Wes Branstetter Named 2017 Oklahoma Coach of the Year
Pictured Above with WSA 99 Girls in 2008
In February of 2017, a full year ago, Coach Wes Branstetter was named Oklahoma Boys Coach of the year by Oklahoma Soccer Association. WSA Media Relations department archived an article on this achievevement during a website transition. Since coach Wes just turned OLDER this past week (Happy Birthday!), WSA Media Relations decided what better time than now to cover this story.
Coach Wes Branstetter is a WSA Alumni, having played for the WSA 85 Boys team which completed possibly the best all-time single season in WSA history. The team played 75 games during their senior year, encountering only 4 losses, the final loss in the Oklahoma State Final on a late goal conceded to Tulsa Nationals 85 (who would go on to win a Regional Championship and land in the National Final Four). WSA 85 was also invtied to play the El Paso Patriots a then "A-Divison" professional team, one level below the MLS. WSA 85 put on a good performance in a match televised by UNIVISION losing a hard fought battle to the professional club. Branstetter was a starter, captain, and mainstay during one of the most prolfiic seasons by any WSA team, and among the top for any Oklahoma team. It would be just a few years later that he began his first coaching stint at WSA after having played a brief college career at Anderson College in South Carolina and also a brief stint at The University of Tulsa.
As a WSA Coach, Wes has led the WSA 99 Girls, WSA 97 Boys, WSA 2000 Boys, WSA 99 Boys, and most recently the WSA 2003 Girls. He also served as assistant to Ryan Bush on the WSA '92 Boys team. In that time his teams have reached numerous Oklahoma State Finals, regularly succeeding on state, regional, and even national scales. This past summer Wes, along with Coach Ryan Bush, helped lead the WSA 98 Girls Red to the National Elite 8 at the US Youth National Championships. Wes is one of WSA's Directors of Coaching, specifically functioning as the Director of Development. Wes has also been the Assistant Women's Soccer Coach at Oral Roberts University since 2015. In that time the program has garnered 4 different Summit League Conference Runner-Up distinctions and numerous other individual player accolades.
WSASOCCER.ORG caught up with Wes shortly after OSA had named him the 2017 Boys Coach of the Year last February, and here's what he had to say.
DESCRIBE ANY UNIQUE EXPERIENCE WITH YOUR FIRST TEAMS.
I dont know if there is a unique situation but something that sticks with me about the 97s. This was my first group that I was the head coach. I was always so proud of how they taught each other about never giving up, and even as we added players the new kids embraced that. We had many ups and down but one thing I knew is that the 97s would never give up. I can remember so many games where they had every chance to give up but they would fight until the final whistle and many comebacks from 2+ goal deficits. They would compete all the time whether it was a fitness race, a game, training session, etc.
WHY DID YOU BEGIN COACHING?
It was my opportunity to give back to a game that gave me so much as a youth, and I absolutely love soccer.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU’VE FOUND IN COACHING?
Learning to trust the long term process and patience with players and parents.
WHY HAVE YOU CONTINUED COACHING?
I love coaching young people and watching them grow on and off the field.
DO YOU HAVE ANY LONG RANGE PLANS TO STAY IN COACHING?
As long as the good Lord wants me to coach I will continue to follow his plan.
WHO IS/ARE YOUR COACHING ROLE MODEL(S) & WHY?
Roger Bush- He has taught me a lot about the game of soccer, but more importantly he has been a great example of how to be a better man with his strong ethics and great character.
** In the interim since this article was written and then published Wes has since been inducted into The Side's unofficial yet lofty, Naming Matrix. **