Southeast’s Valerie Bryant – OKC Volleyball Coach Spotlight – Presented by Oklahoma Educators Credit Union

By Derrick Smith

Coaching is a job that allows you to influence and impact the lives of young people. You help them become not only better athletes, but also better people. Valerie Bryant has spent a majority of her life doing just that. 

Bryant, who is entering her twenty-fifth year of coaching high school sports, is the head volleyball coach at Southeast High School. Over those years, she has coached a variety of sports at four different schools; Roosevelt Middle School, John Marshall High School, Northwest Classen High School, and Southeast High School. 

Becoming a coach was an easy decision for Valerie, as her family is very sports oriented. 

“I played sports all of my life,” she said. “I received a scholarship to play basketball at Langston University. I just loved being around the sport and felt I could be a positive influence to students. So when the middle school basketball coach retired I applied for the girls’ basketball position. I felt I could help middle school students learn the sport, help them be better teammates and just make a positive impact in their life. I’ve been coaching ever since.”

While she loves sports, the thing she likes better is to see the athlete mature, both in sports and in life. 

“I enjoy watching and seeing how an athlete grows, not only in their sport but in life. I love to see how sports make them build confidence, be a better person, citizen, and role model.”

Valerie says that her high school basketball coach, Mickey Thorpe, made a big impact on her life. 

“I admired the way coach Thorpe treated me not only as an athlete but as a student,” she said. “He opened my eyes to the love of basketball. I saw the dedication, the time and the fair treatment he gave to all of his players.  So when I decided to coach I remembered the impact he imparted to me and my family.”

And while she has accumulated numerous awards, she said her favorite moments are when she seen athletes she has coached. 

“I enjoy seeing former players excelling in whatever career or life choice they made and making a positive impact to society.”