Briarwood promotes Jeremy Mears to varsity boys basketball head coach

Published 4:23 pm Monday, August 7, 2023

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

NORTH SHELBY – Briarwood Christian School has officially named interim coach Jeremy Mears as the new permanent head coach of the varsity boys basketball program.

The announcement was made in a press release on Briarwood’s website on Friday, Aug. 4.

Mears was promoted after 18 years at Briarwood, where he has served as the JV boys basketball head coach as well as an assistant coach on the varsity team.

Because Mears has been at Briarwood for so long, this opportunity means a lot to him.

“I’ve known these guys and these families for a long time, so this is something that I’m looking forward to and excited about,” Mears said. “There was a lot of uncertainty that went into the past several months, and I’m glad that it’s over and we can hit the ground running and get to work.”

Mears was named the interim head coach on April 14 after Bobby Kerley stepped down from the position for personal reasons.

While a search was held for a replacement, Mears’ work with the basketball program over the offseason was strong enough to rise above the other candidates and convince the school to remove the interim tag from his title.

“Coach Mears had a terrific summer campaign with his team where he championed excellent team play and relentless optimism in the heat of high-level competition with his players,” Briarwood athletic director Jay Mathews said.

That work included building deeper relationships with his players and establishing an identity as a team.

“The first thing that I did when I was placed as the interim is that I set up individual meetings with all the varsity guys, and I just kind of wanted to share my heart with them, but I also wanted to get to know their ‘why,’” Mears said. “And I think developing relationships in anything, but especially in coaching, is very important. I got to give them my expectations for them and set some clear roles for them and some opportunities for them to grow and improve, and I think that was probably one of the best things that I did as we got started.”

Mears has four years of varsity head coaching experience from his time at Sherwood Christian Academy in Albany, GA. He reached the playoffs in each of his four seasons at the helm and won a region championship 2004. He also served there as an assistant for two seasons.

Mears worked under two successful Briarwood coaches in Chris Laatsch, currently the head coach at Spain Park, and Kerley, and he said that some of his own coaching style will come from what he learned under both men.

“I’ve learned a great deal from both of those guys,” Mears said. “I think I’ll probably take a little bit of both of them and kind of mesh it into being the best Jeremy Mears that I can be. If I try to be a Chris Laatsch or a Bobby Kerley, I’m going to fail, but certainly I’m going to be able to incorporate many things that I’ve learned over the years from those two men and kind of tweak it into what I believe can be a successful program, and hopefully I can be successful as well, as the leader of Briarwood Christian basketball.”

As for what to expect from Mears’ Lions, he said that Briarwood will have a high-energy culture that will be visible in their playstyle.

“We want to be a team that plays with pace,” Mears said. “We want to be able to share the ball. I talked about a lot with them. We want energy in the ball, we want energy in the man, and so whether you’re on the court, you’re off the court, we want you bringing that positive energy. We want to move the ball, and so playing with pace I think is going to help us have an opportunity to reach our potential and be successful.”

Prior to his coaching career, Mears played four years of college basketball at Tennessee Temple University and served as a graduate assistant for a season while working on his master’s degree.