In the wake of his eighth season as Brentwood Academy’s head track coach, Brad Perry reflected upon his past years and looked forward to his future.
Perry, a Franklin native and BA alum, is living the dream when it comes to coaching. His past eight seasons as the head coach have landed the team seven state championships, including the past five.
“I simply want these kids to do the best that they can,” Perry said. “At some level, I think that’s all we can ever ask of a runner. If you win, great. If you don’t win, at least you gave your best.”
With a wealth of talent at his disposal and a historic program, Perry has been able to keep the boat afloat and running full steam ahead.
After inheriting the track team from legendary coach Charlie Harper, he simply wants to maintain the brand of excellence that has come to be expected at B.A.
This excellence isn’t always easy to maintain, however, and Perry’s favorite state championship run was actually his most recent. After losing several seniors the year before, Brentwood Academy’s team was largely made up of a younger group. Perry believed in his team but wanted to remain realistic when facing some of the top competition in the state.
“I didn’t realize we were going to win state until the final two events,” Perry said. “It really came down to the wire, but our team pulled it out.”
The history teacher always encourages his athletes to be open to new things. Perry said these runners come into the program not knowing that they could be pole vaulters or hurdlers. He said the biggest struggle is to push them out of their comfort zone and encourage them to not fear failure.
In what many consider an individual sport, Perry emphasized how each piece of the team comes together to form the whole.
“I think the beauty of track is that you have lots of people coming together and competing in these events for the common goal of one team,” Perry said. “Fostering that sense of togetherness and understanding, that is what breeds success.”
Perry was drawn to coaching after his experiences playing sports at BA. He felt the impact of coaches such as Ricky Bowers, David Pack and Harper firsthand. He saw the way they motivated their athletes and brought the best out of everyone on their team.
“Because of the impact they had on me as a person and an athlete, I wanted to do the same for the next generation,” Perry said.
After 24 years in education, Perry has had numerous opportunities to give back and pay homage to the coaches who molded him.