Legendary Whittell hoops coach Bryant stepping down

Whittell’s Phil Bryant holds up the championship plaque for winning the NIAA 1A Northern Nevada regional title in 2018.
Bill Rozak/Tahoe Daily Tribune


ZEPHYR COVE, Nev. — Legendary basketball coach Phil Bryant is stepping down at George Whittell High School.

Bryant has coached the Warriors boys’ basketball team since 2012-13 where he accumulated 176 wins, two state championships, three Final Four appearances and reached the playoffs in every season. He also briefly at the same time coached a girls’ team as well.

Bryant averaged more than 19 wins and just over six losses over nine seasons at Whittell. The 2020-21 season was canceled due to the pandemic.

The one girls’ team Bryant coach in 2018-19 enjoyed a massive turnaround. The Lady Warriors went 16-7 overall and 9-1 in conference play to earn a share of the league title after winning just six games the previous season and eight victories in 2016-17.

Bryant’s accomplishments at Whitell came after he won nearly 1,000 games at Westwood High School in Northern California, where the school named the court in his honor after he retired from there.

Bryant won Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association 1A state championships in 2012-13, in his second year at Whittell, and then again in 2015-16. Those teams combined to win 52 games while losing six, including just one league loss.

Bryant said there is no one single reason for stepping down but he does want to have more time to watch his grandson and his friends play South Tahoe High School. He and his son, Matt, have been coaching the South Tahoe Middle School boys teams for the past few years and wants to watch that group.

“I feel it has been a pretty successful run,” Bryant said. “It is the perfect time as eight players will be returning to the varsity next year and a strong eighth grade group will be coming up.

“I am so appreciative of the Whittell athletes, students, staff and community for their loyalty and support,” Bryant added. “It has truly been such a big part of my life to be within that special position.”

Bryant is staying on at Whittell as the dean and athletic director, and added that he will still be involved with recruiting camps and tournaments for West Coast elite and will continue working out individuals for skill development.

“It has been a very rewarding career with my name on the court at Westwood where I coached for 30 plus years and from my 10 years at Whittell,” Bryant said. “So many great players and a lot of career wins which means the kids bought into what was expected of them.”

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