Before Brandon Isaiah could be introduced as the new football coach at Albemarle High School, he needed to make an addition to his wardrobe -- a red tie.
Sporting his new tie and a blue dress shirt -- matching the colors of his new team -- Isaiah was introduced to his players Thursday afternoon in the gym at AHS. And that meeting ended with another new article of clothing for Isaiah -- an Albemarle Patriots polo, presented by AHS sophomore lineman Nehemiah Lesesane.
"Man, he's very excited; energetic. And I'm glad to have him," Lesesane said after meeting his new coach. "When he's in the room, he turns up everyone. You feel that energy running through your body. And I'm just really excited for this upcoming season."
The AHS job is Isaiah's first head coaching opportunity, after spending the last nine years as a high school assistant in the area. The Virginia football alum -- he lettered three years at fullback for the Cavaliers before graduating in 2004 -- got began his coaching career with the Patriots, then spent some time at Charlottesville High School before coaching at Monticello the past three years.
"I'm aware of the process. I know it takes a lot of time," Isaiah said Thursday. "But sometimes opportunities just kind of peek out of the bushes, and you've just got to be ready to grab it. So I'm excited to be here, having the opportunity to lead a program, and create some more opportunities for some young kids."
Isaiah spoke to his team for about 30 minutes on Thursday. He encouraged players to be active in the weight room this offseason, and told them he wouldn't settle on any schemes for the Patriots until getting to know the team's personnel better.
He also stressed that he hoped to be more than just a football coach for his players.
"First thing I want those guys to know, I'm here for them," he said. "I'm not just their football coach. I consider myself to be a mentor, maybe a father figure to some of these kids. I want the parents to feel good about leaving their kids who will be in this football program. I just really want everything to flow smoothly, and I'm looking forward to getting into this coaching staff and like I said, building something special around here in the area."
Isaiah is taking over a team that went 6-4 during the regular season last year, and reached the playoffs for the first time in 10 years. He replaces Mike Alley, who stepped down as head coach at AHS in January.
And Isaiah saw first-hand last fall -- the Patriots knocked off previously unbeaten Monticello 21-20 last October -- what his new team is capable of.
"Well, I was humbled by these young men about a year ago. They came over to Monticello and beat us," he said with a wide smile. "So obviously they have talent. They were a very good team last year; they've got some good coaching going on here. So I'm really hopeful for what I can bring to the table."
Isaiah joins Mark Fischer -- who returned to Louisa County High School in February after three years in South Carolina -- as new head coaches in the Jefferson District entering the 2014 season.
"I'm excited, man. I'm just excited," Isaiah said. "Having an opportunity to lead a program. And we've got some great coaches in the area. Obviously Mark Fischer coming back here. And one of my good buddies, Jeff Woody. And what Coach Keita (Malloy) has going at Orange. There's a lot of great coaching, and a lot of great talent. And I'm just looking forward to being a part of all of it."
"I'm a humble guy, and just looking forward to kind of trying to write my own history here."