Brian Humphrey took over a Seneca Valley Boys Basketball program in the Fall of 2014, after serving as an assistant coach at rival Damascus for many years. Humphrey came to Germantown to helm a program that had won one game in the two years prior to his hiring.
Earlier this month, Humphrey was named Coach of the Year by his coaching peers at Montgomery County High Schools. Since becoming head coach at Seneca, all Brian Humphrey is done turn losers into winners. He’s taken the Screaming Eagles to the 3A West regional finals twice and emerged victorious this season.
He’s not just turning teams into winners; he’s turning boys into men. He doesn’t coach the team, he coaches the player, and he doesn’t just coach the player, he reaches the person.
“You have to reach the person inside the player,” said Humphrey.
“We are extremely proud of Brian,” said Seneca Valley Athletic Director Jesse Irvin, “but it is also well deserved. He is extremely dedicated to his job and is one of if not the hardest working basketball coach in the county.”
“What is great about Brian,” said Irvin, “is that he is so much more than a coach. He is a mentor and teacher to all of his student athletes. They look up to him and value his words and his actions, which he does a great job in modeling. He is even-keeled at practice and on the sideline, never allowing any one moment or situation to cause him to lose his focus.”
“It is very humbling. It means I must be doing a few things right in leading our guys and helping them become better young men. Hopefully, we have been able to teach them some skills that will make them be successful off the court, as well as on the court.”
The first thing that Humphrey said when asked about the honor of being named Coach of the Year was, “It should read Coaching Staff of the Year.” Humphrey credited his assistant coaches, Will Kelley, Matt Minter, and Ron Auguste with a very large portion of the success the program has enjoyed in the last two years.
Humphrey is at a slight disadvantage than other MCPS coaches since he does not work at Seneca Valley High School, as such leans on his assistant coaches. Humphrey is an MCPS teacher, but he teaches fourth grade at Willam B. Gibbs Jr. Elementary in Germantown.
“Since I don’t work at Seneca Valley, having a strong staff that is at the school is especially important,” said Humphrey. “I believe that if you are around good people, you will do good things. These guys were great pitching in and doing things ranging from helping out with study hall to planning practices to game planning they were instrumental to our success. In their ability to talk to players and making sure that the players are loved and supported. It was all of us as a staff working toward that goal.”
“Winning the region was so special,” said Humphrey, “to see the overall excitement for the players at the school, the coaching staff, and the Seneca Valley community. To have that moment where it all of the work proved to be successful for the community was amazing. To watch these guys obtain the goal that they had set for themselves while we didn’t achieve the goal of winning a state title, but winning the region was a huge accomplishment. It was great for the guys to have that moment which they will cherish for the rest of their lives.”
Humphrey also credited the Lead ‘Em Up leadership program which he brought into Seneca Valley to help his players not just become better on the court but become better leaders.
“We had some success this season on the floor, for sure,” said Humphrey, “but we brought in a leadership coach who has been helping to teach the boys leadership skills, and I think that translated to help our guys be successful on the court.”
The Lead ‘Em Up program is run by Adam Bradley and provides high school coaches an engaging, cutting-edge curriculum designed to train coaches to teach their players the dynamics of leadership and character.
“The leadership program helped them come together and support each other,” said Humphrey. “It is easy to be happy when things are going well, but the leadership program helped the team when things got difficult. We struggled through some things this season. The Lead ‘em Up program helped the kids understand each other better and allowed them to better support each other.”
One of the low points of the season was the death of Humphrey’s father, James Humphrey, who was a constant presence around the Seneca Valley basketball program. James Humphrey had kept the scorebook for Damascus during his son’s time an assistant there, and continued in the role at Seneca Valley.
James Humphrey became part of the Seneca Valley, basketball family. His sudden death on January 28 shook the Seneca Valley basketball family and caused the team to grow closer, to develop a bond. It galvanized the Eagles.
“I will always cherish seeing the entire team attending my father’s funeral,” said Humphrey. “It meant a lot to me. After my father passed, I made sure I told my guys every day that I loved them. If players know that you care about them, they are more willing to listen to you in terms of other things. You have to reach the person inside the player.”
Top: Seneca Valley Head Coach Brian Humphrey standing in front of his staff and his players at during the National Anthem in the Xfinity Center in College Park, before the team played in the Maryland State Semi-Finals back in March. Humphrey was named Coach of the Year by the Montgomery County Basketball Coaches.
Next: Coach Brian Humphrey cutting down the nets at Seneca Valley High School after his team won the 3A West Regional Championship.
Next: Humphrey and his Screaming Eagles.
Photos by Germantown Pulse.