Bullard steps down at West Forsyth

Published 7:34 pm Monday, July 10, 2023

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By Jay Spivey

CLEMMONS — Brad Bullard, who has been both a player and a coach for most of the last 25 years, announced Monday that he was resigning as the head baseball coach at West Forsyth High School after 10 seasons.

Bullard, 39, who took over for Randy Pope, his former head coach at West Forsyth, after being an assistant coach with Pope the previous six seasons, for the 2014 season finished with an overall record of 175-74.

In 2014, Bullard’s first season as head coach, he helped West Forsyth win the NCHSAA Class 4-A state championship after defeating Richmond Senior 6-3 in game three of the best-of-three series at UNC Greensboro. In addition, he played at West Forsyth from 1998-02 for Pope, and during his senior season, West Forsyth went to the NCHSAA Class 4-A state championship and lost to Fuquay-Varina.

“It’s just time,” Bullard said. “Me and Mr. (Kevin) Spainhour (principal at West Forsyth) and Mr. (Mike) Pennington (athletic director at West Forsyth) have talked a lot the past two weeks. And then I think I called Mr. Spainhour Saturday morning.”

West Forsyth finished this past season 19-9 overall and 10-4 in the Central Piedmont 4-A. West Forsyth defeated Davie County 5-4 in the conference-tournament championship and went on to play in the NCHSAA Class 4-A tournament. It defeated Charlotte Catholic 5-4 on May 9, but a loss at Northwest Guilford 7-1 on May 12 ended the season.

“I’ve got a 5-year-old son (Beckett),” Bullard said. “You know, he’s very active in sports, and you know, as he’s gotten older, I felt like every year from year one to two to three to four to five, it just for me personally, it’s just gotten harder and harder and harder each year missing his stuff, and then this year, obviously, he played baseball in the fall and spring, and of course, during the spring I missed a lot of his stuff and missed some of his games.

“You know, that’s hard. It’s real hard. And I shared that with Mr. Spainhour and Mr. Pennington. And those guys have been – I’ve told my assistant coaches and told my family those two men have been so great to me. The last two weeks, they’ve been very patient. They knew hard this decision this was for me, and then, very understanding.”

Although Bullard has been thinking about the decision, he and his family are at the beach. He told his players over Zoom on Monday that he was resigning.

“I knew telling the boys would be the hardest for me out of everything,” Bullard said. “And it was.”

Pennington said that he, Spainhour and Bullard had spoken extensively over the past two weeks about the possibility of Bullard resigning.

“I was very surprised when he first brought it up to Mr. Spainhour and I because I know how much Brad Bullard loves West Forsyth and how much he loves baseball,” Pennington said. “But the man’s making a decision. I mean, he has agonized over this. He has sat in Mr. Spainhour’s office, and he has agonized, but he just feels like this is what he’s got to do for his son. And you can’t ever, obviously, fault the man for choosing family.”

The decision wasn’t just about spending more time with his son. Bullard weighed heavily on what his wife, Madison, thought.

“Ever since me and Madison started dating – I think, honestly, we started dating my first year as head coach 10 years ago,” Bullard said. “So, you know, it’s been hard. It’s been her life, too, for 10 years. Literally, all 10 years we’ve been together, I’ve been the head coach.

“She’s experienced the highs and lows of being a head coach’s wife. She’s sacrificed a ton. And but she’s been very supportive.”

Beckett Bullard is also at the age where he understands what his dad does.

“He knows,” Brad Bullard said. “It tore to pieces this spring. He played baseball at Southwest (Little League) like I did. And you know, towards the end of the season, he had a couple of games where we were doing makeup games.”
Bullard, who will remain at West Forsyth as a sports marketing teacher, won’t be coaching baseball anymore for the Titans, but he could coach his son.

“You know, I’ve actually asked,” Bullard said. “I don’t know if I’m going to coach him or sit back and watch. Of course, the past couple weeks, I’ve been going back and forth on that. I’ve sort of played around with him and said, ‘Do you want Daddy to coach?,’ And, of course, he lights up and grins from ear to ear and says, ‘Yeah, of course.’ So, that makes you feel good as a parent.”

Both Pennington and Spainhour were former head coaches and are both fathers.

“Mr. Spainhour and I both being coaches, I thought we could give him what we think, and both of us being dads, too,” Pennington said. “I said, ‘Brad, don’t think I’m trying to sway you away from making the decision for your family. You know, we want you to be the West Forsyth baseball coach, but we want you to be a dad first. And if this is what you’ve got to do, then this is what you’ve got to do. And he ultimately decided this was a move he had to make.”

The position of head coach has been posted, according to Pennington.

“Typically, that doesn’t happen where you choose your successor,” Pennington said. “But he’s in the baseball world, so he knows people we don’t know.”

Bullard is the fourth varsity head coach at West Forsyth – Adrian Snow in football, Jason Hooker in wrestling and Scott Bilton in girls soccer, who have resigned since last fall.

“Obviously, me and Coach Bilton and Coach Snow are good friends,” Bullard said. “I think you get to a point, man, it’s just you realize, and I know for me and talking to former coaches and even current coaches, man, you just realize how quick life goes by.”

Also, he would like to stay in athletics in some way. That role hasn’t been defined yet.

“Brad will be involved in athletics,” Pennington said. “He does the clock at football, and he’ll probably be involved in some of those types of things. He’s going to be involved in West Forsyth athletics. He’s too much of an asset not to use him. He’s very smart. He’s hard-working. He’s organized. Those are the type of people that you keep working. And he bleeds green.”