Warren County hires Hidden Valley’s Bush as new football coach

Former Hidden Valley High School assistant football coach Brian Bush will be the new head coach for the Warren County Wildcats.

“It means a lot. My dad [Randy Bush] is the head girls basketball coach at Hidden Valley and he’s had success there and I’ve learned a lot of life lessons through him,” Bush said. “I had a great mentor at Hidden Valley in Scott Weaver, the head football coach. He taught me a lot.”

Bush served as an offensive assistant coach for five years at Hidden Valley, a 4A program in Roanoke, his alma mater, and before that served as defensive coordinator at John S. Battle High School.

Bush graduated and played H-Back at Emory & Henry College before earning his master’s degree from Liberty University.

“I’m excited to finally move to this beautiful place,” said Bush, who is single. “I fell in love with this place the first time I drove across those two bridges, and I’m ready to hit the ground rolling.”

The decision to hire Bush, who recently turned 29, was made by Warren County High School athletic director and his six-person committee two months ago, but the School Board could not approve the hire until last Thursday’s meeting.

Dike said he and his interview committee (head volleyball coach Dorinda Robinson, assistant principal Ken Knesh, head wrestling coach Matt Wadas, head baseball coach Michael Minch and Butch Rutherford) came away impressed with Bush and his high energy level after interviewing him in February.

“His energy was fantastic and we need that as a pro- gram,” Dike said. “That was the first thing that came out of everybody’s mouth, ‘That guy’s got some energy’. I think our whole coaching staff needs that. I mean not just for football, the whole school just needs a change of culture. We need to learn to win.”

Warren County has missed the 3A playoffs the past two seasons, after a run of qualifying four consecutive years. The Wildcats went 9-22 in three years under former coach Steven Crist, who resigned late last year. “I’ve heard of all the success they used to have,” Bush said. “I know that Warren County has a lot of kids, a lot of great kids, a lot of hard-working kids, so as soon as I was able to apply and interview, I had to jump on it.”

Bush beat out more than 35 applicants and the six others that interviewed for the job. He will teach special education at the school.

Bush said he will be adaptable to the talent is has available at Warren County, not forcing a certain system on his team if the talent level at certain positions does not support it.

“We’ll see what kind of kids come out,” Bush said. “I’m excited to get out on the football field and see what we’ve got. But not until we get out and do some 7-on-7 drills this summer and meet with my coaches will we know what offensive and defensive schemes we will run.”

Bush hasn’t yet had time to fill his coaching staff, saying he would meet with several of last year’s assistants to gauge their interest and discuss off-season conditioning. Bush met with about 60 Warren County players in the auditorium on Monday afternoon to introduce himself.

Bush will finish up his tenure at Hidden Valley this month, then head back to Front Royal in early June with plans to energize the Wildcats.

“I’m a very energetic type guy and I told them it’s going to be crazy,” Bush said. “I’m that type of guy. I’m going to love them up, but sometimes it’s going to be tough love. I’m going to show them enthusiasm, no matter what. I’m a firm believer in if I show enthusiasm, they’ll show enthusiasm and everything will take care of itself.”

Bush said he’s going to use a ‘buy all-in’ mentality for the Wildcats program.

“We’re going to use the slogan ‘buy all-in’,” Bush said. “If they buy in, we’re going to have a lot of fun.”

Warren County junior R.J. Keeney, a two-way player for the Wildcats last season, said his new coach definitely made an impression on him at Monday’s meeting.

“He got my attention, that’s for sure,” Keeney said. “I think he’ll lead us into a great season as long as the players put in the work in the off-season. He’s certainly got
the coaching ability and sounds like he knows what he’s talking about. I think he seems like a great fit for us and I’m really ex- cited for this season.”

Bush said he is one not to back down from a challenge and that is the type of team he wants his Wildcats to become as well.

“We can learn from each other, you go through life learning,” Bush said. “I want to see a football culture develop. A life of a coach is a win-win situation. If you don’t win, you don’t get to keep your job. But when it comes to the kids, I think it’s important that they leave Warren County learning something. And when they grow old, just like us, they sit around, they’re like, you know what, those four years of my life at Warren County are the best years, and they should share stories and things like that."

“I’ve got to show them that I care about them. They they they’ll start caring about the game of football.”

Those qualities are what Dike said made Bush the man for the job.

“He’s all in with everything he does,” Dike said. “That’s what sold us. That’s what we wanted.”

Bush makes no predictions for next season for the Wildcats, but he knows what type of team he wants to see on the field each Friday night.

“I want to see them compete — not just in football, but in life,” Bush said. “There will be people better than us, but if we go out there and compete, all in all, everything will be good. I’m excited to get started and to rock and roll.”

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