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Travis Bryant steps down after 4 years guiding Steamboat wrestling

Steamboat coach Travis Bryant hugs his son, Lance Bryant, after a quarterfinals win at the state wrestling tournament in 2017.
Joel Reichenberger

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Travis Bryant isn’t entirely sure this was the moment, that this was the year to resign as head coach of the Steamboat Springs High School wrestling team after four successful seasons.

He is, however, sure that there never really would be a good time.

Bryant decided earlier this month to step down from the program.



“If I don’t do it now, I probably never will do it,” he said Sunday. “I was talking with my wife and said, ‘I love these guys. There’s no way I could let it go.’ She said, ‘You’re always going to love these guys.’ She’s right. It would be difficult any year.”

The one factor offering this year as an ideal finish line compared to others is the graduation of Bryant’s son, Lance Bryant, from the program after back-to-back trips to the state tournament.



Still, he said that was only a part of his decision. He’s hoping his replacement can be a long-term coach for the program, offering the kind of stability over perhaps five or 10 years he doubted he’d be able to provide.

“It’s just a good time to see if there’s anyone else out there willing to take on that job and do a good job with it,” he said. “That’s where I’m at, that the best thing for the program is to possibly get someone in who has more of a future for it.”

The Sailors’ wrestling job is one of two head coaching positions that, at least at this point, will see change in the 2018-19 school year.

Steamboat coach Joseph O’Dell, right, offers some advice to No. 1 singles player Ethan Paulus during a 2017 match.

Joseph O’Dell resigned after two seasons coaching the boys tennis team and will be replaced this autumn by Bill Conway, director of tennis at The Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs.

For Bryant, stepping down comes after one of his team’s best seasons. The Sailors sent four wrestlers to the state tournament this winter and 15 total in his coaching stint, never fewer than three.

“I’m really happy with the way things have gone,” he said. “We’ve had some real success, and I think our program has come way up. I want to make sure it keeps going that way.”

Bryant said he’ll continue to oversee the district’s junior high program, but someday he will have to make a similar difficult decision with that job, as well.

“The kids are like a second family, so it’s bittersweet,” he said. “It’s been a lot of fun watching those guys grow up, being a part of their wrestling careers, but it’s not just that, their lives, too. We’ve done a lot together outside the room, camping, having them in class. It’s tough to look back and not get a somber feeling.”

Bryant said he’ll still be available to coach if the program can’t find a suitable replacement by the time the mats get rolled out.

“I have a guilty feeling inside, like I’m letting them down, but the other side of me is saying if you don’t do it now, you’ll always be thinking that way,” Bryant said. “Really, it’s a good thing for them as long as I’m making sure we’re still going a direction where we’re making improvements.”

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9.


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