Oakland High School's Kevin Creasy had somewhat of an inauspicious beginning to his football coaching career.
"My first coaching job was when I was at UT-Martin and did a practicum at Gleason High School, and we went 0-10," Creasy recalled. We had 19 players and went to Dresden, who was 0-9, on the last game of the season and got beat 6-0. We put all of that time and effort in it and still went 0-10."
Creasy admits his first taste of coaching at the high school level served as a "learning lesson," but it's a distant memory now.
He has won five state championships -- three at Trousdale County and two of the last three 6A titles at Oakland.
His Patriots went 15-0 this season -- the first perfect season in the program's storied history -- and mowed down everyone in their path, including whipping Brentwood 56-33 in the BlueCross Bowl state championship game.
For his efforts, Creasy has been named The Murfreesboro Post Rutherford County Sports Person of the Year.
"It's been a special year with a good group of guys -- a bunch of unselfish guys who never really cared who got the credit," Creasy said. "We've had good players and good coaches, but a lot of times the team with the best players don't win.
"We had good chemistry. They would sacrifice their own recognition for the team's recognition. I thought that was big."
Creasy, who was raised in Hoenwald, said he knew at an early age he wanted to coach.
"I grew up in Hohenwald. It's hard to get to and harder to get out," he said. "It's Lewis County and I played for coach (Bobby) Sharp there. His first year was my freshman year in 1988. Bobby ran the wing-T and that had an influence on me. He had coached under John Tucker at Milan.
"I was probably in high school when I knew I wanted to coach. When I played it was pretty much and offensive and defensive coordinator and a couple of other guys that helped out. I was really fond of my coaches. I figured it was something I could do to where I would enjoy going to work every day.
"I went to UT-Martin and worked in the athletic department and that helped pay for my school. I worked with a bunch of good coaches and worked with a lot of sports, and it kept me on path to coaching."
It's been quite a journey for Creasy.
After student teaching at Obion Central an Inman Middle in Paris, he got his first coaching job at Warren County under Glen Campbell.
"That was my first job," Creasy said. "I coached middle school ball and was an assistant for coach Campbell. I didn't know anybody, and it was good for me. It made me spend a lot of time with just football. We went 4-6 that year and ended up beating Oakland in 1997.We almost broke the playoff drought they had for years and years. By their standards we had a good year."
Creasy then left Warren County to become an assistant at Henry County under coach Donnie Webb in 1998.
"Glen gave me my first job and Donnie took me under his wing," Creasy said. "I stayed there three years and really got to learn the defensive side. Randy Wyatt took over at Bolivar Central and took me as his defensive coordinator. That was the way my career was going. I was single. I could load all of my stuff up in the trunk of my car. I was smart enough to never own anything early in my career."
Creasy's next stop ended up being an important one.
He became the defensive coordinator under coach Clint Saterfield at Trousdale County and was part of the staff that won the 2005 state championship. He was the defensive coordinator at Riverdale for one season and returned to Trousdale County as the head coach in 2008.
After seven seasons and three state titles at Trousdale County, Creasy became Oakland's next coach.
"I took coach Steven Jackson with me and now I've got several guys who have been with me," Creasy said. "That first year we projected the long-term. We wanted to win immediately, but we felt like if we stuck with the principles we could have success long-term."
"We've been fortunate. Our feeder programs are doing well. Our middle school won the county championship this year and so did our freshmen team. And our JV hasn't lost a game since I've been here, and our varsity went undefeated.
"It's not a one-man show. It takes everybody. We started by building a program, not a team. We set this thing for the long haul."
As for the long haul, the Patriots are showing no signs of slowing down. Creasy appreciates what he's been able to accomplish, but he certainly doesn't take it for granted.
"It's not easy. There is a lot of hard work and a lot of long hours that goes into our success," he said. "People may think about the talent pool and how much we've dominated this region and that it kind of comes easy.
"It doesn't. We like to pride ourselves and we feel working hard and sacrificing is why we are where we are. We've been lucky to have a core group of coaches and we've had a lot of continuity."