‘Legendary’ high school soccer coach explains how its more than just a game

Purcell celebrates 20 seasons as Bruins head soccer coach
Published: Jun. 3, 2022 at 5:39 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - For the last 22 years, Mike Purcell has served as the Brentwood High School boys soccer coach, which was not something he was expecting to happen.

“I didn’t even come here to coach; I came to teach, but they needed a coach, and I was happy to do it, so here we are,” Coach Purcell said.

For seven of the 22 years, Purcell coached both boys and girls soccer at BHS, earning the school four winning titles since 2005. He has gotten a tattoo for each of those state championships to commemorate the memory, making it a permanent part of him.

“I think he will be here forever because the program without Mike Parcell really isn’t the program,” Assistant coach Eric Bowen said. Bowen is also a former player of Purcell’s.

This season, the Bruins won their first title since 2012, and the tattoo, like others, will have a story.

The title game was one of the best performances in BHS history, a tribute to the comradery of the team, which is not only built on the pitch according to Coach Purcell but built in his classroom.

“It’s just their space, it’s exclusive to them, and they have benefited from that,” Purcell told News4.

Coach Purcell’s classroom, which serves as Brentwood soccer haven, has also been a part of the program, just like the extra tasks Coach Purcell chooses to take on.

Purcell told News4 that he cuts the grass on the field, fertilizes and mows it, cuts the weeds, and does more care to ensure the lawn is in good condition.

But there is nothing regular about Coach Purcell. His players described him as compassionate, funny, and energetic, but most of all, someone who not only teaches but learns from his students as well.

“It helped me a lot when my youngest son passed away seven years ago. Coaching and being around the kids has been a help to me.”

Coach Purcell has won over 330 games at BHS, earning the title many students gave him, a legend.

“I like teaching, and I like coaching; I don’t know how retirement could be better than what I’m doing now,” Coach Purcell told News4.

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