Mark Brunell is about to enter year number seven as the head football coach at Episcopal high School and recently sat down with 1010XL to discuss his time there.
“When I took the job seven years ago, I really didn’t have a timetable,” Brunell told 1010XL. “I didn’t know if I would be there a couple of years, I really didn’t know. I can tell you know that I really enjoy it and I have no plans on leaving.
“It’s really a good job in that you’re coaching high school football players. It’s not without its challenges, it’s a lot of work, but I love these guys. Friday nights are the best and just the opportunity to be in their lives is really cool. That’s why I’m at year seven and I have no plans on ending anytime soon.”
Brunell was asked if he knew towards the end of his playing career that he wanted to get into coaching.
“Honestly, I thought about coaching in college and coaching in the pros because my dad is a coach, so it’s kind of in the blood,” Brunell said. “At the same time it’s not very family friendly and it’s very demanding as far as time wise and I just felt I needed a break as far as that many hours.
“I volunteered for coach Bobby Raulerson over at Providence my first year of retirement and I really enjoyed it. Episcopal called soon after that year and I took the job and really enjoyed it. It’s family friendly and these guys get out there, compete and work hard.
Brunell is now teaching the values that he was taught as a young football player.
“If you’re not teaching those values you probably need to get out,” Brunell said. “I started playing tackle football when I was around nine or ten-years-old and those values are hard work, the importance of team work, leadership, a positive attitude, all of those values that you learn on the football field can be applied to life.
“I think sports, specifically football, is the greatest tool to teach our young men about life. I learned that stuff on the football field and that is what we are trying to teach these young men. That is the best part of coaching, being able to have the opportunity to teach these young men those values and I’m a firm believer that if that’s not why you’re in it, you probably shouldn’t be doing it.”
Finally, Brunell was asked about his expectations for his Episcopal football team in 2019.
“Our players will compete,” Brunell said. “When we get to Friday night our kids will play hard. We are not one of the bigger programs in the area, but don’t tell my guys that. They will go out there, they believe in themselves and believe in the program. We are going to win some games and we will have fun doing it.”
Brunell and Episcopal will open their 2019 season on Friday night August 23 taking on Providence.
(You can follow Ryan Green on Twitter @RyanGreen1010XL)