Three years ago, it took an assistant principal to persuade Matt Brickell into returning to the Coronado wrestling program, mere months after the longtime coach had announced his retirement.
But when the girls' soccer coaching position recently became vacant at the west-side school, it was Brickell doing all the talking and convincing that he was the right man for the job.
"Matt Brickell is very passionate about Coronado; everything he does bleeds red and gold," said Cougars athletic director Andy Colgate, who hired Brickell late last month to replace Jenn Ury, who tendered her resignation after 10 years leading the program but will remain at the school as a teacher. "Everything he does is about Coronado, and we hope this will be a good move for him as well as the girls."
Brickell first made his Coronado coaching debut as boys' soccer coach in 1984. Five years later, he took the reins of the wrestling program and juggled both until stepping away from soccer in 2010.
He retired from a 30-year classroom career in 2011, but not before leading the Cougars to the 5A state wrestling championship earlier that year.
Looking ahead, Brickell envisions soccer, not wrestling, as his primary passion.
"Now that I've gotten older, I enjoy time with my family, and this way I get to do a little bit of both with my daughter (Leah) playing and being involved at Coronado," Brickell said. "I'm really excited to take this position. It seemed like the natural thing to do. I've been out of it for a bit, and it's always been a great game."
Brickell said he plans on coaching the wrestling team for one more season, then turning it over, perhaps to assistant Gabe Burak, who won three state titles at Coronado.
"The first year will be interesting without a doubt," Colgate said. "He used to do back-to-back seasons with boys' soccer and wrestling, so I'm not concerned. He has had great assets that helped in wrestling and got things set. Things roll on their own that way. We're hoping for the same with our girls' soccer program."