Coach Stith Provides Update
I really enjoyed listening to the interview with Coach Bryant Stith on Shawn Walker’s “Coach Talk” last week on Facebook.
If you did not have a chance to see it, I urge you to look it up and watch. You can also find a link on my page.
Coach Stith, who is preparing to start his 8th season as an assistant on Jeff Jones’ coaching staff at Old Dominion University, talked about a number of topics including his playing days and coaching career.
Stith noted that the last few months have been tough as he grieved the passing of his beloved father and then endured a bout with the COVID-19 virus.
“This has been a very emotional time for me personally,” Stith said. “My faith brought me through.”
He said his father helped to develop a work ethic in him at a young age.
“My Dad was hard on me when I was young,” he said. “Every day I had chores that had to be done.”
Stith said he worked in tobacco when he was 10 years old and learned that it took hard work to get the job done.
“It taught me how to go hard,” he said. “I developed a work ethic at a young age.”
He said his parents provided a wonderful framework for him to become the man he is.
“I was very fortunate to have two parents that were great role models,” he said.
He said when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, his main concern was the welfare of his family who was spread out worldwide.
He said his two daughters, Brooke and Bria, were able to return home from East Carolina University and then he was able to get sons Brandan and BJ home from Belgium where both were playing professional basketball.
“It was a concern at first and then jubilation when we were all able to get together,” he said.
Stith said that about a year ago he was in the gym at ODU one morning and just did not feel well.
He said after returning to his office, he decided to go to the emergency room.
He found out that his blood pressure was sky high.
“That was a wakeup call,” he said.
Stith took immediate action changing his lifestyle and losing 35 pounds.
“I just needed to do a lot of things differently,” he said. “I am so thankful I had gotten myself back into some kind of conditioning.”
Stith attended a family birthday celebration and that is where his entire family, other than oldest son Brandan, apparently contracted the COVID virus from a family member that has tested positive but had not received the results back yet.
“My wife Barbara and BJ had it first and they got over it fairly quickly but I got concerned when it started affecting my respiratory system,” said Stith.
He said an inhaler helped get him back on track and he was able to make a full recovery after several weeks.
“The lesson I learned is that we have to be vigilant around everyone,” he said.
Stith said his faith helped to sustain him with the passing of his father and while fighting the virus. He also credited the Almighty for the success he found during his playing days that took him from Brunswick HS to the University of Virginia and then to the National Basketball Association..
“I wish I was that good that I could take credit,” he said with a laugh, “but I know that I am blessed. My steps have been measured.”
He said his faith was developed at a young age.
“I came from very humble beginnings,” he said. “We didn’t have a lot but I grew up in church. That is who I was.”
He said looking back at some of the highlights of his career; becoming the all-time leading scorer at the University of Virginia, playing in the NBA for10 years including on a Denver Nuggets team that was the first No. 8 seed to knock off a No. 1 seed in the NBA playoffs, and then coaching a Brunswick HS team that went to seven straight state championship games and won the last three, seem almost unimaginable to him.
“To think a little country boy is the all-time leading scorer at a prestigious university like UVA is just unbelievable to me,” he said. “I have had a great support system and I am extremely thankful.”
He said that coming home after his career in the NBA and coaching at Brunswick HS is where he found his love for basketball again after he tired of the sport due to the business side of basketball near the end of his professional playing career.
“Those kids gave me the love of the game back,” he said.
Stith said he is excited to again be feeling good and is ready to get back to work.
“After laying around for four months, I am excited to get back to some sort of normalcy and do something I love, which is being around ball.”
ODU is scheduled to open its season on November 10 at home against the University of Pennsylvania.