William Monroe High underwent an across the board upgrade in facilities from the gym floor to the baseball and softball fields to the football stadium, and that overhaul certainly makes an athletic director’s job easier.
Now, one of their own will preside over those facilities as the new athletic director.
Brian Collier, a 1986 William Monroe graduate, took over this week as the Dragons’ new AD, replacing Brad Berry after his one-year stint. Collier made the move from Colonial Forge where he was an assistant principal for student activities, the school system’s designation for athletic directors. At Colonial Forge he oversaw a wrestling powerhouse, a boys soccer team that fell to Albemarle in the state finals as well as a football team that advanced to the Northwest Region title game in 2012.
“The big thing was the opportunity to come home,” Collier said during his second day on the job. “It’s a different pace of lifestyle, it’s just non-stop (at Colonial Forge). And the facilities here are phenomenal. They’re second to none.”
Berry replaced Katie Brunelle, who played a major role in the facility upgrade that took William Monroe from some of the area’s most dated facilities to some of the finest. She also helped kickstart a resurgence in Monroe athletics that included a state baseball and state golf championship in 2012, the first playoff appearance by the football years in years in 2011, a Jefferson District girls basketball title and a final four trip in boys basketball this year when Berry was running the department.
Collier, who spent the last 14 years at Colonial Forge as an athletic trainer and then as the athletic director, is just getting his feet wet and getting the lay of the land throughout the athletic department.
“It’s too early for me to tell what needs to be improved,” Collier said. “There are obviously some things that are going well here because they’ve had some success and I’ve never said athletics is all about winning. As long as the kids are learning and taking life lessons from the experience that’s a huge part of it.”
That approach should serve him well as the Dragons transition to Division 3 in the new VHSL alignment while maintaining their spot in the Bull Run District. The move pits Monroe against the likes, locally, of Western Albemarle and Monticello.
“Being from here, my mother is still here and just getting home and we have plenty of family around here,” Collier said. “I was ready for a change. I loved my job at Colonial Forge and we had great coaches and we were really successful but this was too good of an opportunity to not take.”