Coach Bryan’s legacy leaves a lasting impact

Bryan Bradley, a longtime track and cross-country coach at Montgomery High School, died on Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021, according to school administrators. (Photo: Dean Haskins)

by Katrina Gorauskas, staff writer.

An inspiration to many. Motivator, father and beloved coach, Bryan Bradley was known throughout our community for his dedication as a Montgomery High School cross country and track coach as well as a volunteer at local meets. On Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2021 “Coach Bryan” passed away in the Trione-Annadel State Park from a heart attack while doing what he loved: coaching.

High schoolers all throughout the community have been blessed by his dedicated coaching and encouragement. Coach Bryan created a welcoming atmosphere on the team and truly cared about each athlete. Jude DeVries, an athlete and team leader at MHS, met Coach Bryan in seventh grade. Before DeVries transferred to Montgomery, he trained, along with the rest of his Victory Christian Academy team, with the MHS cross country squad. He reminisced on the way Coach Bryan welcomed him: “The way he treated me, he treated me like I was his best friend… when I was not even running for them… he treated me as his own team.” Bryan had a special way of connecting with runners and was not only an outstanding coach; he was viewed by the team as so much more.

Jacob Donohue, a leader on the Maria Carrillo High School Cross Country and track team, has many friends that ran for Coach Bryan and who say the man played a large role in all of the league meets. Donohue’s friends on the team talked about how, “Bryan was one of the main reasons they were running there. He played a big role in just their team environment and creating their team culture.” Coach Bryan deeply influenced the lives of his runners and he will be dearly missed throughout the running community. One of DeVries’s favorite moments with Coach Bryan was when, “He was on his bike pacing me, but still encouraging me. It made the workout fun and not hard.” Known throughout the cross country community, Coach Bryan was known for riding his bike along with the runners. Instead of just telling the team what to do, he was a very involved and hands-on coach and was always there helping and riding his bike.

“All he did for the team was not for himself, but for everybody else around…”

-Jude DeVries

DeVries said, “His dedication to the team really inspired me, seeing how much he cared for the team and every single individual. All he did for the team was not for himself but for everybody else around. His leadership was great and really influenced me to be a leader this year.” Not only did Coach Bryan impact MHS, he impacted MCHS and the entire running community for the better. Donohue remembered how Coach Bryan was always helping: “He played a big part in the sense that he was always there just facilitating and administering the meets. He was mainly the starter, but he was always just helping out, and he was just there to serve for us. Which is honestly a big deal for us especially during COVID when volunteering was a much more downplayed part in the aspects of society that he was just still there willing to help out.”

It is such a shame to see an amazing coach with so much positive influence go. He was so involved in the running community and played such a large role in the lives of high school cross country and track athletes. MHS hosted a memorial on their track, and many students, athletes, alumni and community members came to honor Coach Bryan and all he has done.

Through the tough trials, the Montgomery team is persevering and honoring their coach while running and competing for him. “That is what keeps us moving, he would have wanted us to run, not quit or give up on ourselves,” DeVries said. Coach Bryan was known for encouraging athletes of all skills to run, push their hardest and give their best effort. Even though it is difficult, his memory inspires athletes to continue putting in the work required to succeed. He would not let his runners take the easy route and quit. Instead, he taught athletes that dedication was required in order to become a high level athlete and win. 

“I have met nice people and not a single person compared to Bryan. He was the nicest human I could ever ask for. I was very glad that God put him in my life, and I would not take back any moments with him because I enjoyed every single moment with him. I wish he was still here. His dedication to the team and his legacy for the team will carry on,” DeVries recalled about his beloved coach. 

Sonoma County lost a truly amazing man who affected and influenced many high school students’ lives. He will be missed because he was a good man who deeply and truly cared. His legacy will carry on through Montgomery runners as they let their sorrow and loss fuel them to follow Coach Bryan’s example of dedication and perseverance.

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