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Going to school and coaching in Tullahoma, Mario Braston has been a Wildcat for quite some time. Now he is set to trade that in and become a Rebel as he joins Franklin County High School as a coach and teacher.
Braston is set to become the new head track and field coach, and will join the football and basketball coaching staffs at FCHS.
A physical education teacher, Braston has 12 years of coaching experience at varying levels. Most recently, Braston served the past two years at Tullahoma High School as part of the freshman football, varsity basketball, and track coaching staffs.
Prior to his stint with Tullahoma High School, he was West Middle School’s head basketball coach for three years.
Braston says that he was happy in Tullahoma, but suggests his hand was a little forced in the decision to make a move after his coaching roles were scheduled to be changed heading into the upcoming year.
“I decided I went to school for eight years to coach boys’ basketball, and just work with boys in general, so that’s what I wanted to do,” said Braston.
He immediately took to seeking opportunities, and for a period of time it seemed that a move to Georgia might have be in the works.
After sitting down and listening to the offer, Braston wasn’t completely sold, which is when he heard about an opportunity with Franklin County.
“I explored it, looked into it, then met with my kids and asked them what they wanted to do, because at the end of the day I wanted them to be happy,” Braston said of his opportunity with Franklin County.
Braston has two boys, a senior D’Andre, and freshman Malik. Both are athletes playing basketball, while Malik also excels on the football field.
Malik joins an already incredibly talented freshmen class of athletes, and carries over proven success being a key player for Tullahoma Middle School’s football and basketball teams last season.
“That’s the best part of it—that’s what was taken away in Tullahoma, and to have that back—it’s everything,” Braston said of being able to coach his two boys. “That’s why I went back to school.”
Braston mentioned that as a coach, a whole lot of home time is used up coaching, just another reason why he enjoys being able to coach his two sons.
He says that he enjoys working with kids in general though, and also said that once they have graduated he will still enjoy coaching.
First coaching duties for Braston will be taking the reigns to the Franklin County football team’s secondary and wide receivers.
Although he has only been at Franklin County going on three weeks now, he is excited to put his signature on this secondary unit.
“I like for them to be able to bump and run, play a little press coverage, play up on the ball, be aggressive, not just sit back and let people dink and doink us to death—I hate that,” said Braston of his style of secondary coaching.
As a defensive coach, Braston isn’t just satisfied with stops, but also expects turnovers.
Calling himself a turnover type of guy when it comes to defense, Braston plans to teach strip tackling to his defensive backs.
“If they catch one, that’s great, but we’re looking to strip it.”
Braston has been encouraged by what he has seen so far, noting that the athletes want to learn.
Franklin County football’s trajectory arrow has been pointing up as of late in the minds of several area analysts and fans.
Braston didn’t back off that hype, saying something that would be music to all Rebel fans’ ears.
“I definitely see the playoffs in the future,” Braston said of Franklin County’s young crop of talent right now.
Franklin County has missed the playoffs each of the last three years, and is hoping not to miss out a fourth year in 2014.
Speaking on the young talent level in Franklin County excites Braston, especially as a track coach.
“We might even have a shot at winning a district, region, maybe taking a few guys to the State (meet) in a few years,” said Braston on the track team’s possible future.
Braston hopes to make some already fast athletes even faster, but says football speed and track speed are different.
The main thing with taking kids from the football field to the track is teaching technique, and burst, according Braston.
He will get his chance to work with the kids come track and field season next spring, and is excited for it.
“Just the opportunity to run a program, being able to put my stamp on it,” Braston said of what he’s looking forward too come track season.
Braston truly enjoys coaching and being able to mold young men and women, comparing the growth on the field to the same growth in the classroom.
“Just watching kids learn—it’s kind of like the classroom, they both go hand-in-hand, seeing where they are, growing them, and watching them put it into play,” said Braston.
Franklin County, welcome your newest Rebel, Mario Braston.