Warren County hires Bush as new football coach
FRONT ROYAL – Warren County High School athletic director Ed Dike said 35 applications were received for the school’s vacant head varsity football coach position, and seven people interviewed for the role. After Brian Bush took his turn during the process back in February, Dike knew he was “the man.”
Due to what Dike called a lot of “shifting around” in regard to available teaching positions as the Warren County Public Schools system prepares to open a new middle school next school year, the hiring process dragged on until May. But Bush and his new school finally made things official when the School Board approved his hiring as the Wildcats’ varsity football coach during last week’s board meeting.
Bush, who turned 29 years old on Tuesday, joins Warren County after serving five seasons as an offensive assistant at Hidden Valley High School in Roanoke.
“It means a lot,” Bush, a Hidden Valley alum, said of his hiring on Monday. “My dad (Randy Bush) is a head girls basketball coach at Hidden Valley. He’s had success there. And, you know, I’ve learned a lot of life lessons through him. I had a great mentor at Hidden Valley in Scott Weaver, the head (football) coach. He’s taught me a lot.
“I’m excited to finally move to this beautiful place. I fell in love with this place the first time I drove across those two bridges. And I’m ready to hit the ground rolling.”
Bush played football at Emory & Henry College as an H-back, tight end and fullback and graduated in 2011 before pursuing a master’s degree from Liberty University. He added that he served as the defensive coordinator at John S. Battle High School in Bristol for two seasons before returning to Hidden Valley, a member of the Virginia High School League’s Group 4A classification, as an assistant coach in 2012.
Bush inherits a Warren County program that went 9-22 over three seasons under former head coach Steven Crist. The Wildcats missed the 3A playoffs each of the last two seasons after previously reaching the postseason for four straight years.
“I’ve heard of the success that they used to have,” said Bush, who will teach special education at Warren County. “I knew that Warren County had a lot of kids, a lot of great kids, a lot of hard-working kids, so as soon as I was able to apply and interview and things like that, I had to jump on it.”
Bush got the opportunity to meet with members of the Wildcats’ football program on Monday afternoon and said he left the meeting feeling good about the energy level shared between the players and their new coach.
“I’m a very energetic type guy. I told them that it’s gonna be crazy,” Bush said of the meeting. “I’m that type of guy that’s gonna love them up. Sometimes it’s gonna be tough love, things like that. But I’m gonna show them enthusiasm, no matter what. I’m a firm believer in if I show enthusiasm, they’ll show enthusiasm and everything will take care of itself. … We’re gonna use that slogan this year, ‘buy all-in.’ If they go all in on the enthusiasm and the energy and all that, we’re gonna have some fun.”
Dike said it was Bush’s energetic personality that left a big impression on a six-person interview panel that included himself, assistant principal Ken Knesh, head volleyball coach Dorinda Robinson, head wrestling coach Matt Wadas, head baseball coach Mike Minch and Butch Rutherford.
“When (Bush) got done (with the interview) and he left, that was the first thing that came out of everybody’s mouth – ‘That guy’s got some energy, man,'” Dike said.
“Energy, energy, energy. And I think our whole coaching staff needs that,” Dike added. “I mean not just for football, the whole school just needs a change of culture. We need to learn to win.”
Dike added that the panel was impressed with Bush’s willingness to offer his coaching services to other sports at Hidden Valley. Dike said Bush started recently helping out with the Roanoke school’s junior varsity softball team when the need arose and that Bush has helped his father coach Hidden Valley’s girls basketball team as well.
“What he talked about with the kids is being all in. Well he’s all in with everything he does,” Dike said. “And that’s what sold us. That’s what we wanted.”
Bush said he couldn’t offer insight into who will join his coaching staff because he had yet to meet with Warren County’s past coaches to determine who planned on returning next season. But Bush did add that he planned to meet with a few of the team’s previous assistants later on Monday to discuss offseason workout plans for the rest of the spring and summer.
Bush also said he won’t know what offensive and defensive schemes the Wildcats will run until he’s able to evaluate players during 7-on-7 drills this summer.
When asked about his expectations for next season, Bush said he wants to see the “football culture develop.”
“When it comes to the kids, I think it’s important that they leave Warren County learning something,” Bush said. “And when they grow old, just like us, they sit around, they’re like you know what, those four years of my life at Warren County are the best years, and they should share stories and things like that. I’ve gotta show them that I care about them. Once they know that I care about them then they’ll start caring about the game of football.”
Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or firstname.lastname@example.org