Less than one year after accepting the head coaching job at Ridgeland High School, Cortney Braswell, is moving on to the major college ranks.
After being hired in Feb. 2018 to take over the Panther program after Wesley Tankersley left to take over the football program at Stephens County High School in Toccoa, Ga., Braswell stepped down on Thursday and has accepted an offer to join the football staff at the University of Louisville.
"You always want an opportunity to be at the top of your profession," Braswell said. "I've always been a competitor and I've always wanted to be the best I can be. That's the way I'm wired and it's the way my mom was wired. I never really thought this would be a possibility, but I knew no one was going to outwork me."
"Coach Cortney Braswell has accepted the position of Defensive Quality Control at the University of Louisville in the NCAA’s Atlantic Coast Conference after one season as Ridgeland High School’s football head coach," Ridgeland High School stated in a press release. "The Walker County Board of Education, Superintendent Damon Raines and Ridgeland’s Administrative Team are grateful for Coach Braswell’s service to the Panther Nation and are excited about his opportunities to pursue his passion for football at the next level."
Braswell led the Panthers to an 8-4 overall record in 2018, a Region 6-AAAA runner-up finish and a 34-14 state playoff victory over favored Flowery Branch before a second-round loss at Cartersville, the eventual state runner-up. Ridgeland also scored a big regular-season road win at Sandy Creek.
Braswell, a standout at Rossville Middle School, came to Ridgeland after a two-year stint at Chattanooga Central, which saw the Purple Pounders advance to the TSSAA state playoffs twice. Prior to that, Braswell - who went on to play at running back at Chattanooga's Baylor School and later at Liberty University - was an assistant coach at several Tri-State area schools.
At Louisville, Braswell will work alongside defensive coach Dale Jones as part of Scott Satterfield's new staff. Satterfield, the former head coach at Appalachian State, is bringing Jones with him to the Cardinals as he was recently hired to take over the Louisville program.
Central and Ridgeland both attended preseason camps at Appalachian State in the past and Braswell got to know and learn from both coaches, especially Jones, over the past few years.
"I'll working with Dale on the biggest possible stage and I can't ask for more," Braswell added. "I'm excited to get to work and it's humbling that they chose me."
"There's no place like home," the Rossville native added. "I wouldn't have left Ridgeland unless it was for a big-time Power Five conference job. Most everywhere I've been has been a rebuilding job of some sort, with the exception of Ridgeland, and I'm excited to get to be a part of the rebuilding process at Louisville. It's a blessing be able to be a part of the ACC. This is big-time football. We're opening on Sept. 2 against Notre Dame at the 'Ville and it's going to be nuts.
"We did a lot of good things at Ridgeland. We were 2-3 against Top 10 opposition, which is a step in the right direction. We were able to upgrade the facilities, maximize the fundraising and get people excited about the program."
Ridgeland High School also stated in its release that current and longtime assistant head coach Kip Klein will assume responsibility for all football operations as Ridgeland’s administration considers the football program’s direction for the 2019 season.