East Buchanan head coach Kevin Bryan stands before his team ahead of a district football game in 2017.
For decades, Kevin Bryan taught students about life, taught football players about facing adversity, and – with his brave battle against cancer and subsequent return to the sidelines – taught all of us about courage.
Kevin Bryan passed away on Tuesday, March 16, after a four-year fight against colorectal cancer.
Gridiron accolades to the side, there’s perhaps no better testament to Coach Bryan than the countless student-athletes he helped mold into remarkable people.
“I’ve been invited back to weddings and a number of graduation receptions,” Bryan told The Leader in 2020. “Numerous kids coming back and seeing me after games and giving me hugs. I felt like, hopefully, I made an impact on their lives. Hopefully, I made them better and they learned something about being young men and how things are supposed to be handled.”
After various teaching and coaching jobs, Bryan landed at East Buchanan for good in 2005, assisting under Ron Musser before taking on the head coaching position in 2007. He led the Bulldogs to several district and conference championships, as well as the state quarterfinals in 2010 and 2014, and the state semifinals in 2011.
In 2016, Bryan was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Despite his battle, Bryan fought his way back to the sidelines in 2017, later telling The Leader, “I needed football and I needed those kids.” The football team rallied around his return, and the Bulldogs fought their way back to the Missouri Class 1 State Semifinals.
He retired after the 2019-2020 school year.
Through it all, his wife, Traci, was a warrior by his side.
“Traci was the rock that kept everything together,” he said in 2020. “If I didn’t have something like that support, I don’t know where I would be. She has gotten so involved at the national level. She’s called on Congress and senators as an ambassador for colon cancer and I’m just so proud of the things she does. She is truly amazing.”
Service information is pending.
Photo by Clint Dye, Article by Brett Adkison
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