It’s official and it’s unanimous: Wrestling head coach Mark Bruner is the new interim athletic director and Randy Minniear is head football coach.

Bruner has been an educator and coach for Brown County Schools for about 15 years. He and his wife, Kelli, principal of Sprunica Elementary School, are here because it’s where they want to be.

“We could find something new, but we’ve never even looked,” he said.

Bruner said now that their two daughters are getting close to graduating, it seemed like good timing to transition from physical education teacher.

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There is going to be a lot to learn as interim athletics director, Bruner said, and he regrets he won’t be dealing as directly with the students as he did as a teacher. However, he is excited for the challenges, he said, and he can’t stop smiling when talking about the coaches and office staff he is working with.

“It’s just a great opportunity to come into a situation where we have a coaching staff that is so united and together, that it’s going to make it easy for me,” he said. “Everybody’s just willing to help out.”

Though he just started his 260-day term as interim director, Bruner thinks he’ll want to make it permanent.

For the immediate future, Bruner will continue as wrestling head coach. He does not know who would replace him if the day comes when he steps down as head coach.

“We’re going to look for a teacher, a good teacher that can coach,” he said. “That’s going to be my first priority, because a lot of times, if they’re a good teacher, it’s going to carry over into the practices and the competitions.”

For Minniear, choosing to apply for head football coach was a matter of timing.

He has been an assistant coach under Ken Wendling and Ethan Schreiber. Schreiber’s resignation was made official Dec. 3.

“I greatly admire him as a coach, as a good friend — he’s a wonderful guy, but he wanted to spend more time with his family,” Minniear said.

Minniear said he wanted to step up in part to help maintain some consistency for the student athletes. Transitions between coaches can be tough, and he wants to make certain the students are taken care of.

“I love these kids. I love coaching ‘em, I love being around them.”

While there will be some changes, Minniear wants to keep from disrupting progress.

Minniear was flanked by his fellow coaches Jay Myers and Colton Sample at the Jan. 7 school board meeting. While he speaks highly of all the coaches on his staff, he brings particular attention to those two.

“They are fine coaches,” he said. “I think, as they grow, as they get a little more experienced, I think both of them are destined for head coaching jobs.”

Minniear wants to continue to build on what Schreiber had done, particularly by developing a feeder system through the Bantam League and junior high school football programs.

Minniear said he also wants to create interactions between younger and older players to give the young players role models.

Minniear wants to continue helping the high school players build themselves up.

“We need to get stronger, we need to get bigger, we need to get faster,” he said. “We play a lot of teams that are bigger than we are, but if we can be faster, if we can be more aggressive, if we can be stronger than we are now, we’re going to do fine, I think. …

“We’re starting to build a family, a football family, and we want to make it where we’re all in this together,” he said. “I’m very, very excited about what we can accomplish — about what we can teach.

“I hate to say, ‘We’ll win,’ but I’ll tell you what, these young people will learn, and they are excited about the game of football,” he said. “If we can do our jobs as coaches to teach them the game, to have some fun, then I think the winning will come.”

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Ben Kibbey is a Brown County transplant from the cornfields of central Ohio. He covers county government, business, outdoors, sports and general news.