Mike Woodward has hit the ground running at Brentwood High.
Woodward was the head football coach at Antioch High for the past seven seasons and led his teams to five playoff appearances and a 39-37 record. There he employed the same energetic style and enthusiastic persona he brings to Brentwood.
“It’s been great so far,” Woodward said earlier this week. “Everyone has bought in to what we’re doing. All the guys are working hard and trying their best and showing a great deal of spirit and closeness. They have made the transition very smooth for me.
“I have really been impressed with the leadership of the administration and the great parents at Brentwood, people who want to do anything they can to help you. I enjoyed my stay at Antioch, I had seven great years there. But this was a situation that I thought I simply could not pass up. I was really impressed with their tradition.”
Brentwood has made the playoffs 16 straight years.
“[BHS Athletic director] Ronnie Siegenthaler is someone I’ve known a long time, and he has been great,” Woodward said. I got to know Ronnie while I was coaching track at Ravenwood in 2005 and he was the coach at Brentwood. He wants success, not just for football, but for all the teams there. And he has been a big help in the transition.”
Woodward, 39, was the offensive coordinator at Ravenwood when that school won the 2005 state 5A football championship. He became head coach at Antioch the following year.
He said he had “about 75-80 players” out for spring practice at Brentwood.
Last year, in a very unusual situation, Bruins alternated quarterbacks, senior Austin Winfree and junior Aaron Maher, on every play.
It worked. Under coach Mark Pemberton, the Bruins won their first eight games, reached to the Class 6A quarterfinals and finished 11-2. Pemberton resigned in early April to take the job at Rhea County.
“With Austin graduating and Aaron coming back, it looks like Aaron at this point,” Woodward said. “He has a good command of the offense.”
Woodward hopes to continue Brentwood’s strong run. Despite its lengthy playoff success, the Bruins’ lone state football title came in 2002.
• Spears retires: Hillwood High head football coach James (Bubba) Spears announced his retirement earlier this week.
Spears, 56, has been a Metro football coach for the past 34 years, the last three at Hillwood where his Toppers went 10-20. In 2009, he guided East Nashville to a 5-5 record in its first year of varsity football, when the Eagles barely missed the playoffs. He was a quarterback and defensive back at Stratford High, playing for coach Jerry Pigue and graduating in 1975.
• Simms settles in: Marlin Simms is adapting to his new job as head basketball coach at Cane Ridge High after leaving McGavock after 10 seasons.
“I’ve been here for four weeks, and at this point, I’m trying to assess as to what our players can and can’t do,” the 39-year-old former Whites Creek High star, said earlier this week. “Romie Reed [the former Cane Ridge coach] has one of the finest minds for basketball that I know. I hope that I can continue on what he started.
“It was really hard leaving McGavock, but I felt like I needed a new challenge.”
• Clarksville coach passes away: Former Clarksville High basketball coach Ben Fendley, one of Middle Tennessee’s top basketball coaches, died last Sunday at age 84. He coached from 1958-1992, winning 667 games. He coached a number of all-state players, including current CHS coach Ted Young, a former player at Vanderbilt.