Storied Berkeley football coach returns to state title game
By Scott Eisbergseisberg@abcnews.com
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCIV) -- The weekend of champions starts Friday in Columbia, and the first team to take the field for the 2A game is Batesburg-Leesville High School, coached by a very familiar face for the Lowcountry.
Legendary Berkeley High head coach Dr. Jerry Brown has earned several state titles and he's got a chance at another just a year and a half after taking over a one-win team. So much for a retirement job.
"I've been around the block before. Just stay with the things that get you there and they've been real receptive to a new order of things," Brown said.
His final ride into the sunset was supposed to come in 2009 when he won the title at Berkeley, coaching names like Bruce Ellington. And a year later, in 2010, he called it a day in Moncks Corner after two decades at the helm.
"I was in a lot of pain, but I got my meds right and took a year off plus other therapy. I was getting three epidurals a year when I left with my spine. But I haven't had any in two years. My spine and health problems really cleared up after a lot of pressure at Berkeley," he said.
"You build a monster and it eats you up sometimes."
Physically, Brown was out of the game, but mentally he was still in it and with a move back to Columbia, he saw an opportunity to make Batesburg-Leesville the Moncks Corner of the Midlands.
So he capitalized.
"My wife always says Moncks Corner is a football town. The whole town, whole community, got identity from tradition with winning state championship games. I miss the way they treated the kids, my family. We miss our church," Brown said.
Two years alter, his team and his town is buying into his plan and it's come to fruition quickly, but it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.
"I played for a state championship in 67 -- it didn't go too well and said, 'Heck with that.' I was an assistant for three straight at Spring Valley in the 70s, head coach in 88 at Spring Valley, two in the 90s at Berkeley, 2009 at Berkeley, and this year," he said. "This is the sixth straight decade playing for a state championship."
His style is the same; his message is the same; his goal is the same -- from Berkeley to Batesburg, Jerry Brown football is more than just the game.
"I enjoy spending time with kids, having kids call me and tell me how much it means. I feel the Lord still wants me to influence lives, teach values, help kids," Brown said. "I still enjoy it and get fired up."
Brown is truly a champion for the ages.