By Mike Blackerby
Bryson Rosser said the first step in building a successful football program has nothing to do with the Xs and Os.
It’s all about cultivating relationships, said the Central coach.
It’s a philosophy ingrained in Rosser since he was a star quarterback for his dad, Barry Rosser, at Hackensack High School in New Jersey in the early 2000s.
Rosser, who went on to start at quarterback for Tennessee State for four seasons, led Hackensack to two state championships
That relationship-based mindset instilled by his father helped Rosser guide Central to the state 5A championship this season in just his fifth year at the helm.
For returning the proud Bobcats program to prominence, Rosser is the 2018 5Star Preps Football Coach of the Year.
“My coaching style is I’m a player’s coach,” said Rosser, who led Central to a 13-2 record and a 14-9 win over Henry County in the Class 5A state championship.
“Everything I do is based on the impact I can have on kids. I absolutely love every single kid on our roster. The beautiful part of high school football is the clientele doesn’t change, we do. You’ve got to continue to relate to 14 to 18 year olds.”
Rosser said he simply followed the example of his father, who was the prototype player’s coach.
“The relationships my dad had with his players were so infectious,” he recounted.
Rosser said the multi-layered process of building dichotomous relationships is not something you can manufacture or fake.
“It looked so easy with him. It’s something you shouldn’t have to create. There’s that saying, ‘kids don’t know how much you know until they know how much you care.’”
Central’s rise to state champion in just five years under Rosser’s leadership is hardly an example of catching lightning in a bottle.
Rosser is 47-20 during his tenure in Fountain City, with five straight playoff appearances, two state championship game appearances and one trip to the semifinals.
It took some elbow grease by Rosser and his coaching staff to return Central to power.
Before Rosser took over in 2014, the Bobcats were 33-49 over the previous eight seasons and winless in the playoffs.
But Rosser views his job as a football coach as much more than winning games and racking up honors.
“When I came in five years ago a state championship wasn’t my ultimate goal,” he explained.
“I looked to build a program that was respected. I wanted people to look at our kids as not just great football players, but great people too.
“I’m extremely honored and humbled to be the football coach at Central. It was great to watch this happen. It was just a dream come true.”