Murray County High School’s football program has lost nine times as many games as it has won over the past seven seasons, during which the Indians have had four different head coaches.
The Indians haven’t had a winning record since 2005, the same year they last made the state playoffs. In the past two years, the team’s only two wins have come from forfeits.
Despite a recent past that has been less than favorable, Chad Brewer sees opportunity.
Brewer, who was Northwest Whitfield’s defensive coordinator this past season, was announced as Murray County’s newest head coach Monday night. This is his first head coaching job for football.
“I have always been a glass half full kind of guy,” Brewer said. “Some people ask, ‘Why Murray County?’ and I say, ‘Why not?’ Others say that we might not win a game. Well, what if we do?
“I know there are great kids and great teachers and great athletes at Murray County. There is a great amount of pride, and I look forward to the challenge of rebuilding what was once a great football program.”
Brewer takes over from John Hammond, who resigned as head coach in mid-December after going 2-18 in two seasons, with both of those wins coming from forfeits by Dalton and Southeast Whitfield for the use of ineligible players in 2011. In 2012, Murray County finished 0-10 for the third time in seven years.
Murray County High School athletic director Greg Linder said Brewer brings a lot of excitement to the program and his level of commitment was what pushed Brewer to the top of a list of more than 70 applicants.
“I think what separated him from everyone else was his energy and passion,” Linder said. “Everything he brought to the table was a plus. He has a passion for football and a passion for kids and a passion for teaching, and that shows through if you spend any time around him.”
Linder made the announcement in an email Monday night, a little more than three hours after The Daily Citizen made a request for the list of candidates under the Georgia Open Records Act.
Reached at his home, Linder would not specify details of the hiring process except to say that an interview committee of five people spent nearly two months narrowing the applicant pool before selecting three finalists, who were brought back for interviews over the winter break. The Daily Citizen made a verbal request to Linder for the names of the members of the interview committee, but Linder said he was not authorized to give that information and could not comment on the hiring process. Linder’s press release said Brewer was approved as a full-time teacher for the 2013-2014 school year. The hiring can not become official until the next Murray County Board of Education meeting, which is scheduled for Monday.
Brewer, a 1992 graduate of Polk County (Tenn.) High School, earned biology and health/physical education degrees from the University of Tennessee-Martin, where he was a three-year starter and four-year letterman in football. He holds both a master’s and educational specialist degree in administration from Lincoln Memorial University.
Before joining Northwest’s staff in 2012, Brewer was the defensive coordinator at Southeast Whitfield from 2008 to 2011 and an assistant for several seasons prior to that. He is also the head boys track and field coach at Northwest and coached both the boys and girls track and field teams during his time at Southeast.
According to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association (ghsfha.org), Murray County went 94-68-1 from 1991 to 2005, Bill Napier’s first 15 seasons as the program’s head coach. In 2006, when the Indians moved up to Class 5A, they went 0-10 and Napier resigned following the season. The Indians are 7-63 during the past seven seasons.
With recent enrollment drops at Murray County following the opening of North Murray High School in 2009, the Indians are currently competing in Class 2A. But the lean years and lack of a stable coaching staff — each of the past three head coaches have departed after just two seasons — have significantly hurt the program.
Because of that, Brewer and Linder know this will be a rebuilding job of significant proportions.
“I wish I could push a button and make it happen, but it is going to take time,” Brewer said. “The kids are going to have to trust me first of all. I will talk with them (today) and tell them that. Hopefully they will feed off my energy. It all starts with trust. The past doesn’t matter. Everyone has a clean slate and a chance for a fresh start. Bodies matter in football, and we have to have numbers.”
Linder said there will be no quick fixes, and he is looking for steady improvement.
“It is not a secret that we have been struggling,” Linder said. “Getting the kids out who are walking the halls is one of the main things we were looking at with this hire. We were realistic with as far as where our program is and what our expectations are. We are at a point where we have to be moving in an upward direction. We want to be competitive on the field, and the wins will come. It will be a process where it will take some time.”