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Drew Brown is 'addicted' to coaching
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Drew Brown didn't coach football last season.

"I needed a break after 19 years," he said.

Brown's retirement was brief.

In August, he became a member of the Merced College football program's coaching staff. Brown is an assistant. He works with outside linebackers and safeties.

"My passion is coaching football," Brown said.

"I really missed it."

Said Merced head coach Tony Lewis: "We're really fortunate and happy to have him. He's a quality coach. He's also a quality person."

Brown coached at Modesto Junior College for six years.

He spent the 1997 season as linebackers coach before being promoted to defensive coordinator, a position he filled from 1998-2002.

"We had a winning record every single one of those years," Brown said. "We went to a bowl game five times."

In 2001, the Pirates compiled an impressive 9-2 record. They lost by one point to Fresno City College in the Northern California Championship game and just missed qualifying for the state finals.

"That was our best year," he said.

Brown resigned after the Pirates posted a 5-5 mark in 2002.

"There were some changes going on at Modesto and I didn't like the changes so I stepped down," he said.

Brown coached the Ceres High track and field team during the 2003-2004 school year. He was an assistant for the previous eight seasons.

"As a football coach, I was always looking at ways to make players run faster," Brown said. "That's how I got involved in track and field.

"I'm going to do it (coach) again this year."

Brown committed to Merced in April. He met with Merced's coach in Ceres in February.

"He asked me a couple times before if I wanted to coach over there but the timing was never right," Brown said.

Said Lewis: "I wanted him a long time ago."

Brown has a busy schedule.

He teaches at Ceres High School, five days a week, from 7:30 a.m. to 2:25 p.m.

"I have three weight training classes and two freshman P.E. classes," said Brown, a teacher at the high school since 1992.

For the past month, Brown has been providing instruction on the field and in the classroom at Merced College. The commute to and from Merced takes 70 minutes.

"I drive down here everyday after school," he said.

The team practices, Monday through Thursday, from 3:45 p.m. to 6:15 p.m.

Brown also teaches a health class on Wednesday and Thursday nights, from 7-9:30.

"I'm working seven days a week," he said.

"We play games on Saturdays and then we have coaches meetings on Sundays."

Added Lewis: "It's really not an easy position to coach but he's doing a real good job."

Brown enjoys every moment.

"I consider myself a student of the game," he said.

"I study a lot of Xs and Os. It's fun to apply that knowledge with college level athletes."

Merced opened the 2004 season with a 24-15 victory over American River College this past weekend.

"There's nothing like a Saturday night game of college football," Brown said. "I still get a rush when I go onto the field."

Brown passed on several other coaching opportunities, including one at a California community college and Division II school in New Mexico, because he didn't want to disrupt his children's lives.

Brown has three daughters, Krystle, Karrah and Kaylee, and two sons, Mitchell and Myles. Krystle (senior), Karrah (junior) and Kaylee (freshman) go to Ceres High School. Mitchell is a seventh grader at Mae Hensley Jr. High. Myles is a third grader at Sam Vaughn School.

"That's why I stayed local," Brown said.

"I want to support my kids."

Brown would have been reunited with Tom Gang, a close friend and former colleague, if he accepted a position at Mendocino College, which is located in Ukiah. Gang is head coach.

"He's one of my best friends," Brown said. "We coached together at Ceres High School and MJC. We coached together for 10 years."

Brown and Gang speak on the phone and exchange e-mails regularly.

"I talk to him at least once a week," Brown said. "We share a lot of ideas and information.

Brown posted a 19-23 record in four seasons (1993-1996) as head coach of the Ceres High football team, leading the Bulldogs to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II semifinal playoff game and second-place finish in the Valley Oak League in 1994.

He was defensive coordinator at Ceres High for one season (1992) under Butch Mendonca's guidance.

Brown began his coaching career in San Jose. He coached at the high-school level for seven years.

Brown was defensive coordinator for four years (1987-1991) at Independence High School.

"We made the playoffs every year," he said. "We lost the section semifinals game twice."

Brown was linebackers coach at San Jose Academy for three years (1984-1986). During his second year at the helm, the school went 6-4.

"They hadn't had a winning season in 12 years," he said.

Brown wants to coach at a higher level in the future. He also said he would be interested in coaching at the new high school in Ceres, which is slated to open in Aug. 2005.

"I'm not ruling out going to Central Valley," he said. "If I did do that, I'd make a five-year commitment to them."

Brown earned a degree in physical education from San Jose State University and received his master's in education from Arizona's Grand Canyon University. He played linebacker and strong safety for two years at San Jose City College. - By DALE BUTLER / Staff Reporter of The Ceres (Calif.) Courier