Carl Bryan, a longtime Bakersfield College sports announcer known as the Voice of the Renegades, died on Wednesday morning. He was 77.
He was struck by a car while walking in downtown Bakersfield a little less than two weeks ago, said his friend Jesse Pena, a former Garces Memorial High School track and field coach and BC athlete who was told of the news by Bryan's family.
Bryan, who was inducted into the East Bakersfield High School Hall of Fame in 2015, retired last year after more than 35 years announcing BC sporting events. He came to the Renegades in 1973, when he started as a volunteer at Bakersfield College home track and field events, serving as a high jump official for eight seasons. In 1981, he began announcing BC track and field meets at Memorial Stadium after receiving an invitation from coach Bob Covey.
Bryan's announcing and knowledge of track and field went beyond Bakersfield College, and for that matter, beyond Kern County, said Pam Kelly, BC’s cross country and track and field coach. Bryan continued to announce high school meets at Liberty High as recently as spring of this year.
"What I want people to realize most about Carl is that he wasn’t just an announcer for the county," she said. "He had far-reaching tentacles that reached all over the state. He announced youth track and junior high and high school events. He is a member of the BC track and field Hall of Fame, California Community Coaches Track Hall of Fame and East High Hall of Fame."
Bryan still attended BC sporting events and continually supported the Renegades after retiring last year, Kelly said.
The last event Bryan announced for Liberty High was at its league meet in spring, but he never said it would be his last event, said Tim Davis, the school's athletic director.
Davis admired Bryan's great knowledge of track and field and his passion for the meets.
"He was just a great, gentle guy," Davis said. "He did it for the kids. He liked all sports. He did announcing for football and basketball, but I think track was his real love. This is a tough loss for our community. He's been the face of track around here."
Bryan, a 1963 East High graduate, attended Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and was later drafted in the U.S. Army, where he spent 19 months in Vietnam. He taught in the Bakersfield City School District and the Kern High School District for nearly 20 years.
He was the announcer for 13 valley championship track and field meets, six California Community College championship meets, two National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics national meets, two Junior Olympics, the World Masters Meet and the State High School Championships, according to a news release.
"Today, the Renegade family mourns one of its own," BC Chancellor Sonya Christian said in a release. "Carl was a legend known as the Voice of the Renegades. His dedication to Bakersfield College athletics and his professionalism will be remembered by all who were fortunate to attend a sporting event."