McLean takes over for Nettles as Bears coach

Published 3:57 pm Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Billingsley High School has turned to a familiar face in hopes of returning to football prominence.

The Bears, who went 3-7 last year, have announced that former quarterback and longtime assistant Tyson McLean will become the head coach for the 2011 season, replacing Joe Nettles, who resigned after one season.

McLean said while he was new at the head coaching position, he couldn’t ask for a better situation.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to be a head coach,” said McLean. “And Billingsley is home to me.”

Van Smith, BHS principal, said the feeling is mutual.

“We’re excited,” he said. “We found a candidate that was excited and I felt could make football fun. We felt that with Tyson’s ties to the community, he’d be in it for the long haul.”

McLean said he realized time was not on the Bears’ side.

“Time is the main thing [against us],” he said. “Everybody is way ahead of us on time. We’ve got a lot to learn and a short time to learn it.”

He also said that due to prior arrangements, he hasn’t had the chance to fill out his coaching staff or met with his team yet.

“Being an assistant, I’ve had contact and made some phone calls to players,” he said. “But with the all-star week and coaches clinic this week, we’ll get back to it next week.”

Smith said he felt McLean would have no problems getting up to speed.

“Tyson played quarterback here,” he said. “And they see things both offensively and defensively. We had 20 applicants and interviewed about eight. We had some state championship winners apply. It’s not like we were scraping the bottom of the barrel. We felt Tyson was the best fit.”

McLean is no stranger to Billingsley. He served as the Bears’ assistant baseball coach from 2002 to 2004, the head coach from 2005 to 2009, and has been the assistant varsity football coach since 2002. He also was the junior high squad’s head coach in 2008.

He said while he hopes for wins on the field, he would be happy with results off of it, too.

“We want to be competitive,” he said. “But we also want to teach guys the right way to act, how to be men, how to have class. We want to have something the community can be proud to pull for and be proud of.”