Brethren tabs familiar faces as new football, baseball coaches

Brethren Bobcat Logo

BRETHREN — Brethren High School likes to use the motto, “Small School, Big Family,” and apparently that extends to varsity coaching hires.

The Brethren School Board approved two already-prominent members of the Bobcat family as the school’s new varsity football and baseball coaches at its regular board meeting on Monday.

Brethren’s football program will now be led by current boys basketball coach J.J. Randall, and the varsity baseball team will have current girls basketball coach Julie Riggs at the helm.

Randall, currently in his third season as the Bobcats’ boys basketball head coach, is no stranger to coaching two varsity sports in the same year. He started Brethren’s varsity girls soccer program and was its head coach through the 2016 campaign.

Randall takes over from longtime head coach Alvin Rischel, who coached Bobcat football at all levels starting in 1998. Rischel stepped down after the 2017 season, in which Brethren posted a record of 3-5. Randall served as junior varsity coach last year.

Randall, who plans to stay on as head basketball coach, said that he has no problem with the extra time commitment of a second varsity head coaching job.

“I’m very excited,” Randall said. “I have a relationship with the kids, and I don’t really think of it as time-consuming. It’s just another opportunity to reach kids and give them a positive influence.”

Riggs will be Brethren’s fourth head baseball coach in five years, and takes over a program that has won its last two consecutive Division 4 district championships.

“This is huge,” Riggs said. “Our whole family has always been involved in baseball, and stepping into a coaching role to make a difference in the lives of other kids who love the game as much as we do is super-exciting.”

Riggs has never coached baseball at the varsity level, but said that she has extensive experience in Little League and travel ball.

“My husband and I started out with the Little League program out in Wellston,” she said. “We coached through there for 13 years, and (sons) Josh and Jake have been in travel ball for the last eight. I’ve been in the dugout for all of those travel teams and helped out with coaching and scoring and practices and all that, so I’ve been more than just a mom in the stands.”

Riggs takes over from Brethren alumnus Roddy MacNeil who coached the Bobcats for the past two years, winning a district title in each.

She said that the district “three-peat” and a league title will be realistic goals in her first year in charge.

“Having been in the district winning circle for two years in a row, to me there’s no reason why it doesn’t happen a third time,” Riggs said.


Posted by Scott Yoshonis

Scott is the sports editor of the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach him at (231) 398-3112 or

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