Brad Wilson has yet to meet his new football team.
But change is already in the air at Urbana, where Wilson plans to abandon the Hawks’ trademark pound-the-ball running game in favor of a more open passing attacking, featuring four- and even five-receiver formations.
“I think that’s an exciting style of football,” Wilson, 56, Urbana’s new football coach, said in a telephone interview Tuesday night from his current home in Raleigh, North Carolina. “I am hoping to attract good athletes who might not have considered playing football before.”
Some Frederick County football fans will already be familiar with the style of offense Wilson runs since he was very recently the head football coach at Westminster High School, leading the Owls to the Class 3A state final in 2005 and a 4A state semifinal appearance in 2012.
During Wilson’s time there, Westminster also ended Middletown’s 36-game winning streak at the start of the 2014 season and halted a 39-game winning streak for Martinsburg (West Virginia) High School.
He stepped down in 2014 after 11 seasons so that he and his wife could move to Raleigh and live closer to their college-age daughters. For the past three seasons, he has been the head coach of Leesville Road High School in the Raleigh area.
However, when he learned the Urbana job had come open after Dave Mencarini resigned following a stint on paid leave, the itch to come back to this area and coach was strong.
“Maryland is home,” Wilson said.
Wilson grew up in a military family. He was born on Andrews Air Force Base and grew up in the shadow of Fort Meade. He went to Meade High School, where he played football and began his coaching career as an assistant.
In 1990, he was hired as the defensive coordinator at North County High School, and the Knights went on to win a state title and two regional titles, as well as four Anne Arundel County championships.
His success at North County led him to his first head-coaching job at Glen Burnie High School, where he promptly led the Gophers to their first winning season in seven years and coached offensive tackle Brandon Albert of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“I am a pretty energetic guy,” Wilson said. “I like to work hard, and I like to have fun at the same time. I coach with a passion, and I expect my players to play with a passion.”
Wilson knows he has a big job ahead of him. Mencarini’s turbulent departure last fall contributed to the Hawks going 2-8 last season, the worst in school history.
But that’s part of the reason why athletic director Ryan Hines tabbed Wilson for the job.
“No doubt. His one-heartbeat mantra is what we need to reunite this program and give it the vision to get back on track,” Hines said. “He proved he could do it at Westminster, and I am confident he can do it here.”
Over the past two days, Middletown has hired 22-year-old former player Collin Delauter as its head coach, while Urbana has turned to Wilson, who will meet with his players for the first time Thursday evening at the school.
That leaves Thomas Johnson as the only one of 10 public schools in Frederick County that has yet to publicly name its varsity football coach. Athletic director Steve Nibbs said a hire has been made after former coach Jerry Smith departed last November to take Brunswick’s job.
Nibbs said he was just waiting for the go-ahead to announce it.