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Author Topic: Michael "Bear" Bryant  (Read 4527 times)
SherryHall
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« on: January 22, 2016, 07:29:30 AM »

From: Ken DeLaughder

Today, my friend and fellow debate coach alum Michael Bryant, the Bear, passed. I had just wished him a happy 58th birthday earlier today, not knowing what I know now. It's pretty numbing. I know many of my friends took this one close... it really hasn't set in yet (I just found out), but I know it soon will. It will not be pleasant when it does

Bear struggled with diabetes and heart problems and lately had been on me to take better care of myself, even as he struggled with his condition and situation. We yelled across rooms as coaches, always passionate... He gave me my first short wave radio when I told him I was interested in the hobby, and I still have it today.

We still kept in touch, mostly about politics (we shared a lot of posts, and commented on far more) - Bear was a tireless supporter of the Southern Poverty Law Center, and spent lots of times in fights with Internet racists in the south. He had just completed course work on an advanced degree program and was still teaching. Mostly he kept telling me to take care of myself... and now he's gone and I can just sit here hoping that I can heed his advice, as he was just trying to spare me his pain. Thanks Bear, I was listening, really I was.

I am glad his pain has passed finally. He will be missed by many, including his students. I will miss my friend the Bear. He was full of piss and vinegar, but we shared many times, and his heart was also filled with love.

Thank you Bear.
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SherryHall
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« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2016, 07:30:36 AM »

From: Veronica Guevara


Michael Bear Bryant was my first lab leader in college. He invited me out for my first trip to Ogden to his round robin where I met my spouse He built whole chunks of the foundation of the program we commit to grow every day. He set highwater marks we still aspire to reach. He built the endowments that continue to host and cater to the college debate community. Sure, he fought anyone and everyone tooth and nail and raised his fair share of hell but behind all that bombast was a huge heart you always hoped wouldn't just leap out of his chest. I'm going to go process this loss and tonight I'll welcome home the Wildcats he always watched over and still quietly checked in on until his very last days. And this October, we're gonna do it up big, Bear. Just for you. Safe travels, friend and keep watch over those 'Cats.
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SherryHall
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« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2016, 07:31:33 AM »

From: Sara Kristine

What a beautiful tribute. Bear was a constant in my career as a debater. He was a guide as I was a punky high school kid. Bear was opinionated, intelligent, and passionate. He gave me the opportunity to debate with Larry Jay Wulkan at the round robin, one of the highlights of my career. I raise my glass high in tribute to him.
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SherryHall
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« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2016, 07:32:16 AM »

From: Dan Shalmon

Condolences, to you and the rest of the Weber family. It's obvious he impacted many many lives for the better.
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SherryHall
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« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2016, 07:32:39 AM »

From: Kelly Young

Early in my career, it was an honor that Bear called me out several times in CEDA-L discussions. We later had many back channel discussions where we worked out our differences. The Bear few people got to know was a very sweet man. Too bad his temper and public persona made people miss that side of him at times.
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SherryHall
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« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2016, 07:33:02 AM »

From: Bill Russell

Bear judged me more than a few times, we shared plenty of drinks, and I later judged some of his very good Weber teams. He was a real force, and a good soul. My condolences
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SherryHall
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« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2016, 07:33:52 AM »

From: DeeMana Christoff


RIP Bear. Michael Bryant was one of a kind. Wishing peace and comfort to his family.
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SherryHall
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« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2016, 07:34:17 AM »

From: Sheila Bryant‎

Mike passed away today on his 58th Birthday. Our family has loss a great son and brother. Mike we love you! We will have a memorial for Mike soon.
ówith Michael Bryant.
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SherryHall
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« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2016, 07:35:56 AM »

From: Ken Sherwood

Another Debate icon has left us. Fare thee well, Michael Bryant.
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SherryHall
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« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2016, 07:36:33 AM »

Eric Morris

RIP Michael Bryant. Very sad.
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SherryHall
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« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2016, 07:37:10 AM »

From: Alysia Cockrell Davis

Michael Bryant judged me in my last debate ever. At the time, all I knew of him were the passionate fires he stoked on eDebate, and I wondered just what was up with my prefs. Luckily, in the years that followed, Facebook was invented and he was kind enough to add me as a friend. I came to see that while he still liked to stoke fires, he did it for all the right reasons. The world lost a champion for good today. If it's possible that his spirit is still hanging around, I hope he's haunting the Oregon terrorist militia or Donald Trump. He'd love that. RIP Bear.
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SherryHall
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« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2016, 07:37:36 AM »

From: Jasmyn Campbell‎

Farewell, Michael. You inspired me.
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SherryHall
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« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2016, 07:38:12 AM »

From: Jason Jarvis‎

You were always pushing us to make better arguments and to think critically. RIP Bear, you will be missed ~
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SherryHall
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« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2016, 07:38:46 AM »

From: Monty Donohew‎

Sojourn on Bear!! I knew Bear my entire college debate career, but was blessed when he agreed to rescue the EIU debate program. Although he (and Jeff Bile) coached me for only one year, in that year I collected the most memorable stories, the most enjoyable debate experiences, the most profound insight into debate, and the most profound insights into the world. I have since missed his wit, his brilliance, and his larger than life humanity. I know that he is, and always will be, a bright star in the awesome cosmos he loved.
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SherryHall
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« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2016, 07:39:30 AM »

From: Stacie Stapley Anthony

Today I learned about the passing of my college debate coach, Michael Bryant or Bear. Bear was not only my debate coach, he was my personal defender. I watched him almost get arrested, and he did get escorted off the Air Force academy campus standing up for me at a particularly awful experience in my debate career. Bear was an amazing man that let Dave live with him rent free for two years so that Dave could make it through college...Bear shaped a lot of who I am today. He always believed in me as a debater and as a person. Thank you Bear. Love you and will always miss you
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