Mike Purcell has been the face of Brentwood Bruins soccer for almost two decades now. His latest accomplishment stands as a firm monument to that career.
Purcell and his Bruins beat the Rossview Hawks 2-1 on April 22, earning his 300th career win as the Brentwood soccer coach.
“I really didn’t think much about it,” said Purcell. “Each year of course we keep our records. Somebody had asked at the beginning of the year, I don’t know if they were writing something, what the overall record was. Then I realized it was close to 300.
"What it means is, I’ve been here awhile. It represents continuity and consistency more than anything, just a year-to-year constant that benefits a program, when you have a stable coach and coaching staff and good assistant coaches. We’ve been able to maintain that for the last 18-20 years.”
Purcell first began at Brentwood as a teacher. Shortly after, he was an assistant for both the boys and girls team before earning the coaching job for both teams in 2002. However, he will be the first to tell you that teaching has always been one of his top priorities over being a soccer coach.
“I like what I do, I like teaching,” said Purcell. “First and foremost I’m a teacher. I wasn’t planning on coaching when I came to Brentwood. I had done that a number of years before I came here in 1998. I didn’t think I would coach anymore. It was kind of a fortuitous event that I got back into coaching.
"I enjoy it. I’ve enjoyed working with the guys, and then with the girls. We’ve had a lot of good teams, and a lot of support from the administration and the athletic department. The parents are great, the students come out to the games, it’s just a really good situation.”
While Purcell became head coach of the soccer program in 2002, his first season didn’t start until 2003 with the boys’ team. His first team made it all the way to sectionals, before losing to Smyrna 1-0. The Bruins had the most shots during the game, but couldn’t find the back of the net on a muddy field, as he recalled it.
This would become one of the all-time favorite moments of his career, along with the 2008 state championship team that didn’t lose a single game.
“That team would rank up there at the top three or four I’ve ever had,” said Purcell. “At the end of each year, it’s funny, I’m ready to start the next year right then. No matter how we do. If we win state or we don’t, there’s just that urge to get out there as soon as we can and get going again. The really neat thing is when kids come back after they’ve graduated. It shows that adults can really have an impact on shaping the lives of students.”
Throughout the years, Purcell has coached and taught many students in the classroom, or on the soccer pitch. The Brentwood soccer program has become one of the best in Williamson County and state of Tennessee. It can be easy to look back and want to do things differently. However, for Purcell he wouldn’t change anything.
“In the big picture, with the success we’ve had it’s hard to go back and tinker with it,” said Purcell. “I really don’t think like that. We’ve had a really good program and I look forward to it continuing in the future. I can’t think of anything I would change. I’m very happy with the way things have turned out. It’s a very great place to be, and if it wasn’t I wouldn’t have stayed. Maybe I’ll retire one of these days.”