NEWELL — Former Avery head football coach Darrell Brewer started getting the desire to go back to the football field two years ago.
He went to Cloudland (Tenn.) to be an assistant coach. When the head football coaching position opened at McDowell, Brewer threw his whistle in the ring.
The McDowell County Board of Education made it official when Brewer was hired to be the Titans’ new head football coach. Brewer takes over for Andy Morgan, who led McDowell program the past three seasons. Brewer went through spring practice at Cloudland before getting the job at McDowell.
“We had a good spring and had a good time,” Brewer said. “This job just kind of came fast and hard and kind of was a whirlwind deal and here I am.”
Brewer takes over a program that went 4-8 overall, 2-5 in the Northwestern Conference in 2018. The Titans have come on hard times lately as they have experienced just one winning season, an 8-4 campaign in 2012, in more than 12 years.
Brewer saw McDowell has had the talent to win in the past, but for a variety of reasons, has not been able to put all the pieces together. He feels confident that he can find the right formula to steer the Titans in the right direction
“I’ve coached against McDowell and I’ve kept up with McDowell, so yeah, of course it’s a challenge,” Brewer said. “I think the kids are there and all the right pieces have not fallen into place there in a while. I think it’s an opportunity to (win).”
Brewer said that despite the lack of victories, there is plenty of support for the program. One of the first things Brewer did June 10 was meet the players and supervise a weight-lifting session.
“There’s a lot of excitement when I walked in there,” Brewer said. “I was amazed that how hard the kids worked. I was really excited when I left there. I think there are some pieces in place there and I’m not God’s gift to anything, but they’re on board on trying to build something and I think it’s a community effort. Everybody’s on board to try to do what it takes to be successful.”
Brewer also feels the McDowell High administration and the McDowell County school system is ready to support the football program.
“The whole program is committed and that’s the big thing,” Brewer said. “I think there has been a little disconnect there in the pieces of the puzzle that’s what I want to do — bring everything together.”
Brewer has coached against members of the Northwestern Conference while coaching at Avery, including Watauga and McDowell. He respects the NWC, but also said there were plenty of good programs in the Western Highlands Conference, which Avery is a member.
“The whole time I was at Avery we were in a tough, hard, brutal conference,” Brewer said. “There isn’t a whole lot of difference really. I think we’re right in the middle of the same situation. We’re right in the middle of a tough conference and that’s just where you are.”
McDowell already held spring workouts, so Brewer said he’s going to just get players in the weightroom and start implementing his system over the next month. McDowell is scheduled to have 7-on-7 scrimmages, so Brewer will prepare his players for those.
That includes introducing some of the plays at the scrimmages by having them drawn up on cards and showing them to the players before the play begins.
“We’re by no means ready to go, so this is day one and we’re trying to hit these 7-on-7s we’ve got on the schedule,” Brewer said.
Brewer said he would commute to Marion from Newell, which is a 40-minute drive from Newell. He also has family who lives in the area, and said he may have to spend a night in the McDowell field house if necessary.
“From my house to the high school it’s not a bad drive at all,” Brewer said.