Prep Football: Mattera named head coach of Thomasville football
After an exhaustive few months of searching for a new head football coach, Thomasville High School has finally found the man they believe will continue the rich tradition of Bulldog football.
Wes Mattera was introduced as the new head man Thursday morning at a press conference in the Thomasville City Schools' Huneycutt Administration Building. The shoes he will be filling are huge, as Mattera follows in the footsteps of legendary and longtime THS coach Allen Brown.
“I am humbled and blessed and honored to join an organization with such tradition,” Mattera said. “This has been 15 years in the making for me. I am also looking forward to becoming a part of the Thomasville community and raising a family. I'm looking forward to building some great relationships with the young men here at Thomasville and continuing that great tradition that Coach (George) Cushwa, Coach Benjie Brown and Coach Allen Brown laid for us. As a coach in the state of North Carolina when you are looking at jobs, Thomasville is one of the elite.”
Mattera has a strong background on the gridiron. He coached at Edenton Holmes High School the last four seasons, leading them to a 34-14 mark. The Aces were the Northeastern Coastal Conference Champions the last three seasons with Mattera earning Coach of the Year recognition in 2011 and 2012. His team advanced to the third round of the state playoffs in 2011, then made second round trips the last two seasons.
Before his head coaching stint at Edenton, Mattera was an assistant at 4-A New Bern High School. In 2007, he served as offensive coordinator for a New Bern team that knocked off Charlotte Independence to win the 4-AA state championship. From 2008-09, he was the offensive coordinator at Scotland County High School, and was selected as an assistant coach for the North Carolina Shrine Bowl Combine.
Mattera has a strong resume and one that THS officials could not pass up. Replacing a man with the knowledge and experience that Allen Brown had is not easy to do. Mattera understands the significance of his hiring and the task that awaits in a program that has won eight state championships.
“Coach Brown has definitely set the bar high and that is one thing we have always done,” said Mattera. “We will not lower any standards. We will strive for championships and strive to make our men better husbands and fathers and students down the road. I am glad that bar is that high. That is one of the things that attracted me here.”
Since Cushwa took over as head coach in 1959, the Thomasville job has been an in-house, family position. For Athletic Director Steve Bare, going outside the program and THS family to find a new coach was a tough decision to make.
“It was really difficult,” Bare said. “You have to keep in perspective the community, support and the sense of ownership that people in Thomasville have for the athletic program – not just football but the whole program in general. It was something we were very conscious about as we went through the process. What we were fortunate to find is when we got to our pool of finalists, they were all outstanding.”
Impressed by the athleticism he has seen on film, Mattera is excited for what the future may hold. Where his concern lies is the participation in recent years. Numbers have gradually decreased, forcing the coaching staff to play some of its players on both sides of the ball.
“I want to get more numbers out,” he said. “Try to beat the hallways and beat the bushes. There might be that one or two guys that we are missing that could help fill some holes for us. Obviously, get with the middle school coaches and get with our Pop Warner coaches and try to get as many kids out and get them wearing the Bulldog red as we can.”
Mattera will officially take over the position Feb. 17. He will teach weight training at the high school.
“After today it is time to go to work,” said Mattera. “I look forward to Feb. 17 so I can meet the kids and get in the weight room.”
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or firstname.lastname@example.org.