After four years as a graduate assistant coach for the titans of collegiate football, Mike Briglin ’02 (right) is trading Clemson orange to take on a new role, this time as safeties coach for Abilene Christian University (ACU) in Texas, home of the Wildcats.
Mike joins the ACU staff after four seasons at Clemson as a graduate assistant coach. During his four-year tenure at Clemson, the statistics are epic: Clemson recorded a 55-4 record, tied for the most wins in a four-year span in major college football history, and collected four ACC titles and two national championships.
According to Mike, the idea of pursuing a career in sports started when he worked at a residential boys’ home in Central New York following his graduation from SUNY Oswego with a degree in sociology. The children in the home had come from very difficult family situations.
“All the kids wanted to do something fun,” said Mike, a 1991 graduate of Oswego High School who was a running back and linebacker, as well as an Oswego State rugby player and a member of the U.S. Army rugby team while he served in the military, from 1991 to 1996.
“I told those boys that if they did what was asked of them, like chores, I’d take them outside to play football in the rain,” he said.
Mike taught the residential home boys the basics: how to catch, throw and tackle. One day, one of the boys told him he ought to be a Super Bowl coach.
It was the seed of an idea that carried Mike—who served in the Army as an engineer stationed at Fort Stewart, Georgia, and in Somalia, Bosnia and Haiti—through a move to Hawaii in 2004 to work for the Department of Defense’s family advocacy program. There, he began coaching at the high school level.
At Clemson, he earned a master’s degree in youth development leadership and a second master’s in athletic leadership. His goals, he said, are to become a defensive coordinator and a head coach someday.
Mike’s impact on youth—from the children living in the residential home through to the college players he’s coaching—reminds him that he is exactly where he’s meant to be.
“All of us have a different mission in life,” he said. “Whatever your calling is, that’s your calling. And whatever you’re going to do, don’t let anyone get in your way.” READ MORE