Taking youth play, college experience and a desire to educate to the fields - that’s Coach of the Week, Larry Bride.
While growing up in Gary Indiana, Coach Bride always had a love for sports, especially football - his hero being the great Walter Payton. While his father disapproved of the aggressive nature of football, Coach Bride’s mother recognized her son’s potential and desire to play, so she signed him up for a local team.
Soon enough Coach Bride’s father watched him in action and immediately recognized the special talent his son was given. And while Coach Bride can thank his mom for taking the lead at the registration table, he is equally thankful that his father not only accepted his decision to play football but found pride in his abilities.
After a successful youth and high school football career, Coach Bride went on to attend Tennessee State University in Nashville. At 6’2” and 230 pounds, he was a surprisingly fast running back, and because of his prowess, he was nicknamed, “Big Back” by members and coaches of the TSU team.
Coach Bride is now a father of three. His daughter is completing her final year at North Carolina A&T, where she is a proud member of the competitive cheer team. Coach Bride also has two sons, ages 8 and 4.
So when his eldest son began participating in sports a few years back, Coach Bride took the pleasure of coaching both his Atlanta Blue Jays baseball team and the Sandtown Vikings football team. In 2009, both the Blue Jays and the Vikings earned championship honors - a testament to Coach Bride’s mentoring efforts and positive relationships with team parents and organizers.
While great play is important, Coach Bride wrote that he’s come to realize and understand that not all young athletes are fortunate enough to have on field and off mentors. Because of this, Coach Bride feels that many of the new players come to his team as boys and leave as young men, with strength, talent and most of all character. His personal dedication to teach not just athletic skills but character building, has made him the model coach/ father combination.
“To me coaching isn't just all about winning the game, it's also about teaching some of life’s more important lessons,” wrote our honored coach.
And while a recent knee surgery has our Coach of the Week on the disabled list, he’s doing all he can to get prepared for the upcoming football season. His determination to energize and prepare his incoming players is nothing less than contagious.
The dictionary states that a coach is someone who prepares another for a sporting event or test. Well Coach Bride has truly rewritten that definition to include a lot more then just doing well on the sports field. We think Walter Payton would agree.