Chad Mustard played at the highest level as an athlete.
Now, he’s going to be coaching at the highest level in high school basketball.
Mustard will be the next boys basketball coach at Bellevue East, Chieftain athletic director Jim Hirz announced last week.
He takes over for Tola Dada, who stepped down after guiding the Chieftains the past three seasons.
“It was always my goal to be a head coach,” Mustard said. “This was the opportunity I was looking for.”
Mustard was a standout hoops player at Columbus Scotus and the University of North Dakota. But it was on the gridiron where he achieved his greatest success.
He was a member of UND’s 2001 national championship team and spent a season with a the Omaha Beef in 2002 before catching on with the Cleveland Browns for the 2003 and 2004 campaigns.
After spending a year out of the NFL, Mustard joined the Denver Broncos in 2006 and would spend the next three seasons there before retiring in 2008. As a tight end, he finished his NFL career with 12 catches for 123 yards.
His coaching career brought him back to the hardwood as he joined Doug Woodard’s staff at Bellevue West in 2009.
“I played for Doug’s (Omaha Crusader) teams when I was in high school and he’s the one who got me back into coaching,” Mustard said.
After two seasons at West, he accepted a math teaching job at Millard West and was part of Bill Morrison’s staff for three years. The Wildcats advanced to the state tourney in 2013 and played in two other district championship games.
“I picked up a lot of little things from both programs,” Mustard said. “I really like the way Doug’s teams are aggressive in transition and at Millard West, I learned a lot about defensive versatility.”
He inherits a Chieftain program that has gone through some rough patches the last couple of seasons. East went 0-23 this past season and is currently in the midst of a 45-game losing streak.
“I know they’ve struggled and I want to bring in a fresh perspective,” Mustard said. “This is an opportunity for me to build from the start and put my stamp on something.”
Mustard’s determination enabled him to stay in the NFL for five seasons. He plans on having that same drive as a coach.
“I don’t like to fail,” Mustard said. “I want our kids to learn to compete and battle. We’re going to be gritty and hard-nosed and we’re going to look for kids willing to do that.
“It’s not an easy go with what they’ve gone through and I have no illusions of a quick fix. We’re going to work a lot on the mental part and build their confidence.”