By Marty Gordon
Brandon Buchner, who has been on the Christiansburg High School football coaching staff since 2017, recently graduated from Virginia Tech and will join the staff at the University of Tennessee-Martin in the spring as an offensive assistant.
Buchner delivered some special thanks to Christiansburg Head Coach Alex Wilkens for taking a chance on him.
“Wilkens is an amazing friend, mentor, coach and human being,” Buchner said. “The staff he assembled is one of the best in Virginia. The culture is outstanding and growing at Christiansburg, and I am so thankful and blessed to work with those kids and coaches and to have been a part of it.”
UT-Martin competes in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) with Richmond and James Madison. Buchner will be working with running backs and special teams as of right now.
He graduated in December with a bachelor’s degree in history with plans to be a high school coach and teacher, but when the college opportunity rose, he jumped at it.
“I love football, I love people, and most importantly I love the opportunity to develop good human beings,” Buchner said. “Coaching and teaching are opportunities to positively help grow people and impact communities.”
UT Martin, which has a current enrollment of 7,296, posted a 7-5 record while going 6-2 in the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) in 2019 to finish one game out of first place. Like other FCS schools around the country, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they plan to play a spring schedule that will feature a round-robin format, including the eight teams that elected to play a spring OVC schedule. UT-Martin will play seven conference games over an eight-week period.
Buchner’s goals as a collegiate coach are the same as those during his time as a high school coach: to grow and to learn every day while being the best human he can be.
“I think some of the biggest things I learned as a high school coach,” Buchner said,” are that you can truly learn at least one thing about anything every day; that having a growth mindset is vital; that you may not like where you’re at or how things are, but they will get better if you work hard and are a good person; that having all the talent in the world as an athlete doesn’t mean a thing if you’re not willing to lead, lift weights, do the little things and/or focus on the details.”
For now, Buchner is not looking too far down the road. He doesn’t know if the move means coaching college football for one year or 50.