SAN ANTONIO - David Branscom, defensive coordinator at Brandeis the past two seasons, has been promoted to head football coach at the Northside ISD school.
Branscom succeeds Jeff Fleener, who resigned last month to become head coach at Mesquite High School in the Dallas area.
“I’m ready for the challenge,” Branscom said Friday morning. “I’ve been preparing for this opportunity throughout my coaching life.”
Earlier this week, Johnson defensive coordinator Blaine Pederson was named head coach at Madison, his alma mater. He replaces John Campbell, who resigned last month after one season with the Mavs. A 1989 Madison graduate, Pederson also will be Madison’s boys athletic coordinator.
Pederson, 46, was an assistant coach under Jim Streety at Madison for 13 seasons before joining Ron Rittimann’s staff at Johnson in 2008. He was co-defensive coordinator in his last three seasons with the Mavericks and was also Madison’s wrestling coach from 1999 until he left for Johnson after the 2008 season.
Pederson is the Mavs’ third head coach since Streety resigned in February 2014. Streety headed the Madison program for 23 seasons.
The Mavs finished 4-7 last season after losing to Austin Lake Travis 56-7 in the first round of the Class 6A Division I playoffs.
“I want to create stability for the program,” Pederson said Friday afternoon. “I think that’s important for these kids. I need to earn their trust every single day and let them know I’m going to be here and I’m going to have a staff that’s going to be here. That’s a big focus of mine because those kids have been through a lot.”
Branscom was an assistant coach at Mary Hardin-Baylor University for 11 seasons before taking his first high school job at Brandeis in 2015 when Fleener became the Broncos’ head coach. Brandeis went 14-9 in its two seasons under Fleener and made the playoffs both years. The Broncos finished 7-5 in 2015 and 7-4 last season.
The head-coaching job is the first for Branscom, a 39-year-old Jacksboro native and Mary Hardin-Baylor graduate. He started his career with a three-year stint (2001-03) as a graduate assistant with the Cru.
Brandeis opened in 2008 and went 69-19 in its first seven seasons, all with John Campbell at the helm. The Broncos reached the state quarterfinals three times and won five district titles during that span.
Mary Hardin-Baylor, a Division III power, lost only five games in Branscom’s last five seasons on Pete Fredenburg’s staff. The Cru won the national title last year and have advanced to the Division III playoffs 15 times in 19 seasons under Fredenburg, the only head football coach in the school’s history.
Branscom played tight end for the Cru in 1999 and 2000 after transferring from Cisco College. He earned his degree in the spring of 2001 and was a graduate assistant at Mary Hardin-Baylor for three seasons before becoming the Cru’s linebacker coach in 2004. Branscom took San Antonio native Corky Nelson’s slot on the staff when he retired.
Nelson, one of the most well-known college football coaches in Texas during his career, died in November 2004. A Jefferson graduate, Nelson coached at Alamo Heights and Harlandale before leading Tyler John Tyler to the Class 4A state championship in 1973, when Earl Campbell was the Lions’ running back.
Nelson went to become defensive coordinator at Baylor under Grant Teaff, and was also head coach at North Texas.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to be around great coaches to learn from,” Branscom said. “Corky Nelson was probably the biggest mentor in my life. I learned so much from him. I used to spend time with him in the summers after he retired and we just talked.
“One of the things he always told me regardless of all the questions I asked him was to be demanding of players on the field, but love them and show them you care about them, too. He said it was important to push both sides of that. Of course, I learned a lot from Pete as well. That’s a lot of knowledge there. I learned about accountability and being demanding of myself.”
Branscom also will be Brandeis’ boys athletic coordinator.
Madison has fallen on hard times since Streety resigned, going 8-23 the past three seasons. The Mavs were 4-16 under Mark Smith, who stepped down after a 0-10 finish in 2015. Madison had never recorded back-to-back losing seasons since playing its first two starting in 1978.
“Madison is just like any other school,” said Pederson, who started his new job Tuesday. “You’re going to have up years and down years as far as talent goes. That’s just been the case. From what I’ve seen the last four days, there’s definitely some really good talent. I know there’s a lot of good talent at those middle schools. As far that goes, it’s good.
“The wins and losses are going to take care of themselves. What we’re going to do is work hard every day and try to meet those high expectations of our community. The bottom line is, whether a kid is a good athlete or not, we’re here for every kid. I’m into developing leaders for this community. We’re going to work really hard to make these kids great kids."
Pederson was also Johnson’s assistant head football coach last season. Pederson played linebacker for the Mavs and went on to a four-year career at the same position at Angelo State. He graduated from ASU in 1994 and started his career at the now-closed West Campus at South San ISD that fall. He joined Streety’s staff the next year.
“I grew up in these neighborhoods and I am invested in Madison,” Pederson said. “I care about all the kids wherever I’ve worked, but there’s something special about going back to your alma mater and working with those kids.
“It’s very exciting for me. It’s a dream come true for me. I’ve wanted to be a head coach for a long time. But to get that opportunity here, it’s an awesome feeling. It’s emotional. To be able to run on the field that first time before a game is going to be a pretty cool experience.”
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