It’s impossible to see this as anything but a home run hire.
Tuesday night, at a regularly scheduled school board meeting, South Jones finalized its hire of Todd Breland as the Braves' new head football coach.
"This is a decision I can say that I've spent a lot of time praying about," said Breland. "I honestly wasn't looking for [another head coaching job] because I thought I had things the way I wanted it. But that was the problem - it wasn't the way God wanted it.
"It's an opportunity for me in many ways. Personally, it's an opportunity for me to be with my family. Professionally, it's something different with kids that I'm kind of already familiar with. In coaching, there comes a time when you need a fresh beginning and get your batteries charged up."
The decision for Breland was one with many pros and not so many cons, if any, as Breland explained.
“As I was praying about the job,” recalled Breland, “I couldn’t think of one reason why I shouldn’t take the job. I’m excited to get there and get to work.”
Breland spent the last eight years at Laurel under the same title, producing an overall record of 82-27. During his tenure at Laurel, Breland led the Tornadoes to five straight appearances in the Class 5A South State Championships.
During the five years (2013-2017) of consecutive South State appearances, Laurel, under Breland's command, went 57-15, including three straight region titles and two state championship appearances. In one such occurrence, 2014, Laurel won its third title in school history, defeating highly-favored Oxford, 29-26.
“It’s definitely been a whirlwind this last month,” said Breland. “The decision to step down from Laurel [as its head coach] and be the Athletic Director was a separate situation full of emotions. That had already taken place before the interest in the South Jones job came about.”
South Jones finished the 2019 season 4-8 overall and 3-4 in Region 3-5A, missing the postseason by one game. The Braves' last winning season was in 2017 when they finished 8-5 overall and 4-3 in 3-5A.
Breland said the plan is to bring a winning blueprint to Ellisville.
"We'll try to do some things that we've done in the past that made us successful [at Laurel]," said Breland. "But at the end of the day, it'll be about those kids at South Jones buying into the system. There are no books out there about Todd Breland football. Everything I've learned has been through trial and error. I have my system, and it's been pretty successful, but I know some things will have to be tweaked to fit South Jones and what fits their players. It's all about being the best we can be where our feet are planted."
Breland will start his job full time in Ellisville on Feb. 1.