Welcome to Mike Bryant Field
AHOSKIE – The hard work and dedication of Mike Bryant was rewarded earlier this season.
Ridgecroft School honored the past athletic booster club president for his work in upgrading the facilities at the school by naming the soccer field in his honor.
“When I came here as headmaster, our athletic fields were okay, but that was all,” Ridgecroft Head of School Elton Winslow said. “In fact, some of them were in rough shape.”
Winslow said he was blessed by having Bryant come in as head of the booster club at the same time and said Bryant hit the ground running, raising funds and getting more people involved in the athletic association.
“He raised the level of our athletic fields,” Winslow said. “He hauled in dirt and helped create a grass infield on the baseball field where there hadn’t been one. He also helped get irrigation systems on all the outdoor fields.”
Winslow said the hard work had paid off for the student-athletes at Ridgecroft.
“I think our athletic facilities are as good as any in the area,” he said. “I can’t say enough about what he’s done.”
Winslow said the naming of the Mike Bryant Soccer Field came through two bodies that were thankful for the work.
“Upon recommendation of the athletic association and a unanimous vote of the Board of Directors, they named the field in Mike’s honor because of his work in doing so much to improve the facilities for our student-athletes,” Winslow said.
Bryant was taken aback by the honor and wasn’t told about it before hand.
“I was sitting with my mom and dad and Elton came over and said he needed my help,” Bryant said. “I had no idea what he wanted.”
Bryant said he was honored to have the field named after him, but stressed the work was for the student-athletes at Ridgecroft.
“In our classroom, we give our students the best tools to get their education,” he said. “I looked at our athletic fields the same way.
“We give our student-athletes the opportunity to play varsity sports,” he continued. “It is up to each athlete to step up and be their best. To have nice athletic fields is their tool in bringing hard work in practice and showing it on game day.”
Bryant said he was not alone in his efforts, giving credit to both the Board of Directors and Ridgecroft and the athletic association members who have their support. He specifically thanked Tim Newsome, Bill Magette, Bundy Lane, Steve Sumner, Eddie Pinnix and Aubrey McDaniels for their work.
“It’s outstanding and humbling to have something named after you, but I had a great group behind me who wanted a lot for our student-athletes,” he said. “We went to other schools and saw their fields and came back and looked at our cow pasture and said we are going to make a difference.”
During Bryant’s tenure, the school renovated or out-right replaced the baseball, softball and soccer fields at the school. The dedication and hard work was noticed by those who played at the school and those who visited.
“Getting a phone call or a pat on the back from the kids saying how good the fields looked was the best reward,” he said. “I also appreciated the comments from umpires and referees about the fields.”
Bryant said his advice to any who would be a booster club president was simple.
“Do it for the student-athletes,” he said. “They spend so much of their time in practices and games. The least you can do is give them a good playing surface.”
Bryant is married to Beth Bryant and the couple has two children, Hayes and Miller. He is the son of Kenneth and Ruby Bryant of Colerain.