College Policy Debate Forums

DISCUSSION => Open Topic -- Any issue => Topic started by: SherryHall on January 22, 2016, 07:29:30 AM



Title: Michael "Bear" Bryant
Post by: SherryHall 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.


Title: Re: Michael "Bear" Bryant
Post by: SherryHall 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.


Title: Re: Michael "Bear" Bryant
Post by: SherryHall 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.


Title: Re: Michael "Bear" Bryant
Post by: SherryHall 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.


Title: Re: Michael "Bear" Bryant
Post by: SherryHall 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.


Title: Re: Michael "Bear" Bryant
Post by: SherryHall 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


Title: Re: Michael "Bear" Bryant
Post by: SherryHall 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.


Title: Re: Michael "Bear" Bryant
Post by: SherryHall 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.


Title: Re: Michael "Bear" Bryant
Post by: SherryHall on January 22, 2016, 07:35:56 AM
From: Ken Sherwood

Another Debate icon has left us. Fare thee well, Michael Bryant.


Title: Re: Michael "Bear" Bryant
Post by: SherryHall on January 22, 2016, 07:36:33 AM
Eric Morris

RIP Michael Bryant. Very sad.


Title: Re: Michael "Bear" Bryant
Post by: SherryHall 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.


Title: Re: Michael "Bear" Bryant
Post by: SherryHall on January 22, 2016, 07:37:36 AM
From: Jasmyn Campbell‎

Farewell, Michael. You inspired me.


Title: Re: Michael "Bear" Bryant
Post by: SherryHall 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 ~


Title: Re: Michael "Bear" Bryant
Post by: SherryHall 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.


Title: Re: Michael "Bear" Bryant
Post by: SherryHall 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


Title: Re: Michael "Bear" Bryant
Post by: SherryHall on January 22, 2016, 07:39:55 AM
From Brandon Mark

Oh man, that is terrible news. Bear influenced my life in such great and positive ways. I will always remember him.


Title: Re: Michael "Bear" Bryant
Post by: SherryHall on January 22, 2016, 07:40:28 AM
From: Amy Schimandle

Such sad news today. My college debate coach- legendary Bear Michael Bryant passed away. I could not imagine myself being where I am without his influence and help.

Bear,

I'm so sad to know you're gone but glad to think you are not hurting any longer. Even if most of the last years were just me on a near daily basis saying to myself "Get Em Bear!" Enjoying all your political posts & outrage. Knowing you were there vigilant for the cause. You were always so quick to fight against any perceived injustice; whether it was Neo-Nazis on the short wave, an alternate opinion on eDebate, or a guy pulling out in front of you at the airport drop off. You gave me a home when I was lost, you were my friend when I needed one. The institution that was Weber debate in your days gave a future to many that needed a soft place to learn how to cope. Growing up is hard especially in the face of so much injustice. Debate teaches you how much of that there is. But you were a great example of how to navigate the lines, judge and find the path, but most importantly, to not be silent. You fought for us, fought for your truth, and fought for fun. I was glad to know you, glad to be on your team.

Always.
Amy


Title: Re: Michael "Bear" Bryant
Post by: SherryHall on January 22, 2016, 07:41:03 AM
From: Eric Marlow

I can't even begin to express the loss I feel, today. Bear was more than just my friend, he was my brother. I learned more from him than anyone but my dad. My sadness is unfathomable. Who will fill my newsfeed with fantastic pictures of the universe and liberal truth. I just can't tell you how lost I already feel. My brother until the end; I love you and hope we meet again some day. Thank you, again, for all that you gave me!


Title: Re: Michael "Bear" Bryant
Post by: SherryHall on January 22, 2016, 07:41:48 AM
From: Doug Dennis

tl/dr if that matters to you...

I went to Weber State. I debated for Michael Bryant (Bear). Debating for him wasn't always easy- in fact, it was rarely easy- debating for Bear was hard because he had expectations for you, and it always seemed, at least for me, those expectations were well beyond my reach and rarely did I meet those expectations, which was simultaneously infuriating and motivating. I never felt like I was the debater that he wanted me to be, and when I was debating, it kind of bummed me out. when i told him i was transferring, he was quick to tell me he wished me success wherever i ended up debating and that he pushed me because he knew i could be better than my expectations (he was right) , and i told him i was going to Oregon- he told me I'd be back, because i wasn't finished with debate (he was right, again) and despite me no longer being a member of the team, he never stopped caring.

that's the part most people never got to see. he cared about his debaters in a way most can't or won't.

it was the part of his coaching and teaching that i tried to emulate: higher than achievable expectations for my kids on the hope that they meet them but knowing they've surpassed their own expectations, but they all know that i have their backs, even when they're not around anymore- that team is family and family is permanent.

anyone who ever debated for me has him to thank. if you wonder why i always pushed you harder and expected more of you...

Proud to say i debated for him. Prouder to call him a mentor and a friend.

Still devastated.


Title: Re: Michael "Bear" Bryant
Post by: SherryHall on January 22, 2016, 07:43:25 AM
From: Tony Santamassino

Just read about the passing of another friend and colleague, Mike Michael Bryant. Not sure about details.

Spoke with him this week and he said he was feeling better.
Sent him birthday wishes Saturday.

RIP... Mike... you will be missed.


Title: Re: Michael "Bear" Bryant
Post by: SherryHall on January 22, 2016, 07:44:09 AM
From: Bernardo Attias

Sad to read that Bear Bryant passed on today. It's been a difficult month already, and I know he'll be missed. His always supportive smile was an important fixture of the debate community, and he was a great storyteller to boot. And once he started twisting them up you knew you were in for a long night
wink emoticon
Farewell my friend.


Title: Re: Michael "Bear" Bryant
Post by: SherryHall on January 22, 2016, 07:44:41 AM
From: Scott Odekirk

I am deeply hurt by the loss of my friend and coach, Bear aka Michael Bryant. I was there at the end of his Weber run. He took me in and made me feel like somebody in this harsh world had my back. Loyalty was everything for Bear. He believed in me so much and I always felt that warmth from him. He loved Weber State Debate. I loved sitting in his apartment, watching Law and Order, and laughing as he grew enraged responding to people on Edebate. He would tell me stories with such vigor and intensity that I could listen to him for hours. His care for the world and for others was so huge that sometimes it spilled over into rage. I loved that passion. I always counted myself lucky that he was on my side. He was a life-long debater (in many contexts), an enthralling educator (his classes were a show), a mentor, a friend, and a loving dad. I didn't get enough time with him, none of us did.


Title: Re: Michael "Bear" Bryant
Post by: SherryHall on January 22, 2016, 07:45:47 AM
From: Glina Bryant Lentz

Thanks everyone for your prayers and thoughts regarding the death of my brother Mike Bryant. I just wanted everyone to know that Mike will not have a funeral but instead his daughter, Melissa Bryant, is having him cremated. Due to bad weather, the family will be having a memorial service/celebration of life in the Spring and when travel conditions are better. I will keep everyone informed and let you know when we will feast in Mike's honor.


Title: Re: Michael "Bear" Bryant
Post by: SherryHall on January 22, 2016, 07:46:24 AM
From: Mike Zahller

Yesterday, I learned that my former collegiate debate coach, Michael Bryant (a.k.a. Bear), had passed away unexpectedly. Truth be told, the news completely took me by surprise. I was aware via FB that Bear wasn't doing too well health-wise, but for that to lead to him passing away came as a complete shock to me personally.

See, to me, Bear was always a fighter. He fought for what he believed in no matter what; he fought against injustice (even if that injustice had nothing to do with him personally); he fought to win in the things he was involved in; he fought to make sure the ones he cared about were benefitting from their time with him; etc. And, as I reflect on my time with Bear, I have come to realize that he fought for me too.

He fought to make sure that I grew as a student, as a debater and as a person. He fought to help me succeed in my debate rounds especially when he knew how much winning a particular round would mean to me personally. He fought to come up with new arguments for Zach and I to use in our debate rounds even if that meant him staying up all night DURING a tournament to cut cards for said argument (and boy-o-boy was he ever excited to share those new arguments with us the next morning). He fought to make sure I was making sound decisions with both my education and my life as a whole. And sometimes I think he fought just to motivate me to fight a little more for what I wanted and for what I believed in.

Bear will definitely be missed by both myself and the countless others who's lives he has touched. Wherever he may be at this time, I can assure you he's giving 'em hell in only the way he could. Rest in peace my friend.


Title: Re: Michael "Bear" Bryant
Post by: SherryHall on January 22, 2016, 07:46:52 AM
From: Salahudeen Abdulkhalique Supe

R.I.P Michael Bryant one of the best teachers I've ever had the privilege to learn from. You will not be forgotten.


Title: Re: Michael "Bear" Bryant
Post by: SherryHall on January 22, 2016, 07:47:21 AM
From: Mathew Ballard feeling bummed.

He was one of the good ones.

Today I found out that yesterday, on his 58th birthday, Michael Bryant passed away. He was a teacher of mine during my days at LTI (SCTD) in public speaking and professional development. In the classroom I learned a thing or two from him in the classroom. However, what I really appreciate was his belief in me and my ability to accomplish and conquer whatever I decide to go after. He wanted to see everyone that crossed through his classroom to succeed and made sure everyone knew it.

Since I graduated in 2007 we stayed in touch through Facebook and random visits of mine to the campus. Through some of my more significant challenges in starting my career he was on the sidelines motivating me to keep going and to never give up. Once I finally cemented myself at Humana, he was there to congratulate me and celebrate my new found success.

Mr. Bryant, I will conclude by echoing others once more - you were one of the good ones.


Title: Re: Michael "Bear" Bryant
Post by: SherryHall on January 22, 2016, 07:47:51 AM
From: Brandon Mark

My college debate coach, Michael Bryant, passed away a few days ago. Bear, as he was known, changed my life. When the University of New Mexico shuttered the debate the program, Bear allowed me to come debate for Weber State Debate in the great state of Utah, my current home. If not for Bear's decision, I wouldn't know my husband, wouldn't have my beautiful children, and wouldn't be where I am today.

But more than that, I wouldn't be who I am today. Bear was a role model. He stood up for what be believed in, no matter what. He cared deeply for his debaters--he made us all want to be and do better to make him proud. I know that I wouldn't be who I am today if not for Bear. Thanks for everything Bear--your legacy will live on in the lives you changed.


Title: Re: Michael "Bear" Bryant
Post by: SherryHall on January 22, 2016, 07:48:29 AM
From: James Martin

Got a little industrial out of my system. Ahead of their time. Kept me up for research and blocking out strategy Vs The best of the best. Loss of a friend.mentor and coach brought of me a release. VIP. Michael Bryant. Not for the faint of heart. Must be clear... This shot was my cathartic when young. Poetry is spot on kritik. Helped me come out of the proverbial closet.


Title: Re: Michael "Bear" Bryant
Post by: SherryHall on January 22, 2016, 07:49:03 AM
From: Melissa Bryant‎


I have less than 24 hours to write the obituary for sunday. My dad was many things to many different people and I still don't know how to put that into 4 or 5 lines... as I try to figure that out I should mention the things that I can't afford via the local paper.

1) it's cold and the louisville weather is unpredictable. we'll have a public gathering in the spring.

2) while I don't advocate poor people donating to political campaigns, dad would probably rather y'all donate $ to Bernie Sanders. that's your decision... just know that he'd like me to put that out there.


Title: Re: Michael "Bear" Bryant
Post by: SherryHall on January 23, 2016, 11:49:21 AM
From: Jared Ellis‎:

I wasn't originally going to post this story, but Zach W. convinced me I should.

I became friends with Bear in the mid nineties, when I debated for Lewis & Clark. The Weber team traveled pretty extensively in the Northwest and I got to know Bear pretty well. My favorite Bear story took place in my first round at CEDA nationals in 1999, which was at Southern Illinois. My partner (Nick Hesterberg) and I walked into the room, the other team had already arrived. Bear was judging. We greeted everyone, and during our introductions, he mentioned very loudly that he thought our case was non-topical. The other team immediately changed its strategy, and ended up going for topicality. I subsequently learned that Bear had been assigned the strategy for our aff, and was convinced it was non-topical. Nonetheless, in giving his decision, (for us), Bear said "I think they are non-topical, but they beat you pretty bad on topicality."

He was a tenacious, crazy guy with a passion for debate. Although I hadn't seen him for years, I corresponded a bit with him via facebook about his health issues. It is really impressive to me to see all of the posts about Bear, I guess I never realized how significant he was to so many people. I will miss him, even now I am missing the daily barrage of ancient aliens and pro-democrat posts popping up in my facebook feed.