By Brighton McConnell
Coach Jason Lippard is looking to change the way football is played here at Brevard High School, and is expecting to see some different results in the upcoming seasons.
Lippard is the new head coach of the BHS football team, and has worked for multiple other high schools in North Carolina in the past. He was an offensive coordinator at South Iredell High School before being hired by North Stokes High in 2011. He was hired in late January of this year, and has been on campus full time since February 25.
Back when he played for Statesville High School, Lippard knew about Brevard High from several playoff meetings.“Brevard and Statesville have a long history,” he said, “and I experienced several playoff meetings with Brevard, as a player and coach for Statesville.” Through these games, and later working with former Brevard graduate Scott Miller at South Iredell, Lippard said that he learned more about Brevard and the football program’s tradition-filled history. He said this and the atmosphere of the area helped influence his decision to come coach at Brevard High. “At Brevard High School itself, the administration here is phenomenal, which I got to know from the [hiring] process,” Lippard described. “Brevard the town is a very unique place. It’s got the mountain setting, and offers the small town feel, with the big-time atmosphere, but you still have all the convenience of a college town. So all of that equated to a very appealing situation to my family and me.”
When it comes to his changes to Brevard’s playing styles, Lippard is mainly focusing on the offensive side of the game. “We’re going to change our offensive philosophy and become a spread team,” he explained. “I believe it’s a more exciting approach, and it appeals more to today’s players.” Brevard had used the spread method in the past with head coach Mark Barnes, and saw some success using it. Lippard described this style of play as a much more up-tempo offense, and said, “We have a lot of ‘air raid’ principles that are in our offense, and what that means is that we throw the ball a lot. But it’s different, because we’re not throwing the ball down the field for the whole game. We’re throwing the ball short as many times as possible.”
A spread offense involves using many short passing plays to replace the typical running plays. This way, players will still be able to score while on the ground, but will have more breathing room due to the passes. “It’s essentially like we’re playing basketball on grass,” Lippard expanded, “because we throw the ball around so much.”
He also said that he believes that this new take on offense will appeal to more students, and help bring around more participation in football this upcoming season. “Kids enjoy throwing and catching a football. In today’s society, you’ve got to do something that kids feel like is fun to maximize participation, and that’s definitely something that has to happen here at Brevard High School.”
Lippard then stressed how important it will be to focus on gaining a new mindset for the team. “Unfortunately, losing is contagious. Where we are right now, we’ve got to break that losing mentality. It’s going to take a lot of work. But I think there are a lot of repairable pieces to the puzzle here, and that’s something we’re ready to work on.”
Besides coaching football, Lippard explained how he wants to help kids outside of just sports. “I’m a people person,” he said. “I want to win football games more than almost anything in the world, but I want to be able to make a difference. I want to have an influence on kids’ lives, and I want them to know that I care about them beyond football. It’s not about what they ‘have to offer’ with me being a football coach, it’s about helping kids be successful.”
Lippard described how he doesn’t want kids to just focus on the winning side of things in sports. He commented, “Winning and losing will take care of itself. We’re not going to ignore that, because we want to win. However, it’s a little bigger than that. We want to produce good people.”
Overall, Lippard is very passionate and looking forward to this next step, for the football program, and the students here at Brevard High. “I’m excited to be here, my family’s excited to be here, we’re ready for the challenge,” he said. “We know there’s a lot of work to be done, but we feel like we’re gonna be headed in the right direction.” He finished the interview by expressing his expectations for the football program, saying, “Buckle your seatbelts, and get ready, because we’re coming [next year]. It’s a great day to be a Blue Devil.”