There will be two new faces on the Brusly sideline this football season with the additions of Khalil Thomas and Dimario Jackson to the coaching staff.
Jackson, who will coach defensive backs, is a familiar face at the school as he was the assistant basketball coach last season and worked at Brusly Middle School.
Thomas is the new running backs coach and he comes to Brusly after one year at Episcopal School of Baton Rouge.
Jackson played football and basketball in high school, followed by collegiate basketball at Northeast Mississippi Community College (NEMCC) and the University of North Alabama.
He graduated from NEMCC with an associate’s degree in business administration and he earned a bachelor’s in general management from the University of North Alabama.
Thomas grew up in New Roads and played high school football at Catholic High-Baton Rouge before playing all four years at McNeese State University in Lake Charles. He played three years as a receiver before switching to defensive back.
“Both Khalil Thomas and Dimario Jackson are young coaches, both of them have a ton of energy,” said Brusly head coach Hoff Schooler. “They both have college playing experience. We’re lucky to get both of those guys and the energy they bring to practice and the toughness they bring has really translated to the kids. Dimario has been coaching basketball. I saw his energy and how he could relate to the kids there and wanted him to be a part of what we got going on here.
“Khalil played for coach (Storm) Reeves at Catholic, so we had a tie right there,” Schooler added. “We’re lucky to have both of them and they make us better. They make us better as a coaching staff and they make us better as a team.”
Jackson said he initially had no intention to coach football, but once he was asked, he accepted. He explained what he felt his contribution was to the staff and the team.
“Part of my role on the staff isn’t really to do the X’s and O’s, but it’s really to bring some energy, some toughness and bring something that some other coach might not bring,” he said.
After Episcopal’s season ended last year, Thomas said Brusly offensive coordinator Storm Reeves approached him with the possibility of joining the Panthers’ staff. Reeves was Thomas’ running backs coach at Catholic.
“I met the staff, met the boys, fell in love and here’s where I’m at,” Thomas said with a smile.
Along with leading the running backs, Thomas is in charge of the returners and the discipline side of things.
He said he was recruited to Brusly to help change the culture of the program.
“When coach Schooler came and got me, told me I was going to be our change the culture guy,” he recalled. “That started with me being the guy to show up outside of whatever classroom, ‘boy you better be in class with a pencil!’ It started with discipline and now it’s shifting to more of a big brother role to them while still keeping the professional relationship and instilling accountability in them.”
The Panther offense is predicated on running the ball and Thomas said he has schooled his group on its importance to the team’s success.
“Preach to the boys every day, we’re going to go as far as this group takes us, so we have to be the most self accountable,” he said. “I think they’re doing a good job of buying into that and really working towards the goals we set.”