SALLISAW – The Sallisaw Black Diamonds have a new motto this season “ New Beginnings.” Indeed, it will be a new beginning for Sallisaw with the addition of their new head coach Brandon Tyler.

After a disappointing last several seasons and a record of 6-25 over three years, the Black Diamonds now have what they need to turn the ship around. Coach Tyler may be a “new” head coach in Sallisaw but is far from a “new” head coach. Tyler has been coaching football for 27 years and has been a head coach of successful programs in Oklahoma since 2004.

Its nothing new to coach Tyler to take over a struggling program and “right the ship.” Tyler led the Vian Wolverines from 2004 to 2015 with an over all record of 128-25 along with two trips to the OSSAA class 2A state title game.

Following his time at Vian, and after a short stint in Arkansas as an assistant in Van Buren,  he moved back to his hometown of Gore to take over a Pirate team that had finished it’s last three seasons with a dismal 3-24 record. That challenge was accepted, and the Pirates finished the first season under Tyler at a respectable 8-3.

From 2019 to the 2022 season, Gore never missed the playoffs with an overall record of 42-5 and the school’s first trip to the state championship in 2022, but Gore fell short in the title game, falling to Fairview, 32-28, in a matchup between unbeaten teams.

When asked about his new challenge at Sallisaw Tyler responded, “It is going to be a challenge, this is my first time at this level. There are probably going to be a lot more quality players on both sides than you see at the Class A level all the way around. The coaching will be more sound at what they are doing.

Building the type of players needed to turn a program around is something that means alot to Tyler. ‘We live in this selfish culture. It’s all about me, me, me. We gotta go back to we,” said Tyler. “We have to put people before us and when that happens, we develop good men that buy into what you are trying to do and that carries over into Friday night. It makes you a good teammate and you play for the buddy next to you.”

Having covered coach Tyler over the past four years, and watching his teams grow, we feel it is indeed a ‘New Beginning” in Sallisaw and wish he and the Black Diamonds success in the upcoming 2023 season.

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