Monday, February 16, 2015

Mike Brill Named as New Harrells Christian Academy Head Football Coach

Head Coach Mike Brill pictured with his family.
HARRELLS, N.C.- Mike Brill addressed the Harrells Christian Academy upper school student body on Monday morning, February 16. Brill expressed his excitement for the opportunity to be back on the sidelines. Brill who has been in coaching for 32 years, expressed that he would have never imagined that he would ever be at HCA but that he cannot wait to carry on the tradition of excellence not only on the gridiron but in the classroom and in the community. The team will not experience much change however under the new head coach. Brill implements the same "Wing T" offensive set that has been at Harrells since the reign of Jack Holley. Brill stated, "We are going to do the same thing Jack did. I already gave Winfred some homework. I gave him a book with nearly 100 plays and said you tell me what you call them in your system and we will go from there." Winfred Johnson, who took over as interim head coach last year, will be calling the shots against this year offensively while Brill will work to lead his troops on the defensive side of the ball. When asked about the opportunity to bring back a state title to "The Store" once again Brill stated, "1971, 1972, 1973, 1977, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993, 2003, 2005, 2008- Why not 2015. I'm excited for the opportunity to help these boys get a ring, but it is going to take hard work."

Brill is no stranger to the gridiron or Harrells Christian Academy as he started his football career as the quarterback at Wayne Country Day School. Brill's team faced off against the Crusaders in the conference championship where Brill says, "I lost the game." Brill threw a pass to the back of the end zone that was intercepted by a Crusader defender to seal the Crusader victory. He stated, "All I can remember is #14, he intercepted the ball and we lost which took away our chance to make it to the state playoffs." Brill went on to play baseball at Methodist University. Brill had the option to come back and play one more year of high school ball but opted to go ahead to the collegiate level. The Crusaders went on to win a state championship the next year while he was at Methodist.

After a career ending injury at Methodist, Brill transferred to East Carolina University, where he went on to earn his degree in Physical Education which presented him the opportunity to pursue a coaching career. Brill started his coaching career close to home at Warsaw Jr. High School where he served as the head football, basketball and baseball coach for three years. Brill sported a 16-2 record that resulted in three Duplin County Conference Championships as the head coach.

After his success at the Jr. High level Brill moved down the road to Wallace- Rose Hill high school where he worked under the late Jack Holley. Brill served as the Junior Varsity Head Football coach along with the title of Co-offensive coordinator at the varsity level.

After being mentored by Holley, Brill made his first appearance as a head coach at the Varsity level. Brill was hired at South Robeson High School where he produced an 89-35 record (72%) over a ten year period. During his tenure as a Mustang, Brill coached and developed the notable, Vonta Leach. Leach played under coach Brill all four years and went on to play college football at East Carolina University. After his career as a Pirate, Leach went on to the NFL where he played for the Houston Texans along with the Baltimore Ravens.

After winning seven Three- Rivers Conference Championships and leading his team to three Regional Finals in the state playoffs, Brill took over as head football coach of Lumberton High School. Brill turned around the program who recorded a losing record in 18 of 20 years to a 43-30 record over six years. Brill led his team to the playoffs in all six years as head coach and claimed the title as conference title runners up in four seasons.

After his turn around efforts at Lumberton Brill was hired as Athletic Director at Flora McDonald where he currently presides. Brill will take over as the head football coach for the Crusaders on March 2nd. Brill will look to lead the tradition-rich Crusaders to their 14th State Championship in the 2015 season.

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