It has been a dream for Brad Matthews to coach at one of the highest levels in high school basketball. Wednesday night, that dream came true as Matthews was hired as the new head coach for the Bryant Lady Hornets.
“I’m excited,” Matthews said. “It is a tough conference, and it is going to be a great challenge. It is something I’m looking forward to doing.
“Bryant has a great girls basketball program.”
Currently, Matthews serves as head coach for the Lady Cardinals basketball and as the golf coach, where has served since 2008. Prior to that, Matthews had worked as the head coach for the junior high girls program at Sheridan from 2007-08 and as the head coach for the Lady Beavers basketball and softball programs at Glen Rose from 2001-2007.
Matthews has experience teaching American history, United States government, physical education and health. He holds a Bachelor of Science in kinesiology and physical education from the University of Central Arkansas.
Matthews graduated from Pulaski Oak Grove, but his wife is an alum of Bryant High School. Matthews was a student-teacher at Bryant in 1995 and assisted the Lady Hornets to a runner-up finish in the state tournament.
“Being one of the elite programs, it is definitely going to be a challenge,” Matthews said. “I am ready to step up and be a part of that.”
After five seasons as the Bryant girls varsity head coach, Blake Condley resigned from the position to accept at job at Lake Hamilton to be closer to his friends and family.
Matthews said anytime you step into a position like this, you are filling the shoes of somebody.
“Blake had a lot of success at Bryant. It was a continuation of what the program has always been,” Matthews said. “Blake is a great coach and did a great job with the program.”
The Bryant School Board unanimously approved the hiring of Matthews for the head girls basketball coach position Wednesday night.
“I am very appreciative and I am looking forward to getting started,” Matthews said. “I’m ready to meet the kids and meet the parents.
“I want a successful summer and work towards a successful season.”
Matthews is inheriting a sophomore class that includes All-State Tournament player Kiara Moore. McKenzie Adams, who also earn All-State honors last year, is transferring to a school in Texas after her dad accepted a new job.
Bryant’s Abbi Stearns was the lone senior on the team last year. The Lady Hornets had four juniors including London Abernathy, Callie Hogancamp, Brittney Ball and Breanna Blundell.
“From what I understand and from what I saw last year, I was really impressed with their talent,” Matthews said. “They seem to have really good players.
“That conference, is filled with a lot of good players and coaches, and I look forward to being a part of that talent.”
Matthews said he met with the Lady Cardinals Thursday morning to inform them of his decision to leave.
“These kids have really worked hard for me, and I appreciate that,” Matthews said. “It is not always cookies and ice cream, and our kids understand that. The progress we have made here has been due to their work ethic and commitment.
“Harmony Grove is a really a great place to work, and leaving here is not a reflection of Harmony Grove but more of me wanting to prove myself at the highest level.”