivia Bryan-Suckow, his wife of 26 years. “He wanted to disciple and mentor young people. He felt a strong calling to return to SAGU and coach.”
Until current head coach Donnie Bostwick broke his record in 2014, Bryan was the university’s winningest coach, compiling a 27-7 record.
According to HDSA.org, Huntington’s disease is a fatal genetic disorder that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain, deteriorating a person’s physical and mental abilities during their prime working years.
Bryan attended and played basketball for SAGU between 1976-1979 and returned to lead the Lions as the men’s basketball head coach in 1984.
In 1989, Bryan led his team to a 27-7 record, SAGU’s winningest basketball season until 2012-2014 when Coach Donnie Bostwick led his team to a record of 33-5.
While at SAGU, Bryan had a quick impact on his player’s lives. At his funeral, former player Rick Mitchell spoke of how Bryan saved his life. Bryan held such a special spot in Mitchell’s life that Bryan officiated Mitchell’s wedding on the SAGU campus.
After being diagnosed with Huntington’s disease in 1999, he was left unable to work a full-time job. At that time, volleyball head coach Hank Moore asked Bryan to volunteer with the volleyball team.
Moore said he met first met Bryan when he moved to Waxahachie in 1985 and knew Bryan
would be a great role model for his team.
He also said he believes Bryan’s contributions to SAGU left a lasting legacy.
“Terry pastored his teams and made a huge impact on all of their lives,” Moore said. “As a coach, it is my desire to love our University and my players as Terry loved his kids. SAGU is a better place today because of his servant’s heart and the contribution he made to SAGU athletics.”
Bryan also volunteered at SAGU from 1999-2005, often keeping stats for the Lady Lions volleyball team until January 2005, when his Huntington’s disease progressed to the point he was unable to continue and he had to give up his position.
Bryan and his twin brother Larry, who also had Huntington’s disease, spent the final decade of their lives in their home state of Kansas.
SAGU will honor Bryan at halftime of the men’s basketball game against Mid-America Christian University at 5 p.m. on Feb. 27, with friends, former players, and family in attendance.
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