Now in his 46th year at SBU, John Bryant serves as the men's varsity tennis coach and an associate professor of mathematics. In 2005, Bryant became head coach of the women's varsity tennis team. Bryant served as the director of athletics from 1989 to 1995.
He holds an associate of arts degree from Southwest Baptist, a bachelor of science and masters of education from Mississippi College, and a masters of arts degree from the University of Illinois. He is a member of three hall of fames, after being inducted into SBU’s hall in 1982 (and again in 2009) and previously the NAIA Hall of Fame in 1987, Coach Bryant was most recently inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 2010. In 1973, he earned SBU's Distinguished Teacher award and then in 1997 he was given the Governor's Award for Teaching. Coach Bryant has also been on the ITA Board of Directors for the past 10 years.
From 1967-86, SBU tennis won 18 NAIA District 16 titles, played in 19 consecutive NAIA national tournaments and won the 1984 co-national championship. He was named NAIA District 16 Coach of the Year 18 times and also has served as President of the NAIA Tennis Coaches Association twice during that span. In 1983, he picked up the NAIA National Coach of the Year and then did it again in 1990 after SBU became a member of the NCAA Division II. Bryant has served as Chair of the NCAA D-II Tennis Committee for 7 years, ITA Board of Directors for 8 years, and ITA National Ranking Chair for 8 years.
SBU was a member of the NAIA in 1966-87. SBU became a member of the NCAA Division II and joined the MIAA in 1988, the Bearcats have played in the NAIA national championships 19 times and 19 times in NCAA national tournaments.
Bryant currently has 14 MIAA men's tennis championships and 19 national tournaments. The 19 nationals is third all-time in the NCAA Division II, while the 14 MIAA championships is tied for the most all-time in the MIAA since 1953. Coach Bryant boasts a men's career coaching record of 651-357. He also coached the SBU women's tennis team to the first MIAA title in any sport in SBU history in 2008 and was named MIAA Coach of the Year in both men's and women's tennis. Coach Bryant also led the women's team to another MIAA title in 2011.
Bryant is married to Dr. Judy Bryant, Chair of the Department of Education and Director of Teacher Education. They have one daughter, Jana, a SBU graduate in '89 and a radiologist in Springfield, Mo.