Coach Briggs was the perfect man for the position. Jordan is his alma mater and he was determined to turn the program around. "I remember sitting in my dorm room at college and talking to my buddies about what we wanted to do in the future," says Briggs. "I mentioned that I wanted to coach high school football at some point. I didn't know at the time it would be Jordan."
Starting in 2002, his second season as head coach, Mike Briggs has taken his team to the playoffs every year. In addition, the Falcons have advanced to at least the second round each of the past four seasons. In 2006, Coach Briggs was named the PAC-6 Coach of the Year for winning the conference title after being expected to finish near the bottom. Not surprisingly, he is already the school's all-time winningest football coach.
Despite his early success on the football field, Coach Briggs finds academics much more important than victories. He graduated from Elon University in 1988 with a degree in physical education, and he wants his players to be afforded the same opportunity to succeed. All Jordan underclassmen are required to be involved in after school tutoring and are encouraged to perform well in the classroom, knowing that their coach collects progress reports throughout the year.
"[Coach Briggs'] student-athletes know that if they misbehave in class or let their grades fall, they will face consequences [at practice] in the afternoon," states Jordan Athletic Director David Davis.
The discipline and accountability are paying off. In each of Coach Briggs' years as head coach, more than 90% of his seniors have gone on to attend four-year colleges, and 26 Jordan players have gone on to play college football.
"I really appreciate when some of the kids that I coached my first few years come back to visit after finishing up college," says Briggs. "They tell me how the work ethic and lessons I taught them helped them in other areas at college. It's nice to see I have a positive influence on them."
But perhaps Coach Briggs' greatest achievement is the effect he has had on the school and community. "He works extremely hard to make sure the community of Southwest Durham feels invested in the Jordan Falcons football program," says Davis. "He constantly stresses that the football program is a family, no matter your race, economic background, or whatever struggles you may be enduring."
Coach Briggs has created an environment where families, friends, and neighbors want to be involved in the football program. Since he has taken the reigns of the program, he has doubled the number of student-athletes that participate in the football program from 60 to over 120 each year.
Briggs emphasizes the importance of community to his team as well. He and his players mentor local middle school students about what to expect in high school, how to make the adjustment, and the importance of maintaining high character. The team also shows support for the middle school football programs by attending their games.
Because of the hard work of Mike Briggs, the Jordan High School football program is admired for its resolve and character. The Carolina Panthers wish Mike Briggs and the Jordan Falcons continued success.