Brint Russell watched a YouTube video of the Heritage/Maryville football game from this past season and found reason for hope.
“It was 7 to 7 at the half. For Heritage to be tied at the half made me think there’s potential. That is exciting to me. That’s what brought me here,” the new Heritage football coach said.
Heritage High principal Patricia Mandigo and athletic director Chip Fuller introduced Russell during a 4 p.m. press conference in the school gym. “We have spent many hours interviewing coaches and selecting the one we felt was the most appropriate, the best coach we could find,” Mandigo said. “We think he’s a star for Heritage High School.”
Russell thanked the search committee, Mandigo and Fuller for the opportunity. “I feel there are exciting changes taking place, and I’m excited to be part of it,” he said.
Russell was offensive coordinator at Crest High School in Shelby, N.C., this past season. They were 8-5 and were beaten in the second round of the playoffs, Russell said.
Russell and his wife, Reagan, have been married seven years. They are expecting their first child in September.
The new coach said he would work to complete his staff soon. “We’ll be working and filling that out as quickly as possible,” he said.
Russell said that this past season he ran a spread offense, but has also used a Pro-I and a Wing-T system. “I’m going to look and see what kids we have and what system would best fit our kids,” he said.
The coach said he hoped to bring fresh enthusiasm to the squad despite a recent history dominated by losses. “Everything that happened in the past is just that, in the past,” he said. “We’re looking at starting fresh with new expectations and goals and a lot of excitement.”
Russell said he and his wife have relatives in Louisville, and he learned more about the job via the Internet. “I’m aware of what’s in front of us and that it’s going to take a lot of hard work,” he said.
Russell said he was a head coach at Class A Jackson County High School in Gainesboro, Tn., before a family emergency forced him to quit. After serving as offensive coordinator this season at Crest High in Shelby, he was attracted to Heritage High School in part because of the family atmosphere.
“It’s somewhere I want to be for a long time,” he said. “I’m excited to be here and feel fortunate to be here.”
Russell said after the press conference he had made contact with some of the feeder youth football programs in the area and planned to speak with the youth coaches for those teams. “That is going to be an important part of us moving forward, reaching down and getting programs involved,” he said.
Blount County Schools director Alvin Hord thanked the committee that helped bring Russell to Heritage. “All these people, I trust,” Hord said. “We had long discussions about finding the best person for Heritage High School. Winning is important but one of the things I look for is the right person with the right kind of character, and he’s impressed me as being that person.”
The position at Heritage became available after Coach Tommy Rewis resigned as head coach in November.