The last time Brian Washing-ton was walking the sidelines as the Greyhounds head football coach, he was leading Paris to a 7-4 record and a first round exit in the state playoffs. Little did he know that his last team of 2006 would be the last Greyhound team to have a winning record. Since his departure, the Hounds’ record over the past five years is 6-46 and that included a 22-game losing streak that was snapped this past season. When JJ Everage announced that he was stepping down from the position he has held the past four seasons, the Paris Schools Administration went to work quickly in finding a new coach. A lot of applicants applied but the School System, with the help of players, former coaches and alumni voices, knew exactly what type of coach they were looking for to lead their program into the future. As they looked, they didn’t have to go too far to find him. Last week, Paris High School Principal Jami Dailey made it official by announcing that former Greyhound Coach Brian Washing-ton will be the team’s next football coach. Washington, despite having some success with the program during his first go around, decided to leave the head job to spend more time with his family. The Paris coach said that it was harder for him being the head coach during his first stint because of his son. To put it mildly, he wasn’t asked to leave or pressured to leave by outsiders, it was all about family. “My son was in elementary school and I wanted to go back to school and with the hours that it requires to run a football program, I felt that I was cheating my son at the time,” Washington said. “When you are a head coach you’re just not these players’ coach and what you do just doesn’t pertain to the football field. Coach player/relationships are a lifelong bond and at the time, I felt that I needed to be a dad to my son.” Now that his son is all grown up, Washington is now ready to turn the Hounds’ losing ways into winning ways. He too has done a lot of growing up over the past five years. And when asked what’s different about Coach Brian Washington in 2006 and Coach Brian Washington of today, he responded back with a laugh and said, “Well for one, I’m older”. He continued on by saying that his ideas on life and sports have changed so much since then. “It’s hard for me to recall those feelings, because so much has happened since then. I don’t really know how much I’ve changed. I think people who were around the program and me can tell you better than I can. I would like to think I haven’t changed much but I know that’s not true.” The coach did go on and say that he’s probably grown more as a coach now than he was during his first run as head coach. “When I stopped coaching the first time I got a chance to go and watch other programs play and just enjoy the game again. I also got a chance to go out to Texas and work some football camps and just be around a different environment.” There’s no secret when it comes to the Paris football program that winning hasn’t been an option. Coach Everage did all he could to turn things around but it just didn’t happen. But what Coach Everage did do was keep the program going. Now, Washington, a former Greyhound star himself, will be looking to move his team from the bottom of Class A to the elite of Class A. “I don’t think anyone likes to see the school that they graduated from, played for, and coached at struggle. The one thing about Paris that most people don’t understand anymore is that ‘Paris still has great kids’, and I’m not just talking about attitudes, I’m talking about talent … although it’s been hard to tell these last couple of years because of what their records have been. I just want to show everyone around the state that Paris is still Paris!” And to do that, these kids must buy into Washington’s new system. “The biggest challenge with coaching these young men will be changing their mind set. None of these kids have had a winning record since they’ve been in high school, so they don’t re-ally know how to win … yet. Most of it is confidence.” Coach Washington believes that these groups of play-ers have been held accountable for traditions that they have no clue about. “None of them lived in the 70’s, 80’s or 90’s, so you can’t give them ‘the way it used to be speech’. This is their time to start a new tradition of winning. There’s going to be changes because one of the best things for me about coaching Paris is that I’m “Paris” and I want to teach them what Paris Pride means. I know it sounds simple but it’s not.” Over the past few years, Coach Washington, along with Coach James Clark, who will be part of Washington’s high school staff, coached the Greyhounds Middle School program. Their teams participated in the Middle School State Tournament for two straight seasons and this past year’s eighth grade team was considered to be one of the best teams in the state. Two players were named to the All-State Team and one of the players was named to the Kentucky All-Star Traveling Team. And with the majority of those top notched eighth graders moving to the varsity team next year, Paris could very well be a serious contender for an outside chance of a district title. Although young, next season’s freshman class should blend in well with the upperclassmen and that will give Washington and his staff a very good nucleus to work with. One of those upperclassmen is Washington’s son, Malik, who was the team’s leading tackler this past fall as a sophomore. By coaching the middle school team Washington said that he and Coach Clark had the chance to work with kids on the level of seeing some of the flaws that a varsity coach doesn’t and to work with kids before they get to high school and give them a perspective of what a high school coach expects. Basically, they know what their kids can do and not do. “It’s been one the best experiences that I’ve had as a coach, to coach with family and someone who loves Paris as much as I do,” Washington said about Coach Clark, who led Paris to back-to-back undefeated state championships back in the early 80’s. And as far as rounding out his staff, the coach replied by saying, “I’ve always been blessed to have good coaches and I don’t see this year being any different.” The coach closed by saying that when he started coaching track at Paris a couple of years ago, an older gentleman was standing beside him during a meet and asked him who was the track coach at Paris. Washington looked at the gentleman and said, “I was.” After watching the Paris team win the relay race, the man told Washington in a very soft voice, “That’s the Paris I know. I love to see those athletes from Paris perform. Keep up the good work because that’s the Paris I know.” When this is all said and done and Washington looks back, that’s the one thing he would like to hear people say about the football program. “That’s the Paris I know.” Well, he’s going to get that chance for a second time to make that happen and to him and his kids, it starts now!
“We are very excited that Coach Brian Washington will be leading our Greyhound Football Program. During our hiring process, we surveyed players, coaches, and alumni to determine the characteristics we desired in our next coach. Those characteristics included strong ties to Paris tradition, coaching experience, commitment to off season conditioning, and dedication to our players. Mr. Washington is uniquely qualified for this position. The entire Paris family is committed to building a program that serves as a benchmark of success.” Jami Dailey, Paris High School Principal on the hiring of Brian Washington