Copperas Cove V Shoemaker

Copperas Cove coach Dusty Brittain talks to his team between innings against Shoemaker on March 21, 2017, at Shoemaker High School.

Dusty Brittain is leaving, but he will always be in reach.

After taking over a struggling program five seasons ago and turning it into one of the district’s elite, Copperas Cove head baseball coach Dusty Brittain recently stepped down and accepted the same position at Seguin.

Although the job change requires a 120-mile relocation, the distance will not affect his relationship with the players remaining behind.

“By far,” Brittain said, “the hardest part of this is leaving the guys because of the personal relationships you develop and build. I’ve had the seniors for three full years, so I know its tough for them, because it is tough for me, but I’ll always be here for them if they need anything.

“I just wish I could bring them with me.”

Brittain, however, cannot.

A talented core, including seniors Jacob Wagner, Nick Izquierdo, Colby Jost, Michael Goudeau, Justin Velesky and Josh Ropple, will look to continue the winning tradition Brittain established during his tenure with the Bulldawgs.

In 2013, Brittain, who was previously an assistant coach at Gatesville, inherited Copperas Cove’s program on the heels of a combined 10-32 district showing during the previous three seasons. In the span, the Bulldawgs collected just two district victories twice.

Copperas Cove narrowly missed the playoffs in Brittain’s first year, extending the Bulldawgs’ drought to six consecutive seasons, but the streak came to an end in 2015. The team advanced to the playoffs every year since except 2017, when Belton won a playoff play-in game to capture the district’s final berth.

Last season, Copperas Cove placed second in the District 8-6A standings, finishing with an overall record of 25-6-2.

Despite the accomplishments, Brittain accepts little credit for the Bulldawgs’ turnaround.

“The kids really bought into what I was selling,” he said, “and I had some really great coaches around me.

“When you have that, and you have kids that want to work hard and be successful, you really just have to point them in the right direction. It’s a testament to them more than anything I did.”

Copperas Cove posted the opening on the district’s website Monday, stating applications will be accepted through July 9.

The Bulldawgs are not the only ones uncertain about exactly what their future holds, though.

“Honestly,” Brittain said, “I don’t know much about Seguin’s program, but everybody I’ve spoke to in that area has said it is just a hotbed for baseball.”

The Matadors, who went 9-19-1 last season, have not been to the playoffs since 2014, when they lost to Cedar Park Vista Ridge in the second round.

Seguin competes in District 26-5A along with Boerne Champion, Kerrville Tivy, San Antonio Veterans Memorial, San Antonio Harlandale, San Antonio Kennedy, San Antonio McCollum, San Antonio Memorial and San Antonio Wagner.

Regardless of records or opponents, Brittain knows it will take time and effort to transform the Matadors into his vision for the program, but he is excited for the opportunity.

“I’m ready for a change and a challenge,” Brittain said. “I’m going to miss Cove, and it is not an easy decision by any means, but I welcome the challenge.”

Contact Clay Whittington at clayw@kdhnews.com

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