Some people wonder why Randal Gusler would give up being an athletic director to become a head coach. Some whispers say thatâ€™s a demotion. To him itâ€™s an opportunity.
â€œI love football and I just want to coach football. My true love is football,â€ he said.
Gusler was named the West Lincoln Rebelsâ€™ head football coach Wednesday, after the Lincoln Co. School Board approved.
This will be Guslerâ€™s second stint as a head coach. Gusler had a 7-23 record at Arcadia High in Accomac, Va. That record may sound dismal, but itâ€™s not when you consider the fact the team had won only five games in the previous five years.
Most recently, Gusler, 36, has spent the last 10 years at Statesville High School building an impressive resume in the process.
In Guslerâ€™s nine years as offensive coordinator, his Wing-T offense has produced nine of the top 25 scorers in Statesville Highâ€™s history, as well as Cam Stephens the number one all-time leading rusher in Greyhound history. He has also served as the Greyhoundsâ€™ AD the last three years.
The reasons Principal Mitch Sherrill decided on Gusler was simple in his eyes.
â€œHe had strong stand for sports, teamwork and above all academics,â€ he said.
Gusler, who is certified in Physical Education, is currently working on receiving his masters in school administration.
â€œWe really wanted someone with a strong leadership skills and with a priority for academic leadership and support,â€ Sherrill said.
On Thursday, Sherill and Athletic Director Wayne Navey got the Rebels together to reveal to them their search for a new coach was over.
â€œIt was a relief because theyâ€™ve been very anxious. Iâ€™ve stressed to them they need to be in the weight room because Coach Gusler is very strong on off-season conditioning,â€ Sherrill said.
Navey believes Gusler is a good fit for West Lincoln.
â€œItâ€™s been a long/ tough process, and Iâ€™m glad weâ€™ve hired a good quality man. All the coaches and kids are ready to get started. I feel like heâ€™ll fit in well with the staff we have here and be a good leader for our kids,â€ he said.
The freshly-named coach is equally impressed with Sherill and Navey.
â€œI was very impressed with the administration. They have a direction they want to go and I feel I can do that,â€ he said.
The West Lincoln area, as well as certain luxuries the school enjoys, also helped lure Gusler.
â€œItâ€™s a very nice place to raise a family. Iâ€™m real excited about some of the things West Lincoln has to offer, the field house and practice field, all those things seemed very appealing to me,â€ Gusler said.
Over the past 10 years, his supportive family made up of wife Karen, seven-year old son Brock, five-year old son Jake and nine month-old Kirsten have made plenty of treks from their home to Statesville High School to watch everything from wrestling matches, track meets and football games.
The new Southern Piedmont 1A/2A Conference was another factor in Guslerâ€™s decision.
â€œOne thing I saw that looked very promising is the young quarterback (Taylor Woodie). The things that look positive is itâ€™s a fresh start. Theyâ€™re going into a new conference, getting ready to embark on that and itâ€™s a good time for everything,â€ he said.
Gusler will officially join the Rebels this summer, but West Lincoln athletes also will see plenty of him during the current spring semester. According to Sherrill, Gusler will make his presence known in the weight room in the coming weeks.
His teaching position will not being until next school year. Gusler has 15 years experience as a football coach.
by John Mark Brooks