SEMINARY, Miss. (WDAM) - Brian Rials has spent the past 19 years coaching high school football in his backyard.
Now, the Seminary native has decided the time is right to head to the house.
Rials, who wrapped up his 25th year coaching in the Mississippi public school system, has stepped down as Seminary High School head football coach.
“I was going to go another year with my son, but I got looking at all the numbers and everything, and just decided I was going to hang it up and let somebody else have a shot at it” Rials said Wednesday.
“I’m going to miss the kids. You get attached to a different group of kids. It’s hard. You always say, ‘Well, I want to coach this one more group through,’ but at some point, you’ve got to stop because there’s always going to be another group you really like. It’s just the relationship with the kids.”
Rials never had to stray far from his home base during his career. After graduating from Seminary High where he played center, linebacker and handled the kicking duties, he received degrees from then-Jones County Junior College and the University of Southern Mississippi.
Rials got his coaching start at West Jones High School, where he spent six years as an assistant.
He returned to his alma mater when Lance Mancuso hired him for his staff in 2002. In 2003, Rials was on board when the Bulldogs won their lone state football championship.
When Mancuso left for the head coaching job at then-Bassfield High School in 2005, Rials took over at Seminary.
He finished with a 107-84 record in 16 years, including a second South State championship in 2018.
In the Class 3A state championship game, a furious, second-half rally came up short, as the Bulldogs fell 34-28 to Water Valley High School.
“We’ve had some good years, and then some not so good, but that’s just part of small-school football,” Rials said. “It has its ups and downs.
“I’ve had some really great players, some really great assistant coaches, made a lot of great friendships.”
Rials said just having the chance to coach football at home was the most memorable part of his tenure.
“It’s hard to pin it down to one thing that I remember the most or that I enjoyed the most,” Rials said. “I guess it’s been this opportunity. I’ve just been blessed to stay at home all this time and have a little success to keep me a job there all these years.
“I’ve just been blessed to have been able to build a house by my mom and dad and raised a family. I can’t complain, that’s for sure.”
Rials said he won’t be involved in selecting the school’s next head football coach, but that he intends to be around.
This time, though, he’ll be in the stands instead of on the sidelines.
It’s home,” Rials said. “I’m still going to be around. I’ll still go and watch the games. My son (Jacob) will still be playing next year.
“It was just time to get out and do something else for a little while.”