Since Brian Thomas took over the Musselman program in 2013, he has set a 62-24 record which has seen the Applemen become one of the best teams in the state. Musselman hasn’t missed the playoffs since 2014 under Thomas’ tutelage, including running a deep run a season ago until a forfeit due to COVID-19 numbers put a stop to play for them. Applemen. Year after year, Musselman has found himself in the top five in the state, his name having become synonymous with powerful and uncompromising play.
Visit www.journal-news.net this weekend to check out the latest episode of the Journal’s talk show, “Unwrite”. Hosted by Journalists Jess Wilt and Colin McGuire, the weekly series features conversations with some of the most interesting people in the Eastern Panhandle.
As high school football is in full swing, we thought it would be a good idea to bring in Brian Thomas, Musselman’s current head coach. Sitting 1-1 at the time of the interview, he took some time in his preparation for Jefferson – a game that was played on Friday – to catch up after enduring such a tricky way to end the season the last year, which was marred by COVID-19 Protocols.
In this ninth episode, Thomas tackles everything from how he became a coach, his passion for his faith, if he ever considered leaving Musselman for another job in the varsity ranks, replacing the many senior citizens. how he lost to graduation after last year and how his work as a math teacher at school ties into his duties as a football coach.
Below is an excerpt from the conversation. To watch the full episode, go to www.journal-news.net or visit the Journal’s YouTube page.
Wither: Last year’s senior class weren’t all strong seniors; many of them were strong since they were freshmen and sophomores. What kind of culture shift does that leave because you are all culture-oriented and brotherhood at Musselman?
Thomas: You are quite right. A lot of the seniors we brought in last year were starters when they were in their sophomore year, and it was our team that made it to the state semi-finals. So these weren’t just strong seniors, but guys who have been in our program for a long time. I am a strong believer in leadership – fair in the world, in general. I think leadership takes anyone – our country, our team – a long way. So that was the next man. These guys are gone. It’s time to shine. A lot of the kids playing this year got to watch these guys and learn from these guys.
McGuire: Would this be, in a way, a year of rebuilding for you guys then?
Thomas: For me, I don’t really like that word. Good question, but I think a lot of times when you say rebuild, you expect to take a step back. I think it’s more of a gear shift. We are doing different things offensively and defensively than what we have been doing in recent years. As a head coach, for me, every year is different, because every year has a different makeup. Even these children that we have recovered, even if they have played a lot, it’s different when you are a junior and when you play as a senior. So I think this is a time of change. At the same time, we have come to the point in our schedule where we expect to win every game. I know we haven’t won every game, but we don’t go into any game thinking, ‘Oh, man. Hope we keep this thing in all three touchdowns. We expect every time we go out to win this soccer game. So, I don’t want to use the word “rebuilding”, it’s just kind of a readjustment of what we’re doing.