Gulfport’s Bryan Caldwell retiring after 38-year career
GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - After a 38-year career, Gulfport athletic director Bryan Caldwell has decided it’s time. A state champion head basketball coach, a Gulfport Sports Hall of Fame member, and former principal of Bayou View Middle School, his resume is loaded. Which means no shortage of memories.
“As a coach, it would be the state championship in 2002. That was really a magical run,” Caldwell said. “As a principal, it was a great experience, we were a national blue ribbon school in 2008. I got to go to Washington, D.C., and be a part of the ceremony where we met the secretary of education. As an athletic director, I’ve had a front row seat to 10 state championships. Just to be able to be a small part of that is really rewarding.”
His impact stretches beyond just Gulfport. Alongside current Southern Miss coach Jay Ladner, the two of them kick-started HoopsFest back in 1995. It all started as a pitch to the Coast Coliseum, and has since ballooned into the spectacle it is today.
“We had no money, no backing, but they took a flyer on two enthusiastic coaches,” Caldwell said. “It grew over the years to where it’s seven games, 14 teams, and really it’s kind of a staple of basketball in the winter.”
Whether at Bert Jenkins gym - where he coached its first ever game played - or at the brand new baseball or softball facilities, you’ve surely seen him at any Gulfport sporting event. And just because he won’t oversee the athletic department, he’ll still be there. Just maybe not in the exact same seat.
“I’ve been a Gulfport fan since I was 10 years old. That doesn’t end because I retire,” Caldwell said. “I’ll still be in the bleachers cheering for the Admirals, just not on the sideline. And if I want to leave five minutes early, I’ll leave five minutes early.”
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