Sunday, July 13, 2014
For the first time since leaving Berkeley High School in the spring of 2011, former Stags athletic director and head football coach Jerry Brown helped with the Andre and Bruce Ellington Elite football camp on Friday, June 11 at Gerald Moody Field.
Brown, who coached Batesburg-Leesville to a Class AA, Division II state championship in 2013, is starting over again, this time at Spring Valley, the school where his career began more than 44 years ago.
“I was hurt when I left Berkeley, but I was heartbroken when I left Batesburg-Leesville,” said the longtime Stags coach who endured three epidurals a week during his final season at BHS. “I had to leave Moncks Corner because of my health. I was hurting, but I left Batesburg for a different health reason.”
Brown cited a lack of support from his school as his main reason for moving on.
“I was doing everything myself and that put a strain on my health, my marriage... it’s something I could have done in my mid-40s, but not in my mid-60s,” he said. “After last season I said ‘never again,’ and when I didn’t get the coaching support I needed for this fall I informed the school I was moving on.”
Brown is back with Class AAAA, Division I, football at Spring Valley where he started it all as an assistant coach in 1970.
Brown’s coaching record stands at 254-144. He’s won five state championships in 1988, 1994, 1996, 2009 and 2013 at three different schools. Brown will be taking over a Spring Valley Vikings program that went 12-1 last season before losing in the second round of the Class AAAA playoffs.
“They have a good team and a solid football program there,” he said. “I’m looking forward to this fall.”
As for coming back to Berkeley and Stags football, Brown was all smiles.
“If you ever wanted to see what people mean when they say, ‘Berkeley Football,’ take a look at this football field. There are more than 650 kids out there and all those former Stags football players coming back to donate their time to give back to the community.”
And at the center of it all, the Ellingtons.
“Andre and Bruce are two amazing young men that exemplify what is Berkeley football,” Brown said. “They are good football players but that field is full of good football players. What makes them succeed and what makes them successes are that they are good football players and good young men. It comes from their minds and their hearts.”
Brown called Andre a straight-on, power runner, a player around which they designed an offense.
“We ran the Flexbone offense until Andre came along and then we changed it up to take the most advantage of his running skills,” the coach said. “He gained more than 6,000 yards under this new offense. He wouldn’t have had that opportunity with the Flexbone.”
Brown called Bruce the most complete athlete he’s ever seen: “He can do anything he wants on the field. He knows reads and has the ability to do anything. He will excel in the NFL because they know how to maximize Bruce’s potential. They didn’t do that at South Carolina. You haven’t seen the scope of what Bruce can do yet.”