Rick Bryan, OU Sooner and two-time Oklahoma University All American, died of a heart attack on Saturday, July 25, 2009 in Coweta, Oklahoma.
According to the family, Mr. Bryan, 47, suffered a heart attack at about 10:30 p.m. Saturday night. He was on medication for heart problems, believed to be congestive heart disease. His son Mike, said his father had not been feeling well.
Coach Barry Switzer has the highest praise for Rick Bryan, saying he was one of the Sooner greats:
No one outworked him. I just wish he had played on a national championship team. He had it all.
According to OUInsider.com (linked above) Switzer said a Falcons defensive line coach said he “would take a truckload of Ricky Bryans and go play against anybody.”
More from Switzer:
Just a great kid. A great ol‘ country boy. He was a hard recruit (go get). He wanted to go to Oklahoma State. We worked very hard to get him signed at Oklahoma
Rick was a two time OU All American (1982 and 1983) defensive tackle. He played on the Big Eight All-Conference teams 1981 – 1983. Bryan was named Big Eight Defensive Player of the Year in 1982. He was known for his intellect, as well as his physical prowess and was a member of the Academic All Conference team in 1981, 1982 and 1983 for his accomplishments in the classroom at Oklahoma University. Bryan wore jersey No. 80.
Bryan still holds the all-time record for most tackles by a Sooner lineman – 365, breaking the OU record of Leroy Selmon. His best career record in a single game was in 1983 with 19 tackles against Kansas State.
Bryan went to the Atlanta Falcons as the 9th overall pick in the 1984 NFL Draft. He spent 9 years with the Falcons before leaving pro ball and going home to Coweta where he was a cattle rancher and farmed soybeans and wheat. He also spent some time as an assistant football coach at Coweta High School, where he once played lineback and tight end.
Oklahoma University was well acquainted with the Bryans. In 1983, three Bryan brothers, Mitch, Rick and Steve were playing football for the school at the same time. Younger brother Steve made the All-Big Eight defensive team in 1986 as a lineman.
Bryan’s brothers, Mitch and Steve, also played at OU. Tulsa World sports writer Bill Haisten once wrote that the Bryan brothers are to Coweta what the Selmon brothers are to Eufaula.
Mr. Bryan is survived by his wife Shelby, daughters Kristin and Jenni and son Mike who is a University of Tulsa linebacker. Mike said he spent much of Saturday with his Dad:
My dad was my hero and I base my lie on him. I try to be like him and live like him. He has made me who I am today.
A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday July 31.
“All-American. Hard worker. Country boy. Warrior. Coweta’s favorite son.” Jimmie Tramel, Tulsa World Sports Writer