Coleman returns to guide Forrest football
A Rocket made a return trip to Chapel Hill on Wednesday as former Forrest football standout and defensive coordinator Brian Coleman was announced as the new Rockets' head football coach.
"I have always wanted to a be a head coach, it's been a lifelong goal and I love this place, hometown, so this was just a great opportunity," said Coleman.
Coleman, who lives in Chapel Hill with his wife Jessica and two daughters Jayden (7) and Madelynn (1), graduated from Forrest in 1994 before playing football at Bethel University.
Aiming at success
"I want to thank coach Morgan, coach McClaran, and Mrs. Abernathy for this opportunity," said Coleman. "They have been great working with me and I believe they know what it takes to have a successful football program and we are going to work towards that."
After graduating from Bethel, Coleman began his coaching career in 2000 with a seven-year stint under former Marshall County head football coach Mac McCurry, who is the current coach at Marion County.
"I have really worked with some great coaches over the years and I have learned a lot from each one of them," said Coleman.
In 2008, Coleman left MCHS to return to Forrest where he was the defensive coordinator for three years under Kyle Stacey.
The Rockets posted a 22-11 record with Coleman calling the defense, including two playoff appearances and his unit was known for its hard hitting, stingy style.
Coleman left the Rockets in 2010, taking his coaching skills to Riverdale under Ron Aydelott as defensive line coach.
"I made a lot of lifelong friends there," said Coleman. "I really hated leaving there, it is such a great program with great coaches and they work really hard; it's football all the time with a great work ethic."
Friend joins team
With his return, Coleman brings another Forrest graduate back to Chapel Hill in longtime friend and coaching partner in Brent Johns, who will start his teaching job at Forrest in May, but begin coaching the Rockets immediately.
"We coached together for a long time in the early 2000s and we sort of had an agreement that if each one of us ever got a head coaching job, the other would try our best to go help the other out and that is kind of the way this all happened," said Johns.
Johns graduated from Forrest in 1990 and attended Middle Tennessee State University where he was a volunteer assistant before returning to Forrest to coach middle school football under Stacey.
Coleman and Johns' path crossed again when Johns went to MCHS in 1998 for a six-year stint under Bob Edens and McCurry.
"I'm excited about it," said Johns, who will coach the Forrest offense. "I graduated from here, know the kind of kids that are here and I think you can win with these type of kids."
Two in one
Forrest Athletic Director Scott Delk had to find his second football coach in two years after former head coach Joe Moos recently left for Lincoln County as the offensive coordinator under former MCHS head coach Don Thomas.
"Not only do we get one, but we get two, and I am more excited to have two than I am to have one, of course," said Delk. "We are very fortunate to get Brian back and very excited to get Brent back as well. Brent's been out of the game a few years, deciding to take some time off and have some babies. We are glad to have them back, everyone I have talked to so far is just thrilled."
Coleman talked about his game plan to make certain that the Forrest program continues its recent success of making the playoffs in three out the last five years, but he wants to take the Rockets higher.
"We are going to run the football and play good defense and I think our first reasonable goal is to win the region," said Coleman. "It's a tough schedule, but all we are worried about is Collinwood. We are behind in the weight room, so we have to get in there, so we have a lot of work to do."
Looking for help
Coleman and Johns are working to put together the remainder of the coaching staff.
"There are a lot of great guys around here that can get on board and help us out," said Coleman.
Asked about what Chapel Hill fans can expect from the Rockets, Coleman said, "These guys are going to try hard, they are going to display class, pride and tradition and we are going to work real hard from the start and give the community something to be proud of."