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November 17, 2011

Bondurant Ends 10-Year Tenure as SCR-I Head Football Coach

Coach Brent Bondurant congratulates quarterback Brock Bondurant, his son, after scoring a TD versus Putnam County.

Scotland County senior night found Coach Brent Bondurant sporting a fashionable sweater vest as well as a huge smile. He laughed off the jokes comparing him to former Ohio State Coach Jim Tressel, who made that attire famous.

Friends and fans alike knew it was a big night for the coach, whose son was among the eight seniors to be honored prior to their final regular season game. Little did the crowd know, the contest would also mark the elder Bondurant's finale.

"I think for a long time, it was in the back of my mind that I would like to see Brock through the system before I thought about hanging it up," said Brent Bondurant. "The timing was right."

The coach made his retirement plans known following a loss to Louisiana the following week in the opening round of the state playoffs. Bondurant addressed his players in the locker room and made the emotional announcement.

"I hadn't planned to do it that way," Bondurant said, "but I wanted the kids to be the first to know."

The news became official at the November 11th Scotland County R-I Board of Education meeting when Bondurant's letter of resignation as the head football coach was accepted by the board.

"I really love coaching football, and although I never looked at it as a job, it is a full-time endeavor," Bondurant stated. "Over the last couple years I had to push myself a little harder, and I just felt like I might be losing a little of the energy this job deserves. In no way did I want to cheat the kids, so I felt like the timing was right."

The move marked the end of a 10-year tenure for Bondurant as the Tigers head coach. He started with the team in 1991 as an assistant coach under now Superintendent Dave Shalley.

"Brent was very dedicated to football and a great role model for our kids," Shalley stated about Bondurant's retirement. "We will miss his influence."

Bondurant began his teaching career in Clarence in 1986 before joining his former head coach, Sam Berkowitz, as an assistant at Schuyler County. Bondurant took over the head coaching job for the Rams the following season, 1988.

"My plans to get back home eventually became a reality when I accepted a position at Scotland County schools as a physical education teacher and coach in 1991," Bondurant stated. "The first year was very busy coaching both at the junior high and high school levels in football and basketball."

Brent Bondurant enjoys the pre-game coin toss with his team captains and those representing their opponent, Salisbury, including coach Kirk Stott, a former player at SCR-I under coach Bondurant.

He worked the next 10 years as an assistant for the Tigers before being named the head coach in 2002.

Bondurant amassed a record of 41-64 as head coach including district championships in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2011, and another state playoff appearance in 2010.

"You diagram, plot, and scheme to win them all," said Bondurant. "Obviously, that doesn't always happen. In small school football, you play the hand you're dealt, and run what you think that particular group of kids will have success with. Above all, a coach must demand the best from his players, and make it fun at the same time. Those seasons when you go 0-10, that's when you see what your made of. "Each year it is the team's goal to get their picture on the wall of champions." Bondurant stated. "This year's has to be one of the sweetest."

Bondurant said he plans to step back from the sport initially and enjoy more free time with his family. Currently a registered basketball official, Brent said he might even consider adding the title of football referee to keep him close to the game that has been such a big part of his life the past 25 years.

"I have been blessed, and feel very fortunate to go to work each day, and love what I do," he said. "Having the opportunity to coach for the past 25 years has been something I'll cherish for the rest of my life. Having played competitively through high school and college, and then be able to teach youngsters the game of football has been very rewarding."

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