By: Joe Blystone
BRYAN – Some 30 plus years ago Chad Savage walked into Bryan High School for his first day on the job in athletics as a wrestling and freshman football coach and Bryan became all the better for it.
Those initial coaching occupations evolved through the years into a more recent administrative position as the Golden Bears Athletic Director.
Just a couple short weeks ago Savage hung up his phone, clipboard and whistle for the final time, and rode off into the laurels of Golden Bear history when he retired after being with the district since 1992.
Savage, a graduate of the University of Toledo and a member of the United States Air Force National Guard when he began at Bryan, explained how coaching and athletics have changed since his early days.
“It was the standpoint of old school back then but now it’s different. Now it’s about building relationships and building a culture.”
“It’s about getting the kids to buy in to what you want to do rather than just expecting them to follow your lead.”
“It’s about building the original pillars and expanding the dynamics of your program.”
Bryan now has 23 varsity programs and has won 15 NWOAL titles in the last four years.
Savage said the Golden Bears tournament run in the Division II girls basketball tournament that took them to the Final Four will stick in his head.
“It brought our community together in a way that we haven’t seen for a bit. The last time it may have been that way was probably in the fall of 2012 when our football team made a deep post season run. It was really neat to see.”
“Another was in 2017 when our softball team won a league title and my daughter was on that team. That was a high point as a coach and as a dad helping those kids out from the time, they were 9, 10 years old to that point where they won a championship.”
Savage explained he has always been learning from the time he began in 1992, and had some valuable advice for those who would like to have the same type of longevity.
“It’s all about building trust with your staff. People in your lower levels, your junior high programs need that importance, and every sport needs to feel that value of importance.”
“Then on the field or the court or whatever it is, it’s one point at a time, one play at a time, positive input is really big.”
“How to get that mental focus on staying within yourself is huge and if you can figure that out early, you have a chance of being very successful.”
Nathan Keel is the man succeeding Savage as the Golden Bears AD.
Joe can be reached at email@example.com