When Ed Redmond started his job as the Western Albemarle head football coach, he says he quickly figured out that linebacker Tommy Mullin would be one of his team's leaders.
"I got the job back in April and I met Tommy and a couple of his teammates, and I knew right then he was going to be something special," Redmond says of his star linebacker.
Mullin thrived as a captain for the Warriors, and says he learned his leadership skills from Western's captains that came before him.
"I've played varsity for, this is my fourth year, and I've watched Mitchell Parks, who is probably the greatest linebacker to ever come through Western, and I've watched kids like Austin Ellis and people like that," he said. "I get my leadership from there, and just watching them."
The Warriors finished the season 10-2, and and reached the region semifinals before falling to Jefferson District rival Monticello. Redmond says a big reason for the team's success in his first year was the leadership of players like Mullin.
"His ability to lead his peers is probably the most impressive, you know, because guys would follow Tommy. When you talk in this day and age of a student athlete, it's tough to lead your peers, but you know Tommy Mullin certainly did that for us."
Mullin was a vocal leader, but also the team's defensive leader on the field. He earned second team all-region honors and was named first
team All-Jefferson District.
"He brought what, you know, we were trying to do here," said Redmond. "He brought us a little toughness, brought us a little bit of an idea of playing defensive football, and that hasn't been the case at Western for quite some time."
For Mullin, that toughness is a result of his hard work and the extra push he's gotten from his coaches.
"We were in the weight room in the mornings three days a week
before school, and that was tough. That definitely kept me motivated, and I kept on working from there. When Coach Redmond came in, he taught me loads of lessons. I mean he really changed what I view as football and work ethics."