Lamar State basketball team joins Division I conference
The next eight months will be a busy time for the men’s basketball program at Lamar State College-Port Arthur.
During that time, the college will hire a new head basketball coach
and an assistant.
The Seahawks’ next season will be played in a new conference. Lamar State is moving from the Division III Metro Athletic Conference, where they played the last two seasons, to Division I – Region XIV.
The move to Division I also means that for the first time in the program’s history, the coaching staff will have scholarships available to recruit athletes.
The Lamar State women’s softball team, now in its second year in a Div Region XIV, also awards scholarships to recruits. The 14-team Region XIV basketball conference has been realigned into a North Zone and a South Zone.
Lamar State will be in the South along with San Jacinto College from Pasadena, Lee College (Baytown), Angelina College (Lufkin), Blinn College (Brenham) and two schools from Jacksonville – Lon Morris College and Jacksonville College.
North Zone teams are Trinity Valley Community College (Athens), Navarro College (Coriscana), Panola College (Carthage), Tyler Junior College, Kilgore College, Paris Junior College and Bossier Parish Community College (Bossier City, La.).
Lamar State’s 2007-08 season ended Wednesday night in Dallas, when the Richland Thunderducks eliminated the Seahawks, 75-70, in the first round of the Metro Conference Tournament. That game also ended the tenure of 65-year-old head coach Don Bryson, who led the basketball program for the first four years, and now
will return to retirement.
Bryson, a long-time area high school coach and Lamar University’s first All-American, was lured out of retirement by LSC-PA athletic director Bill Worsham in 2004, when the college added intercollegiate men’s basketball and women’s softball. Bryson initially agreed to a three-year contract and signed a one-year extension last year because he was impressed with the progress the program was making. "This program has come a long way since that first season, when we had about three months to recruit players, two months to work out and then we played 14 games on the road and one home game in about seven weeks against Division I teams from the toughest junior college conference in the nation," Bryson said. "Every year since then, the team improved. This year, we had the most talent, man for man, of any team I’ve coached here."
Just because Bryson is retiring doesn’t mean he won’t be following the team’s progress. "I may be retiring, but I’ll still be a Seahawk," Bryson said. "I look forward to watching the program continue to improve in the years to come."
Worsham, who also worked with Bryson at Port Neches-Groves, expressed his deep appreciation for the coach’s contribution over the four seasons.
"It’s been a remarkable run," Worsham said. "Coach Bryson and the Seahawks players laid the foundation for us to be an outstanding Division I program in the future."