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Interviews with the Newbies

By Dalyn Johnson
On August 27, 2021

Photo by Matthew Hicks

The Braves football team has some new faces on the coaching staff this year. But these faces may look familiar to many who have stayed loyal to Ottawa athletics over the years.


Wes Coomes, the new special teams coordinator for the Braves, was an all-conference linebacker through his 2012 and 2013 seasons. During this time, he and his team captured a conference championship. Coomes’ philosophy is fairly simple as he compares it to “shooting free throws on the basketball court, nice and easy, making sure everyone is doing their job,” he says.


Coomes admits his hopes are very high on the dynamic players Jermaine Zigler and Santino Gee, along with players he can count on to do their specific roles. He describes the culture change similar as to when he played for the Braves, and his philosophy stems from his time with Coach Kent Kessinger.


Mike Sanchez, the cornerbacks and safety coach, played safety for the Braves in the 2017 and 2018 seasons. In his 2018 season, he finished as an all-conference defensive back and has returned to provide personal knowledge to the defensive side of the ball. He describes the culture change as “a dramatic one,” as far as new faces he has seen from the past few years.


With at least six coaches being Ottawa slumni, Sanchez believes it’s definitely a lot easier to preach the understanding of what is to be expected and what it means to be a Brave. 


“I am here for (players) more than just being their coach, someone to look up to when they need help with anything outside of football,” Sanchez says.


He says the biggest thing he took away from the program from his time spent at Ottawa was to treat others with respect and manners. 


“The better you represent yourself is a testimony to who you will become in the future. If you do those things, it will be hard for people to forget about you,” he says.


Connor Kaegi was a successful quarterback who passed for over 4,000 yards and more than 60 touchdowns. The second team all-conference quarterback also had talents booting the ball as he was also a first team all-conference punter. One thing he wants his quarterbacks to take away from this season are the little things he picked up from playing as an Ottawa Brave, and he knows exactly what works and what doesn’t. 


Qualities he says that he has that he would like to instill in them are intangibles such as leadership, being vocal and making sure guys are in the right places. He preaches every play doesn’t have to be a big play, and the little things will lead to bigger things. 


One thing that he took away from the program was “the family culture and tradition, to always be respectful to people,” he says. “Coming from a small school, you can achieve big things. … I hope to continue to perform athletically outside of college at the professional level to show (students) that it is possible.”


Nick Davis, defensive coordinator, was a GA for the Braves in 2010-2012 when he then explored separate schools. 


“I actually put all of my Ottawa gear in a trash bag and left it for the next GA because I never thought I would end up coming back,” Davis says.


Davis knew since high school that wanted to go into coaching. He believes he had a good grasp for the game, but it wasn’t until college that he knew he wanted to coach at that level. So he went into teaching and education preparing him for being a successful coach. 


“My first job away from Ottawa, I coached running backs and tight ends on the offensive side from a great mentor for three years, so I learned what was really good for defenses to run,” he recalls. 


Davis’ versatility sets him apart from other coaches. He graduated from Monmouth College in 2010. By the time he was a senior, he had won the most games in the class' history in his four-year span. His last two years ended with two conference titles and ranked 10th in the country. Coaching for the Braves back in 2011, he also was a part of that conference title, so he knows what it takes to be a winner.


These coaches all bring a unique aspect to the team. All want the best for their players, and all take pride in what they do, since they know what it’s like to wear a black and yellow uniform. They believe this team has what it takes to be as successful as they once were.


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