Red Bank names Brown new foot­ball coach

Chattanooga Times Free Press - - SPORTS - BY STEPHEN HARGIS STAFF WRITER

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 shar­gis@times­freep­ or 423757-6293. Fol­low him on Twit­ter @StephenHar­gis.

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