As a native and product of Lynchburg, Jeff Woody’s decision was difficult. Making that decision even tougher was that he’s coming off of back-to-back seasons after winning the Group A Division 4 championship as the football coach at his almamater in Brookville. But when former Monticello coach Rodney Redd stepped down to pursue an opportunity at Virginia State University, Woody became the Mustangs target.
“The time was right,” Woody said. “You just know when it’s time to go.”
After two successful interviews and after officially stepping aside at Brookville this week, Woody was formally introduced at Monticello as the school’s third ever coach.
“(The administration at Monticello) has shown me the great vision they have for this program, something that I want to be a part of,” Woody said. “I can’t wait to be a part of this.”
At Brookville, Woody compiled an 81-22 record and led his team to 28 straight wins before coming to Monticello. This is the second coaching change for Monticello since 2011 after Redd took over for the programs founder, Brud Bicknell. In 13 years at the helm, Bicknell led the Mustangs to a Group A Division 3 championship in 2007 and an overall record of 91-53. During Redd’s tenure, Monticello was 19-6 and won three Region II playoff games.
Woody’s self described prowess comes from the offensive side of the ball where he will look to install his offense, but doesn’t think it will clash much with what Redd had in place the previous two years.
“I think what they did last year with Jhalil Mosley at quarterback was similar to the things we’d done in the past with (current Virginia Tech quarterback) Logan Thomas,” Woody said. “But then again, offensively in 2013, Mosley is not here. We have to figure out what the personnel is going to be. I know already about the running back. T.J. Tillery is beautiful to me. The defensive line, I like what I see there too.”
Tillery headlines the class of 2014 for the Mustangs after he ran for nearly 1,632 yards and 29 touchdowns. While receivers Denzel Terry and James Banks will be gone, Alex McNair returns after catching 17 passes for 246 yards and five touchdowns. Also back for his senior year is Chase Phillips who had 332 yards on 24 catches and four touchdowns. So too is Josh Malm who had nine catches for 131 yards and two TDs and who also set the school’s kicking record going 7-for-7 on field goals.
“The talent is there and we just need to come together as a team to get the job done,” McNair said. “I think we thought last year we should have gone farther than where we ended up, so we’re going to be trying real hard to do better.”
The Mustangs went 10-3 last year and made it to the Region II finals where their season ended with a 24-21 loss to Kettle Run.
“It’s hard with Coach Redd leaving but it’s also exciting to get a new start,” Malm said. “I’m excited about what Coach Woody is going to do, what kind of offense he’s going to bring in. I think everyone’s pumped about next year.”
Over the weeks Woody’s been breaking down film from Monticello’s playoff run, trying to get best acquainted with what he has and what kind of opponents he’s up against. Woody noted that he sees similarities coming from a highly respected Seminole District going into what will be a revamped Jefferson District this fall.
“You can go team by team and say Charlottesville is much like Heritage with their athletic ability and speed where as Powhatan is a bigger, stronger, more physical team like Jefferson Forest,” Woody said. “Then you look at Louisa and that’s like playing Amherst. I see a lot of similarities.”
Woody plans to join the team on Monday for a lifting session and help further get to know his newest athletes. After the formal introduction Woody was able to meet with more than a handful of players, parents and administrators at a luncheon.
“You get out what you put in so I plan to get to work real quickly,” Woody said.