The East Texas Baptist University Athletic Department has announced a transition in head coaches for the ETBU Tiger Football Team. Head Coach Scott Highsmith, who served as head coach for the 2017 season, has stepped down due to family health reasons. ETBU has hired former Navarro College Head Coach and 2013 Fellowship of Christian Athletes' Central Texas Coach of the Year, Brian Mayper to take over the program. Mayper has an extensive coaching background with leadership at the NCAA Division I, II, III, junior college, and professional levels.
"We are grateful for the significant contribution Coach Scott Highsmith made to the advancement of Tiger Football this year," ETBU President J. Blair Blackburn shared. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Coach Highsmith and Ms. Kathy. We have enjoyed great success over the past few years, and now we turn to a new chapter for ETBU under the coaching and spiritual leadership of Head Coach Brian Mayper. Brian has a heart for God and desires to use sports as a platform for evangelism, ministry, and discipleship. Coach Mayper shares our vision for program excellence and is committed to building our Tigers into Christ's champions."
Mayper's coaching background has prepared him to take over the Tiger football program. He has made coaching stops at Lamar University (NCAA Division I), Southern Arkansas University (NCAA Division II), Howard Payne University (NAIA, NCAA Division III), Navarro College (NJCAA), and professionally in Europe. Mayper now brings his knowledge and strong Texas recruiting ties to ETBU.
"We are excited to announce Brian Mayper as the sixth head coach of the ETBU Tiger Football program," Vice President for Athletics Ryan Erwin said. "Coach Mayper brings a wealth of experience to ETBU and understands and embraces Christ-centered athletics and a program that is committed to discipleship. His passion for mentoring young men through the sport of football is exactly what we strive for in a head coach and his dedication to excellence and his faith aligns with our vision of athletics as a leader of the ETBU football program."
His character and life experiences as a coach will continue to move ETBU's faith-integrated program forward. Already involved with Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Mayper has recruited, mentored and coached numerous players that have advanced to professional football careers. He has started three FCA Huddles on college and high school campuses. Coach Mayper created a discipleship program geared to mentoring young men in their Christian faith over the course of his football coaching career.
"My family and I are truly blessed and honored that God has laid a path that will allow us to carry out our call to be servant leaders at East Texas Baptist University," Mayper said. "During our visit with Dr. Blackburn and Ryan Erwin we were excited about the Christ-centered programs that are in place and how it aligns with our core values in serving the community as we disciple and teach players about God's glory. We will succeed as we set high expectations to be 'Champions' on the field, in the classroom, and a light throughout the world."
Mayper was overseas coaching for the Belgrade Wolves in the Central European Football League before coming back to the United States. He was the head coach for one year in Europe guiding the Wolves to a 12-3 record finishing as the European Championship runner-up in 2016. In that year, he coached Mihailo Josovic, the SAAF MVP of the European League. Upon his return to Texas, Mayper took on the role of passing game coordinator at Brennan High School this past year.
Prior to Mayper's coaching stint overseas, he was the head coach at Navarro College for three seasons going 26-6. In those three seasons, Navarro was nationally ranked and won two bowl games. His first team in 2012 went 10-2, winning the SWJCFC Championship and the Heart of Texas Bowl, finishing ranked fourth in the final NJCAA poll. The following year his team won the Brazos Valley Bowl, going 9-3 overall and were ranked 12th in the final NJCAA poll. The 2014 season brought a 7-3 record, a final ranking of 14th in the nation, and a Navarro program record for highest scoring team, with 528 points (52.8 points per game).
Being a part of history at Lamar University, Mayper was on the first coaching staff that restarted football in 2010. He was the associate head coach under Ray Woodard for two seasons, and also coached wide receivers and special teams. He left Lamar with two program records in the longest punt return for a touchdown and most kickoff return yards in an individual season.
Spending nine years at Howard Payne University, Mayper helped the Yellow Jackets to some of their best years in football. While he was at HPU, Mayper was the co-offensive coordinator, special teams coordinator, and head JV coach. Many of his players have earned awards over the years. Mayper also coached four all-time HPU program greats in Adam King (2004), Richard Green (2000), Tyrone Brown (1997), and Drew McMaster (2004). All four players rank number one in program history with King in passing, Green in rushing, Brown as a return specialist, and McMaster as a kicker.
In the Texas High School ranks, Mayper served as offensive coordinator and special teams coach at 6A Frisco High School, in addition to his stint at Brennan High School.
Graduating in 1994 from Sam Houston State University with a Bachelor of Science in Education, Mayper played one year for the Bearkats before suffering a career-ending injury. He then earned a Master of Education from Southern Arkansas University in 1995, while serving as an offensive graduate assistant coach for SAU.
He and his wife, Theresa, have been married for 22 years and have two daughters, Myka and Mia.