Bryan Small, basketball director for Archer Athletic Association in Gwinnett County, retires from his position after four years. Small has a love for the game of basketball and is knowledgeable enough to run a league of his own. He has enjoyed the journey that comes with his title while bringing together a once loose-knit community.
“I moved to Gwinnett in 2007 from New York,” said Small. “People categorize New York as a basketball mecca and growing up in Brooklyn, I learned a lot about it.”
Small played basketball up until his senior year in high school. “I did not go to college for it but I still studied all aspects of the game because I loved it,” said Small.
Still, having a burning passion for the sport he played, Small would be a head coach for four years in the Archer league.
“I enjoyed coaching until the year 2019 came around,” said Small. “The Archer league was at an all-time low. From participation to how the league was run, no one wanted to step up to be the new director.”
The previous director left the league in disarray. Small stepped up when no one else would, considering if no one took the position promptly, there would be no little league basketball for the year.
After Small became director, the community stood by him and trusted that he would turn the league around.
“As a league, we improved in many areas,” said Small. “The most important being participation.”
Small knew children and teens wanted to participate in the sport. He improved the schedule and communication, giving reassurance to parents.
Many parents loved seeing their children enjoy the game. This gave them confidence in Small. Ultimately this led to the community as a whole supporting Small in any way possible. Parents saw that Small wanted to elevate the community as a whole.
Filling the void that was then the basketball director has done much more for the school system than just bringing in money. An influx of participation and professionalism brought together a community.
“After four years of being the director, it’s unfortunate that this will be my last year,” said Small.
A successor will be chosen to take his place in the coming months. Small accomplished his goal of fixing the league. Since he has met his goal, he feels that the league can function without him. The next director will have a blueprint for maintaining an athletic league in a professional way and will have a supportive community.
“As I look back on the previous years, it brought joy to see children not only competing but enjoying the game,” said Small.