Steve Bryant, or “Chickenhawk” as he is more commonly known to generations of University of Georgia student-athletes, coaches and staff, will retire today after nearly four decades as an athletic trainer with the UGA Athletic Association.
During his tenure, Bryant has served as the athletic trainer for both Georgia men’s and women’s basketball and co-head athletic trainer for football. He currently serves as the administrator over the Stegeman Coliseum athletic training facility, which is the home base for treatment of the majority of UGA’s athletic programs.
Bryant originally joined UGA’s athletic training staff as an undergraduate athletic trainer from 1979-80, including Georgia football’s 1980 national championship season. Soon after he arrived, “Steve” became more commonly known as “Chickenhawk.”
“Football coach John Kasay gave me that nickname in the fall of 1979 when I was a student trainer and everyone on the field got a nickname,” Bryant said. “There was a reason Coach Kasay gave me that particular nickname, but we’ll keep that hidden.”
After serving as a graduate assistant in 1981, he became a full-time member of the athletic training staff in 1982.
“From the early days in elementary and middle school growing up in Elberton and listening to Larry Munson call games on the radio, I knew having a career at the University of Georgia would be a dream come true,” Byant said. “To be able to work my entire career at one school and that be my school is everything I could have asked for. I’ve been able to witness a zillion great college sporting events and watched some of the greatest athletes in the world compete. From my aspect as a trainer, to see many of them work so hard to come back from the adversity they’ve faced with an injury is very rewarding. When an athlete steps back into the training room unexpectedly 10 or 15 years after they’ve finished at Georgia and you get to see how successful they are and meet their family, that puts the icing on the cake. Now I’m seeing second-generation athletes come through. That’s very special and what it’s all about.”