When Scott Pethtel joined the Brookstone football staff in 2013, he had no intentions of rising to the level of head coach.
Former coach Brad Dehem was just one season into his tenure, and Pethtel was focused on helping to improve the program in an assistant coaching capacity.
But situations change. And so do plans.
Brookstone named Pethtel the ninth head coach in the program’s history late Wednesday afternoon, elevating him from the assistant coach/head strength coach position he previously held.
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He has spent 39 years as a football coach, spending time at the middle school, varsity and college levels throughout his career. Before joining Brookstone, he served as the head coach at North Park University, a Division-III program in Chicago, Ill. He also coached at the Division-I level at Ball State, Cincinnati and Buffalo.
“I didn’t come here thinking I would be the head coach,” Pethtel said on Thursday. “I thought Brad would be here awhile and was happy to serve as an assistant. Now, it kind of seems like it’s God’s plan.”
When Dehem announced his resignation in favor of the athletic director’s job at Mt. Vernon Presbyterian for family reasons in February, Pethtel wasted no time in making his intentions clear. He marched to the front office and said he’d like to be considered for the position.
The process took just under two months, slowed momentarily by spring break, before they made the decision and informed Pethtel of the move on Wednesday.
The school is also in the process of naming a new athletic director to fill the other position vacated by Dehem. In a memo distributed to staff and alumni, the school announced that the new athletic director had participated in the search for the new coach, but declined to name that position “until it is appropriate regarding his current institution.”
Pethtel said he was excited about the job ahead of him with the Cougars, a team that showed signs of great ability last year but also struggled down the stretch in the midst of injuries and inconsistent play.
“I know the players well having been here two years,” he said. “I can put them where I need to put them. We’re still deciding on a few things, but we have talent at running back and some other positions. We have guys who can make a difference.”
The Cougars have lost 11 games over the past two season, the most in a two-year span since 2003-04. Pethtel said the key to returning to prominence in Class A football will be playing well in the region and staying healthy throughout the length of the season.
“I think we were hobbled at the wrong time last year,” he said. “Hopefully, we can stay healthy and win some of those games.”
Brookstone plays in the always difficult Region 4-A, which features teams like 2014 Class A-public champion Hawkinsville, 2013 Class A-public champion Marion County, 2012 Class A runner-up Dooly County and the ever improving crosstown rival Pacelli.