Paul Bryant will enter his fourth year as the Director of Athletics at Eureka College in the fall of 2011. Since Bryant arrived at the helm of Eureka’s athletics department in the summer of 2008, Eureka has experienced unprecedented success on the playing field and in the classroom.
After only two Eureka squads qualified for the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference postseason from 2006 through 2009, four different Eureka squads have made the SLIAC Tournament in Bryant’s three years as A.D. The EC volleyball team qualified for its first-ever SLIAC Tournament in 2009, and the men’s basketball team advanced to the SLIAC Championship game for the second time in 2010. The baseball and softball teams also each qualified for the SLIAC Tournament for the first time in 2010.
In addition to the strides the Red Devils have made on the playing field, Bryant has also placed a significant emphasis on academics, creating the Director of Athletics Honor Roll prior to the 2009-10 academic year. A record-high 81 student athletes were named to the A.D. Honor Roll in Spring 2010, while Eureka is represented well on a regular basis on the SLIAC and Upper Midwest Athletic Conference All-Academic Teams.
Bryant has also made tremendous use of Eureka’s celebrated athletics history, welcoming a pair of Eureka College Hall of Famers back to the athletics staff as new head coaches. On Dec. 4, 2008, Bryant hired Kurt Barth to direct the Eureka football program. In Barth’s first two seasons, the Red Devils have progressed into one of the most prolific passing teams in all of Division III. Nearly one year later to the day, Bryant chose Eureka icon Craig Gerdes as the new head coach of the baseball squad on Dec. 1, 2009. Gerdes was named the 2010 SLIAC Coach of the Year and won 31 games in two seasons as head coach prior to his retirement in 2011.
Bryant has spearheaded several projects to improve Eureka’s on-campus facilities. In June 2011, Bryant secured the funding for the purchase and installation of a new hardwood floor in the Reagan Center. The surface, formerly used as a practice floor by the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves, gives Eureka a regulation hardwood floor for basketball and volleyball for the first time since 2008. In addition to the hardwood floor, two new state-of-the-art Nevco scoreboards were installed in the arena in December 2010.
The latest facilities improvement under Bryant’s watch was “The McKinzie Project”. A permanent brick wall was installed at the Red Devils’ football facility along Reagan Drive in addition to improvements to the visiting bleachers and the installation of a new fence behind the visitors’ sideline.
A native of Dayton, Ohio, Bryant was formerly Associate Director of Athletics and men’s basketball head coach at Urbana University in Urbana, Ohio for five seasons. While in Dayton, Bryant also served for eight years as the CEO of the community’s Learn to Lead youth services agency, where he licensed foster parents and placed foster children in appropriate homes.
Bryant played four years of college basketball between North Idaho College and Alaska Pacific University before earning a bachelor’s degree from APU and a master of education degree from Urbana University. Bryant is a member of the National Association of Basketball Coaches, Black Coaches and Administrators and the National Association of College Directors of Athletics. He also served as the SLIAC Administrative Council Chair during the 2010-11 school year.
Bryant and his wife Shannon reside in Eureka and have two children, Kayla (17) and Paul, Jr. (11).