- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 11, 2005

Jimmie Bryan, 89, renowned coach

LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) — Jimmie Benton Bryan, a former mayor and legendary high school basketball coach, died Aug. 6. He was 89.

Mr. Bryan, who served three terms as mayor starting in 1984, remained a booster of the city after his term in City Hall with the unofficial title of “Mr. Lynchburg.”

His signature greeting was, “It’s great to be alive in Lynchburg, Virginia … today.”

Even as mayor, however, he insisted on being called “Coach.”

Mr. Bryan led the E.C. Glass High School boys basketball team to 22 district championships and four state championships in 27 years of coaching.

His overall coaching record was 478 wins and 94 losses.

“He was one of the foundation stones that our community was built upon,” said former Lynchburg Mayor Julian Adams. “He was highly respected. When he coached, he coached to win. He coached to win fairly.”

Rodger Fauber, a former bank executive, was a tri-captain on Mr. Bryan’s 1959 championship basketball team.

“He had the ability to get the most out of people who played for him,” Mr. Fauber said. “He got you to give 150 percent rather than 100 percent.”

The Rev. Jerry Falwell, chancellor of Liberty University, remembered Mr. Bryan as a friend of 50 years.

“He was one of Lynchburg’s greatest citizens,” Mr. Falwell said. “He invested his life in young people. He’ll be missed greatly. He was a great mayor and gracious neighbor.”

Mr. Bryan received numerous awards for his coaching and civic involvement, and was inducted into the National High School Coaches Hall of Fame.

Mr. Bryan is survived by his wife of 65 years, Neva; his son, David; his daughter, Rebecca; and their spouses.


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