Written by: Rio Bridges & Marvin Bridges Jr.
My Dad (Marvin Bridges Sr.) grew up in the Westend of Richmond and attended Richmond Public Schools. He attended Maggie Walker (Blacks Only) but because of school segregation he was bussed to Huguenot HS. He graduated from Huguenot High School in 1972 and played football (WR and Punter).
In the early 80’s he formed a local music band that became pretty popular named “Solar Energy.” My Dad was the lead singer in the band. They went on to win several band competitions and more. His favorite song to sing was “Purple Rain” by Prince. They performed in these red leather outfits that were pretty fitted, with big Afros and great music. Every weekend they had a show and during the week band practice was in our home basement. Every night was like a music lesson for me and I didn’t even know it..
He was married for 46 years and had 5 children. As his sons grew older, My Dad’s passion for football inspired him to become a little league football coach at Hotchkiss Field Recreation Center for many years. There, he became the one and only Coach B! He would later move to HS ranks and coached Varsity Football for John Marshall High and was a two-time Coach of the Year.
During his coaching days, he also worked at Reynolds Metal Company where he retired in 2004 after 32 years of service. He recently worked at Dominion Youth Academy.
Never letting his family down, he became an ordained Minister during his long membership at Fresh Anointing Cathedral C.O.G.I C. “The Go-to Prayer Warrior” is what we called him.
Education was very important to him. He inspired many youths to prosper by encouraging them to further their education. He was a coach, dad, uncle, and spiritual advisor to many. His favorite pastime was watching the Pittsburgh Steelers, WWE Wrestling, and spending time supporting his grandkids’ sporting events.
He grew up in a religious household, which gave him a good foundation in helping others. His mother and father made sure he grew up to be a powerful man of God, a man of Faith, and a man of integrity. Because of school integration he was bussed over to Huguenot from Maggie Walker. There, he encountered the racial prejudices of that time.
Questions for Rio
Winning the 1st football championship with him against a team that previously would destroy us on the football field.
A saying used by your dad?
“Be a leader not a follower.” “No excuses.”
What is the Importance of a Black father?
Everything that I am I got from my dad. My dad showed me through his actions what it took to be a man. I was able to see a hard working family man, a great father, and a man of integrity. He loved God, his family, music, and coaching.
His influence reached beyond more than he could ever have imagined. He was a father figure to so many people. He loved the underdogs and would embrace those that others would turn away. I’ve seen him mentor so many people. Everywhere he went people would yell “Coach B” and give him a hug.
What will you miss most?
His presence. I miss my dad everyday. He was my calm when things went awry. He was my advisor. All I ever wanted to be was him and all he ever wanted me to be was better than him.