BLUEFIELD, WV (WVNS) It is not every day when all of a person’s passions line up and brings them to one place. For Tony Coaxum, his passions for football, the military, and cultivating young men brought him to Bluefield State.
“The discipline, the attention to detail. All of those little things that you learned in a military environment, and I took that obviously into my career as an army officer and a lot of things I take over into my life now as a coach,” said Coaxum.
From a young age growing up in Charleston, South Carolina, the military played a large role in Coaxum’s life.
“Born and raised, grew up mainly with my mom who also in the military herself, a real close knit family, kind of raised in a village type deal. You know it takes a village to raise a child, that type of family environment,” said Coaxum.
Following in the footsteps of multiple family members, he decided he wanted to serve. From JROTC to attending college at West Point and playing for their football team, to being stationed at Fort Bragg as an Artillery Officer, Coaxum said he is thankful he had direction and leadership during a pivotal point in his life.
He never saw combat, but instead chose to pursue a career in coaching. He spent time coaching at several different schools, but when he got the call to help rebuild the historic football program at Bluefield State College, it was a role he couldn’t turn down.
“Football is a very militaristic sport. You know you have a group of people trying to from different backgrounds, different economic areas, different ethnicities, religions, all those things all on one common goal to try to accomplish. But in the whole scheme of things, it’s getting a group of people to care for each other, trust each other and understand it’s not about me, it’s about our whole group of what I have to do to accomplish this goal,” said Coaxum.
Coaxum said being a part of the Army Football brotherhood influences every decision he makes to this day. And as he works on game plans in his office, he’s surrounded by reminders of the decisions he made.
Coaxum said he would not be the man he is today without his time in the military and hopes he can provide a similar experience for the men he coaches every day.
“My biggest thing is being in this role. I want to build this program in that same mode of what I have as an Army football player. Being detailed, being disciplined, being accountable to people around you, knowing it’s not just about you, knowing that you don’t do anything by yourself, all those things help shape me into being the leader I am,” said Coaxum.