Amid her milestone celebration, Megan Bryant’s memory transported her to a place decades away from the Stony Brook softball field, back to when she coached Stetson University softball to a 7-2 win over Ball State for her very first win in the mid 1980s.
She thought winning was easy. Bryant was wrong, but said that’s what makes the latest victory so rewarding.
Allie Pisciotta, a New Hyde Park native, set the tone with a leadoff home run and the Seawolves earned an impressive 8-0 win over Albany May 6. It was a dominant performance like many others before, but this victory pushed Bryant to 800 Division I wins, a mountaintop reached by few in any sport.
Bryant became the 26th active softball coach and the 47th ever to reach the 800-win plateau. She has recorded 455 of her 800 wins in 16 seasons at Stony Brook and previously spent 11 years coaching Drake University after beginning her career at Stetson University.
“I’d like to say time flies when you’re having fun, but I can remember back to my very first college game back in the ‘80s,” Bryant said. “It’s been a lot of memories, a lot of good moments and a lot of tough moments, but if you love what you do, they say you never work a day in your life and I loved every minute of it.”
“It’s been a lot of memories, a lot of good moments and a lot of tough moments, but if you love what you do, they say you never work a day in your life and I loved every minute of it.”
Bryant has led Stony Brook to the postseason 10 times, including two NCAA tournament appearances in 2008 and 2013, and helped Drake to the NCAAs in 1994.
Her legacy is still growing.
She collected win No. 801 in the first game of a doubleheader against Albany May 7 and Stony Brook won two games in the America East Tournament before ending the season with a 9-7 loss to Albany Friday.
Bryant, who grew up in Westchester and lives in Coram, said she coached multiple high school sports upstate for four years before moving to collegiate softball. The oldest of six children added that she played volleyball, basketball and softball and ran track growing up, but “the competitiveness, the chess match” of the diamond was always special.
“She approaches the game very seriously and I know she never takes a game off,” said Pisciotta, a senior who was a freshman when Bryant reached 700 wins, also against Albany. “Our relationship has grown over the past four years, we’re pretty close. She’s tough on you because she wants you to succeed in every aspect of life. And she has her jokes here and there.”
UNC Charlotte softball coach Aimee Devos played for Bryant at Drake from 1989-93 and said her former coach is still a role model, mentor and friend. She added that Bryant helped her get her job, but it’s all business when the coaches play each other every other year or so.
“I want to beat her to show her I’ve done a good job,” Devos said. “She loves the fundamentals and the basics of the game, but yet she’s always prepared and ready to throw something different at you.”
On Bryant’s milestone: It takes patience, the ability to change with today’s athletes and a true passion to coach. It’s outstanding and shows her fortitude and her desire to be the best.”