Outgoing Hornets Football Coach Tim Kuhn at the front of his squad following their 2015 playoff loss to Auburn.
By Brent Huelsmann
Five years after taking the helm of the Nashville Hornets football team, head coach Tim Kuhn has resigned. Kuhn will be taking over the reigns of the football team at Brentwood High School in Brentwood, Missouri, where he will also be a P.E. teacher. Kuhn previously was an assistant coach at Brentwood before he took the job in Nashville.
When asked about the decision, Kuhn said, “It was one of the toughest career decisions I’ve ever had to make, because, one how I value this place. Playing here, going to school here, my wife doing the same thing it was tough. I think at the end of it it was a great decision for my family. It’s closer in terms of proximity, I’ve coached there previously. Just being a more present husband, not that was an issue, but just being around will be a little more flexible in terms of my wife’s schedule.” Kuhn went on to say about the decision, “It was a timing thing, an opportunity like this, to me, doesn’t come up very often in terms of proximity and familiarity with the school and the staff, and again it was just perfect timing for me and my wife.”
Kuhn said he made his final decision on Monday May 1, “I was told I had to go through the board for approval, but it seemed like it was pretty much a done deal in terms of Brentwood. I put together my letter late Monday evening and submitted it Tuesday.”
Kuhn took the job as the football coach at NCHS in 2012 after Matt Gajewski’s departure. After going 2-7 in his first two seasons, Kuhn went 17-7 in the next two seasons. This past season, the Hornets finished the year with a 5-4 record and narrowly missed out on the playoffs.
Kuhn had a great run the past few seasons at Nashville Community High School which included a trip to the Semi-Finals of IHSA Class 2A in 2015. Overall Kuhn went 26-25 while coach of the Hornets. Kuhn made the playoffs twice while coach of the Hornets. In 2014, Kuhn took Nashville to the second round of the playoffs before the Hornets fell to Mt. Carmel.
The Hornets made a huge run in 2015 with a trip to the Semi-Finals. That season the Hornets began the playoffs with a thrilling last second win over New Berlin. Nashville would then get back-to-back blowout wins over Sangamon Valley/Tri-City and Athens before falling the Auburn in a frigid semi-final matchup.
While at Nashville, the offensive attack of the Hornets was setting a number of records. In 2014, the Hornets put up 5,053 total yards of offense, 3,929 of which came on the ground, both school records. The 2014 team also scored a school record 454 points. Kuhn talked about the 2014 team and what they meant to him. “In ‘13 coming back to beat West Frankfort. 2013 I think helped build into what happened for us in 2014. It’s those seniors that I will always hold, I hold all of the kids in regards, but that senior class in the season of 2014 helped kind of move the program in the direction that I felt was the vision that I had. I will forever be indebted to that group, because they were the ones that made that happen.”
The 2015 and 2016 teams also had great offensive numbers. In 2015 the Hornets set the record for total passing yards in one season, only to have the record broken in 2016.
Throughout Kuhn’s time at NCHS, the Hornets have had a number of thrilling wins. From Kuhn’s first win over Sparta in 2012 to this season which saw the Hornets have comeback efforts against Carlyle and Pinckneyville. When asked about his most memorable game, Kuhn said. “In terms of games I would probably have a top-25 list, or top-26 that was how many victories I had.”
As for regrets, Kuhn pointed to just two.
“Probably my two biggest regrets about being head coach here is not being able to get us to the State Championship game, and not making the playoffs last year,” he said. “I don’t want to say they’ll haunt me, but it will bother me for a while.”
As for what he learned while coach at NCHS Kuhn said, “It’s about relationships, you can kind of throw the X’s and O’s out if you develop the relationships, and develop the culture. I think those are the two things that as we progressed as a program, I think those are the things that I took on more and more. Again the X’s and O’s, and the fundamentals and all those things are important, but I think once you develop the relationship and they know you care, they are all in. I think that was the biggest thing. When I first got here, I probably focused too much on the fundamentals, and have been very fortunate to learn from some great mentors. Coach Rueter, Coach (Keith) Herring, who I’m taking over for at Brentwood, had a great staff, great support system with my wife and my family. The parents, we established the Friends of Hornet Football. I think we moved the program forward in terms of technology with our endzone camera system, and just the unbelievable amount of equipment. I can’t say enough about the support we were given from the community and the parents. I could talk all day about the positives, because it’s kind of a pinch me scenario. One, I had the opportunity to do this, and two I feel like we’re leaving it in a better situation than when I came in, and to me if you can do that I think we’ve done an ok job, but we could always do better.”
As for if we would see Brentwood on Nashville’s schedule anytime soon, Kuhn would not commit but did say, “I know the basketball team has already been invited to the NIT, so you just never know. It’s not that far. We’ve done some things in the past with Coach Herring and myself, having me there or him here, so we will see if we can get something going.”
Superintendent Ernie Fowler said of Kuhn’s resignation. “We’re going to miss him, he’s done a fine job here in Nashville, and I wish him the best in his future endeavors.”