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Brent Bridges Named New Landrum Coach

Tuesday, February 7th was a special day for the Landrum High School community. Not only did their boys’ basketball team complete the season sweep of Greer Middle College to lock up their third consecutive region championship, which was already enough to generate a buzz among the Cardinal faithful, but it was also the beginning of a new era for the football program. 


The Spartanburg County School District 1 Board and Landrum High Principal Kegan Flynn named Brent Bridges as their next Head Coach – an announcement that was met with much enthusiasm by those in attendance at the Landrum High School Rotunda. 


Bridges comes to Landrum with a good coaching resume under his belt. He started his coaching career in 2003, as defensive backs coach at Chesnee. Midway through that season, after a tough start, he took over the offense and was a big part of a turnaround that saw they go 4-1 in region, a 2nd place finish, and a run to the 2nd round of the playoffs, which earned him the title of Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks coach the following year. He continued his quick rise, being named Head Coach in 2007 at just 27 years of age – a role he held for 6 seasons before stepping away to return to his alma mater – Broome High, in 2011.  


In his tenure at Chesnee, Bridges experienced much success, compiling a 40-29 record and 5 trips to the playoffs, making it to the 2nd round three times and the third round once. Since he has been at Broome the last 12 years, he has learned a great deal, having led the youth sports program in district 3, been a defensive coordinator under Jet Turner, and an offensive coordinator under Lynn Fleming. In spite of his experience and successes on the field, Bridges is not just about the X’s and O’s or wins and losses. 


Bridges grew up in Cowpens, and his parents played a crucial role in every aspect of his upbringing. His father, former Spartanburg High School athletic groundskeeper Donny Bridges, was a youth sports coach in District 3 for 55 years, and was the biggest influence on Coach Bridges’ life. 


“My dad meant so much to my life. He got me involved in sports and was there for me every step of the way. He set a great example for me. I saw him help others my whole life. My sons never had to go to daycare because he kept them until they started school. He never missed anything they were involved in. He was a great man.” 


His father’s influence as well as basically growing up in the Broome locker room while his older brother played, led Brent to get involved as a 4 sport athlete, starting out at the age of 6 playing football, baseball, basketball, and golf up until he was in the 9th grade, when he decided to drop baseball. He saw his most high school success on the gridiron, becoming the Quarterback for the Centurions, setting all the passing records and being named to the North-South team prior to his graduation in 1997. But, he got more than just an education, scholarship, and a bunch of records from his high school experience. 


His father’s influence as a little league coach paired with his close relationship with his high school Head Coach Chris Miller, led to him deciding as a high schooler that he wanted to get involved in coaching as an adult.


Following his time at Broome, he went on to Newberry College, where he received a partial scholarship as a QB, and ended up earning a golf scholarship after a year as a walk-on to make for a full ride the rest of his college career, graduating in December 2002. 

Off the field, Brent is a big time family man as well as an avid outdoorsman that enjoys turkey, deer, duck, and dove hunting. “It is a nice way to get away from everything and gather my thoughts”, said Bridges. 


He and his wife, Jasmin met during his head coaching stint at Chesnee and have been married since 2007. She is an early childhood teacher. They have 2 sons, Blake and Brett, who, like their dad, are also involved in sports, especially football. Blake is a freshman at Broome and plays football, having started at center on varsity this past season. Brett is a 7th grader and plays football as well, starting at Cliffdale Middle School. 


Asked to recall a special family-related memory (which unironically tied into his best coaching memories), Bridges recalled when both of his sons were born. 


“The week of my first playoff game as a Head Coach, I missed my first practice ever. I will never forget half of the team showing up at the hospital after practice to see me, my wife, and the newborn. That was special!” 


What exactly makes that memory so special aside from the fact his son was born, you may ask? Bridges is big into developing more than just surface-level on-field and classroom relationships with his players. 


“Most of the memories I have with my former players I am close with didn’t happen on the field. We spend a lot of time together off of the field. I have coached some really great players and the opportunity to work with some really good coaches. So, there are so many memories that it is hard to narrow down. I was very close with former {Chesnee} QB Cedric Proctor, former {Broome, App State} Linebacker D’Marco Jackson, former QB Dylan Ramirez {Broome, North Greenville University}, and so many more.”


Aside from relationship building, another thing that is important to him that he intends to implement during his time at Landrum is character building and leadership development. He is also a coach that strongly encourages his guys not to specialize/focus on just 1 sport. 


“Wins are great but the biggest win is knowing myself and my staff have helped to produce good men, good husbands and good fathers. I plan to implement a character program/curriculum.  It’s called a ‘football journey’ and there are 4 different volumes, so each year of a player’s career, he will do a different volume. It is something Coach Fleming let me start this past season at Broome. I also plan to implement some type of leadership program. Having high character and playing multiple sports are the 2 things I stress most.  Number 1 is having high character, modeling that to the kids, and making sure they understand that it is more important than anything else.  Number 2 is  playing multiple sports. One thing we all know is when high school is over, it is over!  You cannot go back and do it again. Most high school athletes do not get the opportunity to play in college. They need to play everything they can and enjoy it while they can. I don’t want them to look back and have regrets.” 


Asked what he might change as far as on-the-field things in his first season at Landrum, Bridges said that things will look a little different, but not a huge changeup from what we have seen out of Landrum the last few years. 


“I’m gonna go full-in on what we do. I had the same transition when Coach Turner left Broome and I took the offense over there. He ran the option/Wing T-style offense and we just went full blown into what we do. That’s what we’re gonna do here. We’re gonna be wide open, we’re gonna be fast paced, and we’re gonna get after it, and we’re gonna try to put points on the board. On the field, things will look a lot different, but honestly, a lot of the concepts will be the same. We’re going to run the ball. We’re going to get downhill and we’ll mix in the pass here and there, and we’re going to do whatever fits our kids the best with the offense I run.” 


You are probably wondering what it was about Landrum that drew Coach Bridges away from the good gig he had going as the OC at his alma mater. As it turns out, although Broome is home to him, he likes how the future is setting up at Landrum and truly wants to be there. 


“One of the things that drew me to Landrum was the small town, the community, knowing the people I was gonna be here working for, knowing what it meant to them, and knowing the foundation that Coach Farmer laid here. I think he did a great job. I have been over our youth program at Broome for 11 years now, and I know what’s here and I know what’s coming. And it excites me. I’ve had opportunities and I’ve turned down other head jobs ‘cause it just didn’t feel right and because Broome was home for me. I was very comfortable there. I knew everybody and like I said, I was involved with the youth program. My kids were there and I was really, really being honest with you when I said I feel like Landrum is a great fit for me and I’m a great fit for Landrum through this whole process. There’s something there that just felt right about it.” 


“I’m very excited and I feel like I can look back and, and learn from the mistakes I made as a younger coach. I have worked for some really good guys in Jet Turner and Lynn Fleming, and I’ve learned a lot over the course of the last 11 years. I was the Defensive coordinator for Jet. I learned a lot there. Then, a Special Teams coordinator for Jet. Then Lynn came back and I became the offensive coordinator – back to the side of the ball I am used to. But it helped me because now I understood why the defense was doing certain things. I understood more about the game and I just feel like I’m a more well-rounded coach now than I was 11 years ago”, Bridges added. 


All signs point to a very bright future for Landrum in which they still value character and still play a brand of football that fits them – and if the enthusiasm of the community members and even the players that showed up for the introduction are any indication, it seems like Bridges is already endeared by the folks up in the northernmost corner of the county and set up for success. 


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