McLean ready to get started

WELLSBURG – For the past 12 years, Mac McLean has been a Red Devil. As an assistant coach under his younger brother at St. Clairsville, McLean became ingrained in the community and was a staple in the school.

Now, he’s trading in the scarlet and gray for the green and gold.

On Monday, McLean was named the head coach of the Brooke High School football team. He is a 1994 alumnus of the school, but it doesn’t make it any easier leaving what he’s known for over a decade.

“It’s been pretty emotional,” McLean said. “I grew close to the community there for the past 12 years and that was hard to leave.

“But for me and my family, this was the right thing. It’s a great opportunity and where I need to be.”

McLean joined the St. Clairsville coaching staff in 2002. His younger brother, Brett, has served as head coach over that capacity. Also on the Red Devils staff was McLean’s former head coach at Brooke – Bud Billiard.

“I had great support form the staff at St. Clairsville with this new position,” McLean said. “I’m obviously biased toward that head coach there,” he added with a laugh.

“My brother was behind me 100 percent. I was fortunate enough to work alongside some other great coaches and we really grew together as a staff. When most of us started out we were in our early and mid-20s – other coaching staffs would look over and smirk at us because we were just a bunch of kids.”

St. Clairsville made the playoffs in each of the past four seasons. In 2012, it advanced to the Division IV state championship game, but fell to Clinton-Massie, 46-36.

Meanwhile, Brooke went 6-14 over the past two seasons under Sean Blumette. The Bruins last made the playoffs in 2010, under Tom Bruney, and advanced to the Class AAA state championship game before losing, 30-0, to Martinsburg.

The prior year, Brooke went 14-1 with its only loss coming to South Charleston, 28-7, in the state title game.

“The main thing I hope to bring to Brooke and this group of players is stability,” McLean said. “This group of seniors has been through a lot with some coaching turnover. The kids want to play football, but the trust factor may not be as high. I want them to buy in and we can win some football games.”

With regards to the coaching staff, McLean said, “I have no plans to make any major changes. Even if I wanted to, the guys I’d be after are already in camp and focused on the season with their teams. I’m not going to be a head-hunter, but after the season we will sit down and have an evaluation with each of the coaches. I won’t be looking to get rid of anybody, if anything I’d like to add to the staff.

“We’re going to spend the next few weeks getting our ducks in a row and then we’ll hit the ground running and let the footballs fly.”

On Tuesday, McLean met with some current members of the Brooke coaching staff and a handful of Bruins players. Today and Thursday, he hopes to have a full team meeting.

“We’re going to install a basic offense, similar to what we ran at St. C,” McLean said. “It’ll be very basic, but not boring. We’re going to stress fundamentals on both sides of the ball and install a couple of coverages on defense.”

McLean, 38, is a graduate of Bethany College. He spent two years as a defensive end on the Fairmont State football team. He currently resides in Bethlehem, W.Va. and is a substitute teacher and special needs aid at St. Clairsville High School.

“I was a jack-of-all trades over there,” he said.

McLean has recently been applying for teaching jobs in the Brooke school district.