Tuesday, November 22, 2016
The boys cross country coach at Stratford High School was honored recently as the University Interscholastic League(UIL) Coach of the Year.
Tony Brillon, an eight-year coach at Stratford High, earned his recognition during a special presentation held at Old Settler’s Park in Round Rock, Texas, soon after the annual state cross country meet concluded.
Brillon has been the Spartans head boys cross country and track & field coach for the past seven years.
A biology teacher, Brillon has coached state-level winning teams four times in the past seven years, and his teams won back to back state championships in 2013 and 2014. Two of his runners have also earned top individual state meet awards.
“It’s just a tremendous honor as there are so many great coaches out there. I really believe it’s really the kids who deserve this award,” Brillon said. “You are a great coach only if you have great kids, and there has been quite a lot of team success at Stratford.”
“Average kids can do great things,” he also said. “It comes down to training in the cross country field, coupled with drive and work ethic.”
At just 53, Brillon already has a storied coaching career and a life story shaped by strong personal decision-making.
He has taught and also coached cross country for more than 20 years in Cypress-Fairbanks and Katy ISDs, and in middle and high schools in The Woodlands.
To serve his country, he took a four-year teaching break and worked for U.S. Navy’s Combat Information Control (CIC) in radar and intercept technology.
His passion for formal science, as well as the science and art of coaching runners, found expression in a bachelor’s degree from Beaumont-based Lamar University, located in southeast Texas. “I always knew that I wanted to be coach, but I loved science,” he recalls.
SBISD Executive Director of Athletics Paige Hershey said the district is fortunate to have Coach Brillon at Stratford High and in the district.
“He has made great contributions to the success of our athletic program, and he’s never let that success deter him from continuing to want to do and to be more. He doesn’t rest on his laurels,” Executive Director Hershey said.
Coach Brillon is set apart by his own work ethic, drive and desire to do it all. As a head coach, Hershey said he learned to channel more of his time to coaching all of Stratford’s runners, and let go of superficial distractions involved with race-day or district-level duties.
Few people may know that Brillon helped coached Stratford football while heading up the state-winning cross country program, and also teaching biology. “That’s just the kind of guy Coach Brillon is. That’s an example of his desire to give of himself to his school and athletic program,” Hershey said.
Former SBISD coach Jason Reed, who is now with Katy ISD, encouraged Brillon to join him at Stratford cross country based on his high reputation for managing an effective, full-time running program.
“Not too many people are going to outwork Coach Brillon, He is a great motivator who holds kids accountable, and the kids love him for it,” Reed said.