William A. Bryant. Jr. has always relished the thought of taking small parts and molding them to become an immense, finished project.
Bryant observed as a student at tiny Mary Potter Memorial High School in Oxford, NC that small parts make the whole. The Presbyterian Church, USA sponsored institution consistently graduated ranking scholars while remaining highly competitive in athletic endeavors.
After receiving a BS degree from Fayetteville State University and a Master's degree from the University of Iowa, Bryant became a faculty member at Winston-Salem State University in 1946. He taught at Fayetteville State during 1950-52.
"Pint." as his close friends and associates call him, decided to change directions in 1952. He ventured to Dunbar High School in Lexington, NC to revitalize its sagging football program. After four years, Dunbar was crowned the Western North Carolina Double A Champions with an 11-0-0 record. They became the 1956 co M State Champions by virtue of a 6-6 tie.
When the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School System added Anderson High and Paisley High Schools to the high school network, Bryant was a natural for Paisley's original 3-A competition.
Bryant grabbed some young, talented assistant coaches such as Otis Hawkins and Bill Hayes and went to work. By 1967, Paisley had become feared by all. They knocked off 4-A Second Ward and handed arch-rival Atkins (4-A) a setback.
Paisley was crowned the Western District 4-A football champion in 1967 with a 10-0-0 record. In the State Championship game against E.E. Smith of Fayetteville, the Paisley Panthers had to settle for runners up as the Golden Bulls prevailed. The Panthers, however, had made history as the last all-black high school to represent the Western Conference for the State title.
Bryant not only coached football and taught classes at Paisley but he found time to coach and teach tennis, referee football and to serve a term as President of the Winston-Salem Sportsmen Club. As President of the Sportsmen, the contributing membership numbered fifty men. He guided the promotion of the Youth Bowl All-Star Football Game sponsored by the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine.
Several of Coach Bryant's players preceded him into the Hall of Fame, including quarterback John Polite and the tennis-famous Archie sisters.