Brian Nelson has worked extensively in athletic administration at Smiths Station since arriving in 2016. Now, he'll help lead the way for the Panthers this school year.
Smiths Station has promoted Nelson as its new male sports athletic director. He steps in alongside Shana Johnson, who is the athletic director for the school's female sports.
Nelson replaces Adam Johnson, who was recently named assistant principal and athletic director at Beulah.
"It's a blessing. It's something that when I came to Smiths Station three years ago, during that first year I really kind of found myself falling love with the idea of being an athletic administrator," Nelson said. "I've been blessed to be around people who gave me opportunities to grow and continue to get better. We have great kids here who are willing to accept being uncomfortable, wanting to grow, wanting to be leaders and wanting to get better."
During his time at Smiths Station, Nelson has been an assistant coach for the football and softball teams. He also served as the athletic department's academic coordinator last year, a position he hopes will be filled by someone else for this school year.
Nelson, a graduate of UAB and Childersburg High School, taught in Childersburg prior to coming to Smiths Station. He was the head softball coach at Childersburg High and also coached baseball and football before following head football coach Adam Fossett to Smiths Station prior to the 2016-2017 school year.
For Nelson, the promotion is about picking up right where Johnson left off.
"The ball is already rolling in a good direction," Nelson said. "I want to see us continue to grow. The term we use here is elite. We don't use it as in trying to be better than everybody else. We want to be the best versions of ourselves. Smiths isn't trying to be Hoover or Thompson or any other school. We want to be the best Smiths Station that we can be.
"The vision is to provide that opportunity, to push kids to be elite and to be the best version of themselves that they can be."
Nelson pointed out the recent success of several Smiths Station teams, including the softball and baseball teams reaching the state semifinals in 2018 and the football team having a resurgence last fall.
The school year for Smiths Station began Tuesday, and Nelson is eager to get into the swing of things in his new role.
"I'm very excited for new opportunities," Nelson said. "Since the day Adam left, I knew the void had to be filled. I just hit the ground running and haven't really stopped. We've got a lot of stuff we've got to do.
"It's really exciting. You can feel the electricity in the air here. Everybody's ready to get in and get going."