Two weeks ago, former Berkeley High School head coach Jerry Brown thought he was going to get a return trip to Moncks Corner for a second stint at guiding the Stags’ football program.
On Wednesday, Brown was announced as the first football coach at Northside Christian School in Lexington. Brown will start the program this fall, competing on the SCISA eight-man level for two years. The next step would be a move to the 11-man ranks as a Class AAA program.
“It’s an exciting opportunity for me to start a program from scratch and develop it the right way,” said Brown, who has 260 career coaching victories. “As a Christian, I look forward to a Christian environment that supports the development of young men. I was looking for an administration that could be loyal and do what’s best for kids and I found that at Northside.
“It’s probably not what I thought I would be doing a few weeks ago, but God sees things that I don’t see and his will supercedes my will.”
Brown spent 18 years as the head coach at Berkeley, retiring in 2010 after three championships. He returned to coaching in 2012 and guided Batesburg-Leesville to a state title — his fifth championship as a coach.
Brown then returned to Spring Valley High School, where he began his career as a head coach. He resigned after one season amidst an allegation of slapping a student during a class demonstration on discipline. No charges were filed and Brown was exonerated but the coach decided to step down as head coach.
Brown says he was contacted by Northside Christian last September but opted to wait and see what other coaching opportunities opened up. When Berkeley relieved Jeff Cruce (Brown’s successor at Berkeley) from his head coaching duties in December, Brown immediately became a candidate.
“Berkeley was really the only position I would be interested in,” Brown said. “We enjoyed our 18 years at Berkeley and in the Moncks Corner community. The people were very supportive and I really felt I could bring that support back to the program.
“We had as good a program as any in the state when I was there and I felt like I was the one that could get it back to where it was when I left. The kids at Berkeley, I felt, deserved better and I was ready for the challenge.”
Brown was recommended by Berkeley principal Steven Steele to be the next head coach but the school district opted not to approve the hire.
“I was disappointed that my wife and I are not able to re-aquaint ourselves with the community, but I’m not bitter,” Brown said. “They have to do what they feel is best. I’m moving forward and looking forward to building the program at Northside.”
The head coaching position is still open with a second round of applications accepted through Wednesday. The next step will be interviews with top candidates with an announcement expected within two weeks.