Coach Rose Gregg arrives at Bryan High School at 5:35 a.m. every morning. The school’s start time is 8:15 a.m.
Working as a special academic center teacher, she’s technically not a coach anymore. That doesn’t stop most people who know her from calling her “Coach Gregg” with love and admiration.
Gregg’s dedication to arriving at school “on-time” every day would be a remarkable feat in its own right. What makes it even more amazing is she’s arrived early to a Bryan ISD school nearly every school day for the last 51 years. And, she usually leaves school more than two hours after her school’s scheduled end time.
If you want to know about a noteworthy event that’s occurred in Bryan over the past half century, Gregg’s a good person to start with. She’s seen integration, schools built, schools torn down, state championships won, state championships lost, academic success and lives changed. She’s seen it all. And she is thankful for it all.
Teaching isn’t a job to Gregg. It’s a passion. Deanie Dudley, a former Bryan High track student under Gregg, said, “There’s no way you can stay in a job that long and not love what you do.”
The students drive Gregg, and she drives them to be better.
Last school year, Bryan ISD honored Gregg for 50 years of service in the school district. This year, Bryan ISD will honor Angie Krolczyk, TESC administrative assistant, and Judy Hughson, Kemp-Carver assistant principal, for their 50 years in the district. Many people would see such an accomplishment as the culmination of their career. Gregg sees it as a continuation. Like clockwork, she arrived two and a half hours early in August to start her 51st year in the same organization.
“My hobby would be spending money playing bingo, but I don’t need to be in the bingo hall every day,” Gregg said. “As long as I am up, my mind is functional, my health is fairly decent, and I feel like I can help someone, I want to keep going.”
Gregg said it all depends on her heath. She said if it gets to the point where she’s “not useful” that she’ll quit going to school because she doesn’t want to waste the students time, the district’s and her time.
Like many teachers, Gregg’s work stretches beyond the classroom. She’s provided students financial assistance to get into college and helped students move to college. She’s bought belts for students when a dress code required them. And she bought shaving cream and razors for students when they needed a shave. She said she did all these things because she “wants her kids to be in class if they can.”
Growing up “up the road” in the small town of Calvert, TX, Gregg’s path didn’t seem like it was in line to be an educator. She didn’t think she would be able to go to college because she didn’t think her grades would be good enough. That mindset changed when someone told Gregg’s sister that her sister Rose wouldn’t ever make it in college. Gregg said she feels she proved that person wrong when she became the only girl in her high school class to graduate from college.
“I always tell the kids in school, don’t ever let me or anyone else tell you that you can’t be what you want to be,” Gregg said. “If you want to be something, go for it.”
Students, past students, fellow educators and community members appreciate the belief she has in them.
When a photo was posted on Bryan ISD’s Facebook page last June of Gregg receiving an award for 50 years of service it received 873 “likes, loves and wows” and 141 comments, all of which were positive. Many people expressed their gratitude for the impact she had on their lives and for challenging them to accomplish their dreams.
In her work as a track coach, cross country coach, basketball coach, volleyball coach, PE teacher, and teacher, Gregg influenced thousands of lives. Two Bryan ISD Board members, Ruthie Waller and Felicia Benford, remember Gregg fondly. Waller worked as a junior varsity track coach when Gregg started the first Bryan High girls’ track team in 1976 and won the state championship in 1980.
“She taught me so much about the sport of track and field,” Waller said. “She really knew what she was doing. Being the sub-varsity coach, we would sit on the bus together, and she would teach me the intricate details of track and field.”
Gregg coached Benford in basketball and track. It took a while for Benford to get accustomed to how hard Gregg pushed her to work, but she is thankful for the result. The work Gregg did outside of coaching is what Benford remembers most.
“Looking back at her, I didn’t look at her as a coach,” Benford said. “I looked at her as someone that came from the neighborhood because she was so concerned about the girls in the high school and what we were doing in the community. She was just such as positive role model. She was always the same in school and the community.”
Lester Banks, Bryan High campus monitor, described how Gregg didn’t let her sister Sharon quit track when she wanted to. Later, she received the “athlete of the year award” in track and is currently teaching at Rudder High School. On Facebook, Sam Pittman II thanked Gregg for “regularly visiting my grandmother in the nursing home.” Michele McKinley thanked her for serving as a mentor in her early teaching years.” Beverly Owen said Gregg went “beyond all that is expected of a teacher.” JoBeth Palmer said Gregg was “a major part” in developing her and her sister to what they are today. Accounts of lives changed go on and on, and are still continuing today.
Lane Buban, Bryan High principal, sees Gregg as a “very valuable resource.” He said he goes to Gregg for advice because of her knowledge and experience.
As Gregg works to impact lives the same way she did on her first day of school at Neal Junior High on Sept. 1, 1966, she’s appreciative of the district that gave her a start in teaching.
“The people of BISD have been good to me,” Gregg said. “They gave me my first opportunity to teach. You know, they believed in me, and I believe in them. So by believing in each other, it just made me more comfortable to want to stay here. I’ve had other job offers, but I didn’t take them. I like being here.”
Children First. Always.