Interview with Brandon Brown
by Reid Althage
LAFM: How many years have you been coaching at St. Helena High School? Where was your first ever coaching job?
This is my 2nd year coaching at St. Helena. My first ever coaching job was at Columbus High School in Columbus, MS. I served as the Defensive Coordinator there for 7 years.
LAFM: Where did you go to school and did you play football?
I grew up in Louisiana and went to high school at East St. John. A football scholarship to Alcorn State is what brought me to Mississippi. I graduated with my masters and was offered the job at Columbus.
LAFM: What made you get into coaching?
Being a former athlete, I always looked up and respected my coaches. I saw the positive impact they had on myself and my teammates. I told myself that I would like to make that positive impact on kids when I got a job.
LAFM: Who are some coaches that had a great influence on you?
For starters, my dad (Donald Brown) was my little league coach. He is a great man, a great father, and also my pastor. I learned a lot from my dad. My college football coach, Dr. Johnny Thomas, was a huge influence on me at Alcorn State. Lastly, Daryl Jones is now the AD and head football coach at Kenton High School in MS. He hired me over in Columbus. I got the opportunity to grow as a person and as a coach under his tutelage. The biggest thing that I took from him was that he was so detailed oriented. He taught me a lot about football but also about life. I mimic a lot of what he did as a coach.
LAFM: Who are some of the great players that you have played for you?
One of the best players that I have ever coached was Byerson Cockrell. He was a Junior College All-American at East Mississippi Community College. He just recently signed with Nebraska. When I look back, he just had all the intangibles you want in a great player: great attitude, great work ethic, humble, and really wanted to learn. He actually did not start playing till 9th grade. He was always a sponge trying to learn everything he could. I think he has a great chance to start at Nebraska next year.
LAFM: Do you think the brand of Louisiana football is different than anywhere else in the country?
Yes, I do. I am a Louisiana boy and always had those debates in college with guys from Mississippi, Texas, and everywhere else. In my heart, I believe our state has the best football in the world. We not only have great athletes but tremendous coaches. The atmosphere of high school football is just different here. High school football is everything in Louisiana.
LAFM: What is your advice to high school students in regards to the recruiting process?
I tell my players that they have to take control of their own recruitment. I tell them that they do that by taking care of their business first in the classroom and then on the field. I try to tell my players that although you may be the best athlete around, the best way to market yourself is to make sure your academics go along with your athletic ability. I also stress to my players that you have to be realistic. Not everyone is an SEC player, not everyone is a D1 player, and not everyone is a college football player. Now for those who are blessed with college ball ability, the biggest thing is to go somewhere where you are comfortable, can continue an education, and receive a degree.
LAFM: What does St. Helena Football need to do to be successful this year?
Well, the biggest thing for us this upcoming year is to live up to our expectations. Our motto is “we are a small town with big expectations.” I think we need to be fundamentally sound. Play fast. Play physical. Lastly, do all the little things right. I want our guys to go out and play this season with a controlled aggression. We did not like the season we had last year, so we are expecting better and bigger things this season. We are working hard and want to be contenders in 2A football.
LAFM: What makes St. Helena a special football program and a special school?
I think the thing that makes St. Helena a great school and a great football program are the people involved. The administration, the community, the fans, the parents, and the kids are really some great people. They have been very supportive since I have been here. They want a successful football program. Our players have been dedicated since day one. They are dedicated to getting better. Their dedication is what makes our team a great program.