FRONT ROYAL -- Josh Breeden has his dream job.
The 2016 Warren County graduate has been hired as Warren County's head football coach. Breeden spent the past two years as an assistant coach for the Wildcats, after spending four years as an assistant coach at Handley.
"I'm very excited -- what an opportunity," Breeden said. "As a Warren County graduate, this obviously means the world. A chance to come home and kind of give back and give these guys an opportunity, because they deserve it. Great group of kids, great community, great town. I just want to give them something to be proud of."
Breeden replaces Jerry Sarchet, who resigned after this past season.
First-year Warren County Athletic Director Bill Hall said he thinks Breeden will do a great job, and he's been happy with what he's seen from him this past season as an assistant.
"I was impressed with Josh from when I first got here," Hall said. "I thought that he has a growth mindset. I think he's wise beyond his years. The fact that he coached at Handley for four years while he was going to college, so that gives him four years of experience and then the last two here. So, I think he's always been seeking how can I grow and expand myself. So, I think that's allowed him to mature at a faster rate."
Hall said one of the things that impressed him was that after every game Breeden would reach out to Hall, who was a longtime head football coach at Sherando, and ask for feedback.
Breeden, who played for three years at Warren County under former coach Tony Tallent and two years under former coach Steve Crist, said he knew when he was done playing that he wanted to get into coaching.
"Giving back to the kids and giving them an opportunity to chase their dreams and reach their fullest potential-- that's what it's all about," Breeden said.
Breeden said that while he was a student at Shenandoah University, he had an opportunity to coach at Handley and he took it. He said it was a great experience, and after he graduated from Shenandoah, he was able to become an assistant at Warren County.
Breeden said he talked to the players, and he believes they are excited. Warren County advanced to the Region 3B finals this past season and has a strong nucleus coming back to build on.
"I had to get the point across that there's going to be change," Breeden said. "There's a lot of things that we did well on the field, and there's a lot of things that we need to improve on and it's the same off the field. There's some things that we're going to work on as a team. There's some things we're going to work on as a program and there's some things hopefully as a school. I think that comes with any job. Your hope should be to improve the environment you're in. So, anything I can do to make this place better, I'm going to do it."
Breeden said he hopes to get the community and the alumni more involved with the team.
Breeden said he's not sure if they will keep the single wing offensive formation the team used under Sarchet, but the main goal is to get the ball in the hands of the running backs. Freshman Blaise Skube and sophomore Gavin Dodson combined to run for 2,051 yards. Warren County junior P.J. Dellinger missed the entire season due to an injury, but he was the team's leading rusher in his sophomore year.
The Wildcats return a strong nucleus on defense, led by juniors Elijah Frame and Dagan Wayland. Breeden was the defensive coordinator and said he plans on sticking with the 3-4 defensive alignment they used with success this past season.
He said it will be tough replacing seniors such as D.J. Rizzo, Tyberius Carter and Nick Foltz, but he's excited to see the younger kids step up into leadership roles.
Hall said he had about 15 applicants for the job and there were six interviews given.
Breeden is a support coach and health and P.E. teacher at Brighter Futures and Diversified Minds. Breeden said his expectation for the program is for the players to reach their full potential.
"I just want to be the best that we can be," Breeden said. "The scoreboard doesn't always demonstrate success. What's showing on the scoreboard doesn't always tell the whole picture. I want these guys to number one, believe in themselves. Number two, to push themselves, to reach their fullest potential. I don't want them to settle for anything less than that."