Red Bank names Brown new football coach
For once, Chris Brown didn’t mind a phone call interrupting dinner. As Brown and his wife, Joli, were feeding their 7-month-old daughter Adelyn on Monday evening, his phone rang with news he had been hoping for — an offer to become Red Bank High School’s head football coach.
“It was pure elation,” Brown said. “I was humbled and really excited by the opportunity.”
The toughest part after accepting the offer was keeping the news quiet until Tuesday afternoon, when Red Bank’s administration would make the hire official by telling the Lions players.
“It’s important to do things the right way, so we had to wait before it could be officially announced, and that was tough because I was so excited I wanted to tell everyone,” Brown acknowledged.
Brown, who played fullback at Vanderbilt, coached inside linebackers at Cleveland High last season and prior to that was a defensive assistant at Ooltewah for four years. He previously worked at Unicoi County, his alma mater, as defensive coordinator for four seasons.
“Chris is just a great dude,” said Blue Raiders coach Scott Cummings. “He really understands how to push kids and motivate them, and they love him for it. Chris has very high expectations for players academically and on the field. He’s about as well-rounded a guy as there is out there.”
Brown succeeds Chad Grabowski, who was dismissed as coach earlier this month after four years with the program. The Lions are coming off a successful 2017 season in which they finished 11-3 overall, earned their second consecutive Region 3-3A championship and advanced to the state semifinals.
“Red Bank is one of the few programs in the area with a true community and also has one of the richest traditions around. It is an honor to be a part of that tradition,” said Brown, 33, who will teach English. “I get just as excited about teaching as I do coaching, and I couldn’t ask for a better place for my first head coaching job, and hopefully my last head coaching job.
“I always knew I wanted to work with young people. At first I thought it would be with a boys and girls club, but Coach Jerad Huskins gave me an opportunity to join his staff at Unicoi County, and it didn’t take long for me to realize coaching would be my career from then on.”
Red Bank principal Elaine Harper said the selection committee — including her, athletic director Mandi Munn, assistant principal and former football coach Wendell Weathers, former athletic director Susan Thurman and Temika Jackson, mother of two current Lions players — reached a unanimous decision that Brown should be the choice.
“We are excited to welcome Chris Brown to Lion Country,” Harper said. “Coach Brown brings a commitment to excellence both on the field and in the classroom. I know he will build upon the great tradition of Red Bank football and our current success.”
Contact Stephen Hargis at email@example.com or 423757-6293. Follow him on Twitter @StephenHargis.