STOCKTON - If Brian Gray has his own parking spot at Lincoln High, there’s a good chance he doesn’t yet know about it.

He’s been far too busy digging into his new role running the school’s athletic program to investigate those potential perks.

Gray, the first-year athletic director for the Trojans, was the featured guest for Episode Six of the Best of Preps podcast.

Gray spent seven seasons as the head varsity football coach for Lincoln, earning a 49-31 record in that span. He’s also a 1992 Lincoln High graduate, and was previously an assistant principal at Mable Barron.

The transition for Gray to the position of athletic director has been just that: a transition. He said he’s getting a pretty good handle on things since getting the job in July. There’s finer details to keep track off, like arranging for a national anthem to be played at home games, and Gray said that’s been part of learning the job.

One of the things that was almost instinctual, though, was his first act of business.

“The first thing I wanted to do was listen,” Gray said. “When you’re in that leadership roll, you need to listen first. I wanted to give everybody my ear first, and I still do.”

The goal for Lincoln, Gray said, is to regain the Trojans’ spot as an athletic powerhouse across the sports spectrum. That’s the way it was when he was a Trojan, Gray said, and he wants to be able to give each coach, each athlete the tools to do just that.

“You weren’t looking to just do well. You were looking to fill our basketball gym with banners,” Gray said of his high school days. “It was special, and it was fun.”

Gray has a daughter on campus and a son at the middle school next door, and spending extra time with them may be a better perk than any spot in the lot. Additionally, he’s had the opportunity to be more than just a manager of files, while at the same time trying his best to let coaches coach and athletes play.

“I want to still interact and mentor students, and I still have that chance,” Gray said. “I talk to the volleyball team, I watch film with (quarterback) Grant Stevenson once a week. That part of it is what I’ve been allowed to do. It’s been truly rewarding.”

Gray had that interaction with plenty of players in his coaching tenure, and was asked about a few of them during the podcast. Specifically, Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Brandin Cooks (a Lincoln High graduate) and Oakland Raiders running back Doug Martin (a St. Mary’s alum), the two of which happen to open the NFL season against each other on Monday night in Oakland.

It’s a special thing for Gray, who attended Cooks’ wedding over the summer, to watch those former athletes compete. Not just as a former coach, but as a longtime area resident.

“To see kids from our area be able to do it on that stage, and for them to be good-hearted people, it’s a testament to their families and their upbringings,” Gray said. “Our town has so many good things that don’t get mentioned.

“The obvious always does. But there’s a lot of stories like these out there.”

Contact reporter Nick Woodard at (209) 546-8272 or nwoodard@recordnet.com. Follow him on Twitter@nwoodard25.