EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the third in a series of profiles on the 2018 class of the Clinton County Sports Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame induction ceremony and announcement of the winner of the 2018 Wilmington News Journal Clinton County Scholar-Athlete Award is 6 p.m. June 14 at the Expo Center on the Clinton County Fairgrounds. Reservations can be made at the News Journal office. Cost is $25 per reservation. UP NEXT: Jim Rankin.
One of the most successful coaches in Clinton County history, Brian Mudd has seen plenty of unfortunate things happen to both his teams and opposing teams.
“All sorts of crazy stuff,” he said.
Right now, Mudd is in the midst of crazy stuff in his own personal life. On January 5, Mudd had surgery to remove a brain tumor. He’ll have an MRI every two months for the rest of his life with the hopes of catching another tumor in its early stages.
“This is a life-long battle but this is a life-long battle we are winning,” he said.
Seeking nothing other than normalcy in this life, Mudd expects to return to the sideline in the fall as coach of the Clinton-Massie boys golf team.
“It’s a scary disease,” he said. “A lot of people aren’t as fortunate as I have been. It’s a cliche you start taking to heart. Live each day to its fullest and have a more positive attitude about things in your everyday life that affect you negatively.”
In 41 varsity seasons as a boys basketball, boys track and field, and boys golf coach at Clinton-Massie, Mudd has led his charges to 20 league championships.
“My coaching philosophy won’t change but there were times when walking into practice you have those ‘Gosh, I gotta go to practice today’ thoughts,” said Mudd. “I hope now instead of having those type thoughts it’ll be ‘Yes, I get to go to practice today.’”
A 1989 graduate of Carlisle High School, Mudd was at Wright State University as a pre-law major.
But a phone call from the Carlisle athletic director changed the course of Mudd’s life.
“I coached cross country (at Carlisle) while I was going to college,” Mudd said. “In the summer, during my evaluation, he said ‘You’re good at it (coaching). You’re good with young people, just from what I’ve seen.’
“He got me thinking. I decided to change majors and went into education.”
One of Mudd’s college friends is an attorney in Florida. They visit from time to time.
“It makes you think (what might have been) but I don’t have any regrets,” Mudd said.
His first coaching job at Massie was the freshman boys basketball coach in 1993-94. He didn’t become varsity boys basketball coach until 1998, two years after being named the boys track and field coach.
He coached back-to-back sports for the next 15 years.
“There were a number of years, going from the rigors of basketball season, the stress of basketball season, then pretty much a week or two (off) … or when we were making a (deep) tournament run, it was three or four days (off) and I was out on the track,” he said.
After leaving the basketball program in 2013, Mudd began coaching boys golf in 2014. Regardless of the sport, Mudd is as much about the mental approach for the athletes as he is the physical part.
“The mental aspects of those sports always got my attention,” he said. “You learn how to handle athletes, especially teen-age athletes. You can’t handle them (all) the same way. You can’t say ‘This is the way I’m going to coach and yell and scream and get in their face’ (all the time).”
Coaching golf was as telling of Mudd’s approach as any other sport.
“I walked into a loaded team,” Mudd said. “I give Andy (Copeland) and Phil (Larrick) all the credit in the world. It was the right time and right place for me.
“I told the guys you can play the game of golf (at a high level). I’m not here to tell you to swing like this or swing like that. I’m here to talk about the mental part of it. They all had better golf swings than I did.”
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @wnjsports