Championship basketball coach leaving OK for better pay

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LATTA, Okla. (KXII) - Latta's head basketball coach Matthew Bryant has an impressive record, bringing home a state championship last year, coming in second place this year.

But now, he's headed for an assistant coaching position in Arkansas and it's all because of Oklahoma's education budget crisis.

"The way that Oklahoma education is right now, you can just do a whole lot better out of state," Bryant said.

"We wish him nothing but the best," Superintendent Cliff Johnson said. We're sad to see him leave but we understand the reality that financially Oklahoma right now can't compete with the surrounding states."

Bryant says the decision wasn't easy.

But with two kids now and one on the way, he felt he had no choice.

"It's a little more financially stable for us, you know where my wife can stay at home with our kids," Bryant said.

Bryant will be the assistant basketball coach at Greenwood High School in Arkansas.

It's more pay for less work, and his wife can continue to stay at home with their children, something they couldn't do on his salary alone in Oklahoma.

"I'm a little sad that my kids won't have some of the teachers that I've taught with for the last 8 years," He said. I know there's other teacher's out there that struggle with this, this decision you know it's just not good where we're at right now."

And although the state passed a $6,000 pay raise for teachers, it may be in jeopardy.

A petition is circulating to put it to a statewide vote to overturn it.

"You know I still care about all the kids that I've ever had here," Bryant said.