Happening Now

Long-time Pleasant Valley Coach Bryant to Retire

Pleasant Valley coach Dana Bryant directs her team during play in the AHSAA volleyball state tournament at the Crossplex in Birmingham in 2020. (Dennis Victory | AL.com≠)
Pleasant Valley coach Dana Bryant directs her team during play in the AHSAA volleyball state tournament at the Crossplex in Birmingham in 2020. (Dennis Victory | AL.com≠)

Pleasant Valley, AL – Long-time Pleasant Valley volleyball coach hopes to add the one accomplishment that’s eluded her, a state championship, in her final season with Raiders

By Joe Medley

Dana Bryant looks forward to years of watching youngest daughter Allie play volleyball matches at Gadsden State and 10-year-old son Bryant do his thing in sports.

Before then, the long-time Pleasant Valley volleyball coach hopes to leave a legacy that includes the one achievement that has eluded her … a state championship.

Bryant publicly acknowledged on Saturday what has long been planned … her retirement from teaching and coaching after 25 years doing both.

That includes 17 seasons as Pleasant Valley’s head volleyball coach, and 18 will be her last. She will retire after the 2023-24 school year.

“It’s been a blessing to be able to do what I’ve done, to be a part of so many lives, and I’m thankful all the years that I’ve been able to put in and do what I love,” she said. “I’ll miss it, but I’m ready to move on to the next chapter of my life.

“I’m really looking forward to this volleyball season. I feel like it’s a very promising season that lies ahead, and I hope to take home the one thing that I have not done in my career, and that’s a state championship.”

Bryant was the first of two 500-game winners in her house. She’s 519-265 with 15 area titles, 15 regional appearances, eight Elite Eights, four Final Fours and two state runner-up finishes.

Husband David Bryant got his 500th victory as Pleasant Valley’s softball coach during the East Regional in May at Albertville.

Dana Bryant’s run as volleyball coach includes a state runner-up showing in 2022, when the Raiders reached the Class 2A final and lost to Calhoun County and area rival Donoho.

Pleasant Valley returns all but one 2022 senior, Tori Turner.

Donoho won that final match 3-1 to claim its third state title in four years and first since moving up to Class 2A as part of the AHSAA’s “competitive balance” rule for private schools. Pleasant Valley played the state quarterfinals, semifinals and final while flu ran rampant through the team.

Dana Bryant was among the ailing during the final match.

“We were all sick as dogs,” she said.

Dana Bryant made her name as a player for Pleasant Valley before doing it as a coach. Her net battles with then-Alexandria standout Brooke McCarley were must-see volleyball.

“I just remember her being a wall to have to hit against,” Bryant said. “It was her challenge to block me and my challenge to get past her.”

McCarley went on to play for Auburn University, and Bryant played for Jacksonville State.

Bryant has coached daughters Ashley, Anna and Allie at Pleasant Valley. Allie will be a senior this season and has accepted an offer to play for Gadsden State. She plans to sign with GSCC, her mom said.

“I’m really just looking forward to being able to slow down a little bit and catch my breath,” Bryant said. “It’s been a bit of a rat race for the past 25 years, and I’d just like to slow down a little bit and be a mom.”

 

Pleasant Valley coach Dana Bryant directs her team during play in the AHSAA volleyball state tournament at the Crossplex in Birmingham in 2020. (Dennis Victory | AL.com≠)
Pleasant Valley coach Dana Bryant directs her team during play in the AHSAA volleyball state tournament at the Crossplex in Birmingham in 2020. (Dennis Victory | AL.com≠)

 

 

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