The Brent Brilhante era is officially underway at Todd Beamer High School. The 1997 Decatur High School graduate was named the Titans’ head boys basketball coach on Wednesday.
“I’m really excited,” Brilhante said. “It hasn’t really hit me yet. I can’t wait for basketball season to start. I was very confident when I went into the interview that I would get the job.”
Brilhante takes over for Connie Richardson, who resigned following the basketball season saying he wanted to be closer to his family and job. Richardson works in school security in the Puyallup School District.
Richardson spent only two seasons at the helm of the Beamer program after taking over for Jarrett Mentink, who was at the school for three seasons.
The Titans have played at the West Central District Tournament the last two years, but have failed to win a game. Beamer finished 10-14 overall last year and ended up in fifth place in the South Puget Sound League South Division.
“It was a pretty easy decision to make to be close to my family,” Richardson said last month. “But my time here at Beamer was good. We went to the playoffs twice and I think I’m leaving the program in good shape.”
Brilhante has been the junior varsity coach at Decatur for the past six years and currently works as the head boys and girls tennis coach at Beamer.
“We are excited about Brent,” Beamer athletic director Jerry Peterson said. “He comes from a program that I have a lot of respect for. He’s a winner. I think Brent will be a good community connection.”
“I hope it’s a long era,” Brihante said. “I’ve always wanted to be a head coach and Todd Beamer really interests me because of being in Federal Way. I know how the city works and know what to expect.”
Brilhante will take many of the basketball philosophies of current Decatur head coach Kevin Olson, but
“I’ve learned a lot from Kevin,” Brilhante said. “But I have my own philosophies. In a perfect world, we will play man-to-man defense. We would have hard-nosed kids who play for 32 minutes. Offensively, I want to run the motion. It gives the kids a little bit of freedom.”
The Titans will, most likely, be a young and inexperienced squad in Brilhante’s first at the helm. Beamer will be without first-team, All-SPSL South Division point guard Dakin Wanquist, who averaged 18.5 points, as well as 6-foot-4 guard Andrew Winton (12.6 points a game). The Titans also lose Alex Hart (7.0 points) and Evan Cook (4.6 points).
Beamer’s leading returner is set to be freshman guard Napa Mefi, who averaged 7.2 points a game and came on strong in the second half of the season with three double-digit scoring games.
“I really want to just make relationships with the kids, city and staff and make sure we are getting the kids that are supposed to be going there,” Brilhante said. “With the open enrollment (in the district), I just want to even out the playing field, making it less hectic for families. I want to make sure kids are going to the correct school in their service area.”
Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, email@example.com