Wade Hampton Welcomes new head football coach, Athletic Director

Hampton District One and Wade Hampton High School held a welcoming event prior to a regularly called school board meeting Monday, May 8.

  • Dr. Jerry Brown

Faculty, staff and students made their way to the Wade Hampton High School gymnasium May 5 at 6 p.m. to welcome the school’s newly hired athletic director and head football coach, Dr. Clinton L. (Jerry) Brown.

Brown comes to WHHS with a lengthy, and successful, coaching career to his credit. He has coached more than 60 individuals who have went on to receive scholarships to play in Division I NCAA athletics, as well as eight former athletes who went on to play football in the National Football League. 

As well as individual successes, Brown’s team building abilities are evident by his eight undefeated state championship games (5 as a head coach and three as an assistant) at three different high schools.

“God put the heart of two lions in me,” said Brown. “I love the Lord, you are going to be able to tell that…my education background, my hard times growing up and as far as loving the Lord that tells you probably everything you need to know.”   

Brown gives a majority of the credit regarding his success to his wife, Mary-Ann. She is well-known and loved by Brown’s athletes due, in part, to the 200 freshly baked homemade cookies she delivers after each win. The newly hired head coach stated that if you did the math that would be over 50,000 cookies she has baked through his coaching career.

“You can’t find a better football coach’s wife,” said Brown. “I stand on her shoulders and she allows me to do a whole lot more than I ever could do by myself.”

Possessing a strong religious faith, Brown stated that he will not tolerate the use of profane language by his student athletes, as well as his coaching staff. Throughout his career, Brown has received accolades from Christian athletic organizations, including the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He is also highly involved within his church.

The longtime coach and educator’s own career as a player ended after an injury sustained on the field during the Shrine Bowl. He stated he places an exceptional value on education due to knowing how quickly a bright athletic career can end and force an athlete to pursue alternative endeavors. Brown holds bachelors in science and a Master’s Degree in Arts and Teaching from the University of South Carolina, and a Doctorate in health education form USC, as well.

“You can lose your whole career in sports in one play…but nobody can every take my education away from me,” said Brown. “Education is very important to me.”

Brown and his wife are excited to move to the Lowcountry from the Midlands area of the state and become acquainted with the community. He stated he and his wife made many dear friends during his time in the Midlands, and that they both look forward to making many more lifelong friends during their time in Hampton County. 

Last season as the head coach of Northside Christian Academy, Brown’s team ended its season with a record of 3-6. He stayed at the school for one season as the team began to prepare for a transition from eight-man to 11-man football.

Although the High School Football Hall of Fame-nominated coach brings with him a stellar background in athletic competition and has garnered the respect and admiration of many of his athletes throughout the years, Brown has had a controversial accusation brought against him by a former student and parent.  

The Post and Courier reported in January 2015 that the Richland County Sheriff’s Department investigated accusations made by a student that Brown slapped the student in a classroom. Brown was placed on administrative leave, the P & C reported on Jan. 14, 2015. After an investigation, the RCSO dismissed the case after determining “no malicious or criminal intent” had occurred.

Superintendent Dr. Ronald Wilcox stated he and the District One Board members were aware of the prior accusations made by the student, and Brown’s resignation of his coaching position amidst the controversy, but stated he, the board and the committee tasked with interviewing the potential coach are all confident in the decision to hire him.

“We talked to him about it, and we were very satisfied with the answers he gave us when we asked him about that,” said Wilcox. “We looked into to it deeply.”

He went on to say that “We are excited as to what he may come and do for this community and school.” Wilcox and the District One School Board have high hopes Brown will bring the Red Devil football team a state championship.

“This will be the last thing I do (in my career),” said the 66-year-old Brown. “If it’s the last thing I do, we are going to get a good football team here, and hopefully a championship football team.”

 

News from regularly called District One School Board meeting May 8:

  • The District One School Board accepted the resignation of Donald Sral, Jennifer Banks and Karlee McConnell.
  • The board approved the recommendation to hire Blaine Steinmeyer for the position of teacher at Hampton Elementary and Synetria Singleton for the position of Media Specialist at Wade Hampton High School.
  • Approved a leave of absence to Lynn Ginn for the 2017-2018 Fall semester.
  • The board approved to allow Superintendent Wilcox to develop contracts for board approval to assist qualified international teachers on a case by case basis in applying for a visa or other immigration status.
  • The board approved to change the current address of the District Office to 372 Pine Street East, Varnville, effective July 1, 2017.
  • Agreed to proceed with the SCE&G Solar Panel option in securing a contract following legal review and approval.