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Coaching runs in the family

Coy Brotherton is the head coach of Plain Dealing High School.

Brothertons follow in their father’s footsteps

Bob Brotherton is a Haughton High man through and through.

He and Billie Jo, his wife of 43 years and a longtime educator in Bossier Parish, are Haughton alumni. Brotherton was an assistant football and head track and field coach coach at the school for 33 years. He coached his two sons, Jason and Coy, at Haughton.

But in recent years, Brotherton and his wife have faced a quandary on some Friday nights in the fall. The reason? Coy is in his fourth year as head football coach at Plain Dealing and Jason is in his 17th as an assistant at Haughton.

So the Brothertons have to decide which of their sons’ games to attend.

The proximity of last week’s games made the decision a bit easier than usual.

The Brothertons started out in Plain Dealing, where the Lions faced Lakeside. They then drove the 15 miles down to Benton for the second half of the Bucs’ game against the Tigers.

“We don’t miss Friday night,” Bob Brothertson said. “We’re going to be at one or the other. And we are true Buccaneers …. If Plain Dealing’s in town and Haughton’s playing someone we think we have a pretty good chance of beating, we’ll go watch Plain Dealing play.

“If it’s a good game and gonna be tight and Haughton’s playing a good opponent, we’re probably going to go watch Haughton play. We just make a decision based on who tthey’re playing each week.”

Both of the Brotherton brothers say they were pretty much destined to be coaches.

Jason Brotherton is an assistant coach at Haughton High School.
Jason Brotherton is an assistant coach at Haughton High School.

They grew up on the sidelines, acting as ball boys. They rode on the team busses to away games.  Like a lot of coaches’ children, they lived and died with each win and loss.

Jason, who just turned 38, is seven years older than his baby brother. He was the starting quarterback at Haughton his junior and senior years in 1992 and 1993, Rodney Guin’s first year as head coach.

So Coy grew up with two male role models in his family.

“Jason wanted to take after dad, and I looked up to Jason so much. too, that I had Jason and dad to look up to because Jason was so much older,” said Coy, who was a center during his playing days at Haughton. “I always, always knew I was going to be coaching.”

After graduating from Northwestern State like his brother and parents, Coy began his coaching career as an assistant at Airline before becoming the Plain Dealing head coach in 2011.

Jason began his career at Haughton right out of college and has been there ever since.

“I  had no idea what else I would do,” he said. “That was just the only thing we knew. I grew up at the school. Michael Marston that coaches with us, his dad (Will) and my dad coached together. We were always at the school.

“I never considered another career path. I say that all the time today. If I didn’t coach today I have no idea what else I would do. I don’t know if we ever we talked about it. I never considered anything else and I almost think Coy was the same way.”

Bob Brotherton does remember one conversation he had with his son late in his senior year. He asked Jason what his plans were and Jason said he was going to be a coach.

“Jason was very smart,” Bob said. “He was almost a 4.0 student and he was very involved in every activity he could be involved in at Haughton High School.”

Bob wanted to know why his son wanted to be a coach and teacher when there were so many other jobs that paid a lot more money.

He said, ‘Dad, I’m going to tell you what. I would rather be happy and coach football than be rich and make a lot of money.’ “ When he said that, I said, ‘Well, OK, you just do what you want to do. Just go for four years of school and get a degree and you’ll make your mom and I happy.”

Bob Brotherton said there was never any doubt that Coy would become a coach.

“I didn’t even have to ask questions,” he said. “I knew what Coy was going to do. Coy was going to do the same thing that his dad did and his big brother did. There were no questions asked there. We just assumed Coy was going to go into education and be a coach and that’s exactly what he did.”

Despite their age difference, Jason and Coy have always been close. In fact, Jason said he looks at Coy as more than just a brother but as his best friend, too.

The brothers talk after their games and frequently during the week.

“We probably talk five to seven times a week,” Coy said. “If it’s not every day, it’s every other day. It’s not always about football. It is about family. Football does come up quite often. We definitely keep up with each other’s seasons. We know what’s going on. And we’re probably each other’s biggest fan.”

The brothers also talk to their father during the week about games, but not quite as often as they do to each other.

“We’ll kind of talk to him about the game plan, who we’re playing, and how we stack up against a certain team,” Coy said. “He’ll kind of use what me and Jason tell him to decide what game he’s going to, which game is going to be better.”

Jason would like to be a head coach one day like his younger brother. He got a taste of that last spring when he stepped in for Guin following Guin’s heart attack.

“I’ve always been the big brother but then I got thrown in a situation where the little brother had more experience doing all that stuff than I did,” Jason said. “So I leaned on him a lot doing all of that.”

Both brothers say their dad has had a big influence on their coaching style.

Bob Brotherton has represented District 1 on the Bossier Parish Police Jury for three years. Coy says the way former students and players reacted to him during campaigns made a big impression on him.

“I think the biggest thing is I always saw the relationship dad had with the players,” he said. “And I think it’s kind of carried to what dad is doing now. I can’t tell you how many former athletes, former students would help out and say, ‘Hey coach, we’re voting for you.’ That’s something that always means a lot to me and Jason, to see other people helped out by our dad.

“We always knew he was a great dad, but he was a dad to other people, too. And that’s something that’s always kind of stuck in my mind that if I can ever give back as much as he did then that’s great.”

Bob Brotherton gives advice to his son’s about coaching from time to time if they ask him for it, but he has no desire to be on the sidelines with them.

“I just wish them luck,” he said. “People say, ‘Don’t you want to go coach with them?’ I say, ‘No, I don’t want to do that anymore. I did that for 33 years. I want to sit back and watch them.’”

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Sean Green is managing editor of the Bossier Press-Tribune.