Bebe (pronounced BEE-bee) Bryans is in her 12th season leading the women's openweight and lightweight rowing programs at the University of Wisconsin.
Bryans and the Badgers have been a successful marriage, with the Bryans-led openweights reaching the NCAA championships for eight consecutive seasons and in 10 of the last 11 years. The streak is highlighted by a program-best seventh-place finish at the 2010 NCAA Championships. The result went one better than the program's eighth-place finish at the 2006 NCAA Championships under Bryans.
UW's NCAA result in 2010 makes up part of the program's unprecedented success as the UW's first Big Ten rowing championship also came during the season. UW went on to win the 2010 Central Sprints for the first time as Bryans captured her third and the UW's first Big Ten Coach of the Year award in rowing. That went along with Bryans' Central Region coach of the year honor.
Under Bryans, the varsity openweights have succeeded and the novices have blossomed, with the varsity four placing second at the 2009 NCAA Championships, the highest NCAA finish for a UW boat in school history. the boat returned to the podium with a third-place result in 2010. It has also captured Big Ten titles in both 2010 and 2011. The second varsity eight took bronze in 2006 for the school's first NCAA podium result, won Big Ten titles in 2008, 2009 and 2010, and has been among the top three Big Ten finishers in seven of the last eight seasons. The novice eight's success includes perfect seasons in 2006 and 2008, winning Big Ten Conference and NCAA Central/South regional titles. The 2009 and 2010 novice eight also won Big Ten and NCAA Central regional titles.
A growing number of rowers who have competed under Bryans at UW gained international experience as members of the U.S. senior and under-23 national teams. In 2015, that number climbed to seven women's openweight rowers and five lightweight rowers on the team.
While the openweights ascend the collegiate rowing ranks, the UW lightweights have been dominant, winning five national titles under Bryans' watchful eye.
Bryans, the first women's rowing head coach in Michigan State history, spent seven years in East Lansing, leading the Spartans to five NCAA championship appearances as a team. Michigan State was represented at the NCAA championships by at least one boat in every year of the program's existence. In 2002, her second varsity eight placed fourth and the varsity four placed fifth. She was recognized for her team's success as 1999 Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association Central Regional Coach of the Year as her crew placed eighth at the NCAA Championships.
Bryans was named Big Ten Rowing Coach of the Year in 2000 and 2003. Her teams earned Big Ten championships in the varsity four (2002), second varsity eight (2003) and the second varsity four (2004). She has also coached two Big Ten Freshmen of the Year (2001, 2003), one Big Ten Athlete of the Year (2002) and one MSU Medal of Honor winner (2002).
Prior to Michigan State, Bryans served as the varsity women's rowing coach at Georgetown from 1992-97. She was a member of the NCAA Women's Rowing Committee while at Georgetown and led the Hoyas' varsity eight boat to a berth in the inaugural NCAA women's rowing championships in 1997.
In addition to her head coaching experience, Bryans has been active in the coaching ranks of the USA Women's National Rowing Team since 1985. As the head coach at the Junior World Championships in 1992 and 1993, Bryans led the 1992 women's eight to a bronze medal, which marked the first medal won for the U.S. in a Junior World contest.
Bryans went on to serve as the women's elite sculling coach at the 1995 World Championship. She was a member of the Women's Olympic Rowing committee from 1992-94 and she took on the role as the chair of the committee in 1993-94. Most recently, Bryans led the U.S. women's four and the lightweight single at the 2000 World Rowing Championships.
Before joining the coaching staff at Georgetown, Bryans was the head rowing coach at Mills College from 1988-92. Prior to her stint as crew coach at Mills, Bryans was the assistant swimming coach at San Francisco State University from 1986-88. She also served as founder, executive director and head coach of the Pacific Rowing Club from 1980-92.
A 1986 graduate of San Francisco State University, Bryans was a 10-time Division II All-American in swimming. In 1986, she was named the SFSU Woman Athlete of the Year. Bryans was dubbed the Northern California Athletic Conference Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 1986 as well. A 1991 FISA Masters world champion in the eight and the quad events, Bryans received her master's degree in physical education from San Francisco State in 1989.