After a season that ended in turmoil, Warren County head football coach Brian Bush decided it was time to move on.
Bush resigned from the position late last week after being the head coach of the program for the last three years.
“I hired him. I liked him. I still like him,” Warren County Athletic Director Ed Dike said in a phone interview Monday afternoon. “I wish he wasn’t going. But he’s going to pursue other endeavors outside of the school system.”
Dike said that Warren County also hired TJ Atlee as head baseball coach and Andrew Lowery as the new head boys soccer coach recently.
Dike said he wasn’t sure if Bush was looking at teaching and coaching somewhere else or not. Bush has plenty of family coaching at the school. Bush’s father, Randy, is the head girls basketball coach and his sister, Bridgette, is head competitive cheer coach.
Bush went 10-22 in three seasons at the helm at Warren County. The Wildcats went 2-8 this past season and qualified for the Region 3B playoffs, but gave up their playoff spot after having numerous players quit the team after Warren County’s last regular season game.
Dike said despite the trouble the team had at the end of the season he still believed in Bush and his ability as a head coach.
“I believe 100 percent in Brian Bush,” Dike said. “I wouldn’t have hired him in the first place if I didn’t. He had a great rapport with most of the kids. He did some things. He got us to the second round of the playoffs his first year. He’s done a great job. He’s kept kids involved. He’s kept them lifting weights and working out. I think a lot of him.”
Dike said that he has already listed the coaching vacancy on the Virginia High School League website and the Virginia Preps website and he’s already receiving interest in the job.
Dike said he has no timetable at this point for getting a new coach and one thing that will complicate the hiring is trying to make sure there is a teaching position available for whoever he would hire.
“I’d like to have somebody that’s in the building,” Dike said. “So we got to figure out what sort of teaching positions we have available, and that process is going on now where people are being asked ‘hey, are you planning on coming back?’”
Dike said he believes strongly that it is important to have head coaches that are at the school so that they see the kids during school as well as when they are playing sports. It is that belief that led him to hire Atlee as the baseball coach. Dike said that last year when John Tierney took the head baseball coach job that they had an agreement that if Dike found a good candidate within the school that he would take over the position.
“He was an assistant (coach) at Millbrook,” Dike said of Atlee. “He’s somebody that’s in our building and we plan on keeping most of last year’s staff because they did a great job. ...He’s very enthusiastic about baseball. He comes from a solid program — Millbrook’s a solid baseball program. The fact that he’s going to be here in the building to work with the kids in the building, it just seemed like a good fit.”
Tierney led the Wildcats to the Class 3 state tournament last year, where they lost to Tabb, 7-5, in the state quarterfinals, in his first year as head coach. Warren County went 16-7 last year and lost seven players to graduation.
Dike said that Tierney is staying on as an assistant coach with the Wildcats this season.
Lowery takes over a promising Warren County boys soccer program, which lost only two players to graduation last year.
Lowery was an assistant coach last year under head coach Thomas Hodge, who took a job in Fauquier County as assistant principal.
“He has been involved in Front Royal soccer and travel soccer — he knows the kids,” Dike said. “I expect us to just keep getting better. He’s got a good group of seniors. He’s got a great (junior varsity) boys team coming up. They only lost a game or two last year. They’ve been playing together since they came out of the womb. They’ve been playing together forever, and if you watch them play, you can tell that they’ve played together for a while. They talk, they know each other. It’s a good group of kids, good group of parents. Coach Lowery knows most of them or has coached most of them. It seemed like a natural fit to me.”
Dike said that the football head coach vacancy is now the only one the school has. He said that he’s looking for a football coach who can make the program, which won only three games in the last two seasons, a better one.
“I just want somebody to come in and be committed to getting this program better,” he said. “Somebody that’s willing to come in and put the time in. Somebody that’s willing to give it a little shot in the arm.”
Bush could not be reached for comment on this story.