Grand Rapid's youngest coach: Brandoen Guyton
From the classroom to the hardwood, Brandoen has always been about self-progression, even when his time as a player came to an end.
While Brandoen’s time as a player was short lived, his current skillset had done nothing but cost him a first class seat on the bench. Why that’s such a significant seat? Because instead of taking the shots, Brandoen would be calling them.
At age 22, a good majority of people are either contemplating how to jumpstart their careers, or simply getting ready to graduate from college as they prepare to take on the real world that awaits them. Brandoen however, had already figured out his purpose in life after graduating from Cornerstone University, with his bachelors in psychology.
While Brandoen serves as the youngest head basketball coach in Grand Rapids at age 27, he once was the youngest head coach in the state of Michigan at age 22, when he was hired to coach Grand Rapids Creston. Guyton now coaches at Creston’s cross town rival, Union High School, a role in which he first fulfilled during the 2013- '14 season. As he continues to grow and progress his players as a team, he still takes on the ongoing challenge of progressing himself.
“It is truly a blessing to even be in this position. For most young coaches, a lot of people will have doubt in you because someone has created a misconception, that only older coaches can be successful, which they can be, but who’s to say a young coach can’t be either, said Coach Guyton. “I had to learn how to prepare for games and adjust to the varsity level. You have to manage your program on and off the court, you are in charge of thousands of dollars, and most importantly, you are depended on by thousands of teenagers that look up to you, which are all things I had to understand as a young coach.”
Being tasked with the duties and responsibilities that come along with the head coaching position seems like a tough enough challenge in itself, once you throw family into the mix, you have yourself a whole new challenge which calls for a whole new game plan.
“It is very, very, very hard, and once was a challenge for me but it can be done,” said Guyton. “Most coaches will tell you that your biggest supporter when coaching is your spouse. She has to understand the grind of coaching, but as well as a coach, we must understand the value of our families and our own health.”
When asked if he thinks he could task the role of being a collegiate head coach, he made it clear that it would be a great opportunity, but the timing would have to be right.
“In 10 years, I will be 37 years old, which would give me 19 years of coaching experience. I have had college coaches at the NAIA and Junior College level who express interest in me joining their staff, but I feel the situation and timing as to be right,” said Guyton. “I have two young boys who come first in my life, and you could only imagine how busy coaching at the collegiate level would be. I do not want to miss out on them growing up.”
While Coach Guyton won’t force basketball and hoop dreams on his sons, he will patiently wait and continue to work with his family on the court who do have hoop dreams.
“I would like to continue to build our brand at Union. We have had college coaches from all levels come into the gym ever since I’ve been here,” Guyton said pleased. "There’s a lot to be happy about here. We have had a 100% graduation rate since I have been here, I have kids in college, and I have kids who are being productive in life. Now it’s time to pile up some wins, and must continue to build ourselves.”
Piling up the wins is definitely something that should be the focal point of the season for Coach Guyton and the Red Hawks as they are coming off of a 13-8 record from last season making it Guyton’s second best season yet, who were 8-2 at the 10 game mark. Coach Guyton’s best season actually came during the 2013- ’14 season when he and the Red Hawks went 15-7.
“We as a team need to be consistent with our development as well as trusting the process,” Guyton said. “We can’t be happy with winning a few games, as we are trying to prepare for March and hoping to play our best basketball down the stretch.” Just as any good coach would, Guyton took the responsibly for his team’s effort last season saying, “I do not see my team folding at the midway point like we did last season, and I take majority of the blame for our poor play in the second half.”
Coach Guyton and the Red Hawks are currently 5-1, and looking to embark on yet another past season improvement.