Lyon takes over as new Stonewall girls coach

New Stonewall girls basketball coach Bryan Lyon gets his team’s attention during a summer league basketball game. Lyon and the Lady Longhorns open their 2018-19 season Nov. 6 at home versus Earslboro. Lyon replaced veteran coach Brian Davis, who stepped down as head coach of the Lady Longhorns hoops team after six years.

Editor’s Note: Following are excerpts from a question and answer session with Bryan Lyon, who is taking over the Stonewall girls basketball team this fall. He takes over for veteran Brian Davis, who had been at the helm of the SHS girls basketball program for the past six years.

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ADA NEWS: Brian Davis (and Christie Jennings before him) has built a girls basketball powerhouse. Talk to me about continuing that tradition.

BRYAN LYON: “Coach Davis has done a great job with these girls and with previous teams. He has instilled a very competitive nature in them and set expectations to always have successful seasons. They are tough, aggressive and have a good work ethic. I hope to continue the tradition and expectations and build on those characteristics already set here at Stonewall.”

THE ADA NEWS: How has the transition from assistant coach in softball to head girls basketball coach gone so far?

BRYAN LYON: “Being the assistant softball coach has helped make the transition easy. Almost all the girls play softball, so we already know each other well. We have already had our ups and downs and taste of success together and become a close family while chasing our dream of a softball championship. When you’ve been through the trenches with a team, it builds camaraderie and trust. We learn each other’s personality and expectations. One thing I know for sure that we all have in common is that we are very competitive.”

THE ADA NEWS: Stonewall basketball fans are already familiar with you, after watching you roam the sidelines with Wes Moreland as the boys basketball assistant coach. Tell me about that experience.

BRYAN LYON: “Being coach Moreland’s assistant last year was fun and exciting. We worked well with each other and had a very successful season, making it to the area semi-finals.

I might be one of the worst assistant coaches in the state. It’s hard for me to keep my mouth shut or stay sitting down during ballgames. There is no telling how many warnings were given to me by the refs to sit down this past season. No harm was intended, I just got caught up in the action, and all I was trying to do is help the referees a little and maybe yell at the boys some. I’m sure coach Moreland thought at times, ‘I wish that old man would sit down and be quiet!’ It was a lot of fun being coach Moreland’s assistant, but it’s going to be great to be able to hold the reins once again. I’m glad and lucky that coach Davis is giving me this opportunity.”

THE ADA NEWS: How was your summer with them? Did you like what you saw?

BRYAN LYON: “We had a pretty good summer. We only had time to go to a couple of basketball camps, and I never had my whole team there at the same time, but I liked what I saw. It was sometimes frustrating for me because I couldn’t run much of the offenses and defenses that we will be using for the season. Due to association (OSSAA) rules, organized practice during the summer is prohibited. So I was basically drawing up things on a board and hoping they could somewhat execute, which, surprisingly, they did for the most part. This group is pretty smart, and they understand the game, so learning new X’s and O’s shouldn’t be a problem. While at these summer camps, I kept reminding the girls to just show me what you can do, hustle and play hard. I wanted to see what they could do and how much hustle and heart they have. This was a starting point for me to determine who plays where and what we might be able to run offensively and defensively. Again, I liked what I saw. It’s going to be an exciting season, I hope they are as pumped as I am.”

THE ADA NEWS: Have you guys discussed goals and expectations?

BRYAN LYON: “Oh yes, my goals have always been the same for years, and that is to make it to the Big Dance and once we get there, win it all in the Big House. I told the girls this is our goal and expectations in the very first team meeting we had. They probably thought this old man is crazy, but that is exactly what my expectations and goals are every year. It’s hard to explain, but once you’ve been there you want to go back over and over again. Although your heart gets broken if you are not the champion, when it’s all said and done and you are able to reflect on the past, it’s still one of the best feelings in the world.”

THE ADA NEWS: Remind me when was the last time you were a head coach and the last time you were a head girls basketball coach. Also, take me through your last few coaching stops.

BRYAN LYON: “The last time I was a head girls coach was the 2016-2017 season at Bowlegs. We had a great run, making it to the all the way area semi-finals. Prior to that, I was at Konawa as an assistant basketball coach and head softball coach. I had some pretty good softball teams while at Konawa, where we made three consecutive state softball appearances. Being able to compete for a state championship at the Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City is awesome. “After 17 years in coaching (at Paoli, McLish, Wewoka, Noble and Stringtown), I stepped away from the field for five years. I missed it and always wanted to coach my daughters, and two of them had already graduated (I have four). So, an opportunity was available at Konawa which is only 15 minutes from my house, and I stepped back into coaching.

“From there, everything just seemed to fall into place. It was so awesome to be able to coach my daughters in the state tournaments. At the time, one was a senior and the following year one was a freshman (Dawsyn Lyon, who will be a senior this year, at Stonewall). What other job allows you to do something as awesome as that besides coaching? My favorite picture in the world (which was taken by Richard R. Barron of The Ada News) is when my daughter (Dominique Lyon) was giving me a high five as she rounded third base just after she hit a grand slam to seal a win in the state softball tournament.”

THE ADA NEWS: You’ve had quite a coaching career so far. Tell me about some more of the highlights.

BRYAN LYON: “I’ve had a long career, and it seems I’ve coached almost everything under the sun. Heck, when I first started coaching girls basketball, it was still played 6-on-6. I’ve coached track, golf, football, baseball both fast pitch and slow pitch softball, boys and girls basketball and I even had a short stint as a volleyball coach. I’ve been lucky and blessed with some good athletes in the sports I’ve been part of over the years. “I’ve had five basketball teams to compete in the state tournament, four golf teams competed in the state tournament, and I have had the opportunity to compete in seven state softball tournaments, either as a head coach or as an assistant. I’ve had some good times coaching over the years and, hopefully, the good times are far from being over and there are many more to come.”

THE ADA NEWS: I know you are smack dab in the middle of softball, but the Stonewall basketball season will be here before you know it (opening day is Nov. 6 at home versus Earlsboro). You ready to get going?

BRYAN LYON: “I’m excited about this year and thrilled to be a part of Stonewall schools. It’s certainly a great place to be. The facilities, staff, administration and students are awesome. What more could you ask for? How good are we going to be? As one of my favorite coaches used to say, ‘We are going be as good as we can be.’ I told the girls it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to get where we want to be, and it’s not easy. We’ll have a lot to learn and will be a different team by Thanksgiving, a different team by Christmas and a different team when the playoffs begin. Hopefully, we will improve and learn more and more every practice and every game. I like the saying that ‘All the games before the playoffs are just glorified scrimmages to get you prepared for the playoffs.’”

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Brian Davis said he needed to relinquish some of his coaching duties — he’s been doing all the high school girls sports at Stonewall for the past six years — now that he has added administration jobs to his full plate.

“I’ve been coaching both sports most of my career,” Davis said. “I just felt like it was time to cut back on my coaching duties. It gives me more time to improve and focus on my administration duties.”

Davis is the assistant high school principal and athletic director at Stonewall.

Jeff Cali has been covering sports in the Ada area since the mid-90s. He graduated from Byng High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from East Central University.