Coach settling in Carbondale for one more rebuild

By Thomas Donley, @tdonleyDE

Carbondale Community High School has had a different football coach every year for the last four years.

Bryan Lee was hired as the Terriers head coach in May; He intends to reverse the fortunes of a program that has not finished a season with a winning record since 2007.

Lee said turning Carbondale football around will be his third and final rebuilding project as a coach.

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“I’m 42 now, and I have one more rebuild left in me,” Lee said. “Carbondale, academically, is probably the jewel of southern Illinois. It offers a lot of things for myself and my kids, so I figured, if I’m going to do it one more time, there’s no better place to do it than Carbondale.” 

Lee spent the last seven years at Chester High School where he led the Yellow Jackets to six postseasons. Before his stint at Chester, Lee brought winning ways to two upstart programs in North Carolina.

He took over at North Moore High School in Robbins, N.C., which Lee said was regarded as one of the worst schools in the state at the time and secured a playoff spot within three years. 

At Southern Lee High School in Sanford, N.C., Lee helped set a state record for most victories in a program’s first season. 

Carbondale senior wide receiver Tyler McCormick said Lee has brought discipline that has been absent from the Terrier locker room.

“He’s definitely more focused on discipline,” McCormick said. “Every day, we come out of the locker room for practice, we take a knee — left knee down, right knee up. We learn more than just football. We learn how you have to act.”

Seniors on this year’s team have had a different head coach every year of their high school careers. Senior running back and safety Sam Brunaugh said the constant turnover has made it difficult for players to settle into a system. 

“It’s a lot of learning,” he said. “I’ve had to get a new playbook each year. It’s not like I’m building year upon year; We’re starting over each year. It’s a little harder, but it’s doable.” 

Former coach Dan Koester resigned because of personal reasons following the 2012 season, his fifth at CCHS, setting off a coaching carousel.

Co-offensive coordinator and former SIU quarterback Nick Hill took over for Koester, but left after a 5-5 season and a playoff appearance to become the quarterbacks coach SIU. 

Mark Albertini replaced Hill, leading the Terriers to a 1-8 record before stepping down to become athletic director of the school district.

Thomas Donley can be reached at [email protected] or at 536-3311 ext. 269.

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