OOLTEWAH, Tenn. (WRCB) -- Mac Bryan's career has taken him across the South.
From Boone (North Carolina) to Hattiesburg (Mississippi) and Pikeville (Kentucky), the 30-year coaching veteran has experienced Southern hospitality of all shapes and sizes.
And Chattanooga was always the best.
The former University of Tennessee at Chattanooga assistant returned to the Tennessee Valley Friday morning when he was officially introduced as the new head football coach at Ooltewah High School.
Bryan spent the past three years as the co-offensive coordinator at UT-Martin in the Football Championship Subdivision, but had no reservations about leaving the college level to replace his long-time friend, Shannon Williams, as the Owls' leader.
"Football, the X's and O's are the same wherever you go, whether it's high school or college. The question is what style of life you want to live," said Bryan, who boasts four previous high school coaching posts across a 30-year career. "Do you want to be on the road recruiting all the time? How much influence do you want to have on young people?
"I feel like we can have so much more of an impact on the high school level."
Bryan's college resume includes stops as head coach at Pikeville College and assistant at Southern Miss, Appalachian State and Newberry College in addition to UT-Martin and UTC.
The 53-year-old came highly-recommended from not just Williams, but also former Ooltewah head coach Benny Monroe.
"Benny told me flat-out, if you get a chance to hire him, you better get him," said Ooltewah athletic director Jim Jarvis.
Bryan said his goal is to spark more passion in and around the Owls' program, which has reached the postseason ten times in the last 13 years, and he earned a round of cheers from players in the crowd Friday when he promised his team would blitz every chance he got.
"I'm a Vince Lombardi disciple, which means we'll do certain things, do them good and execute," Bryan said. "We're going to play with intensity and passion as much as our personnel allows. We need to be aggressive on defense and always attack on offense.
"I think that's what the fans like and I know that's what the kids like."
Bryan served as offensive line coach at UTC in 2001 and 2002, then switched to defensive line and added the title of assistant head coach in 2003. He admitted the Mocs' had their share of struggles in his tenure, but it hardly soured him on the Scenic City.
His daughters currently live in the area, helping to lure him back.
"This is the best town we've ever lived in," Bryan said with a wide smile. "We've been all around the South over the past 30 years living in a lot of different places, and Chattanooga is our favorite place."
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