Prep football: A.L. Brown names Newsome coach
By Ryan Bisesi
KANNAPOLIS — At Butler, Independence was a rival to Mike Newsome.
Now he’s declared his own.
The former coach of the back-to-back state champion Bulldogs found a new home Monday, a few stops up I-85 in Kannapolis.
Shortly after resigning as the head coach of Butler, Newsome was approved by Kannapolis City Schools to be the next football coach at A.L. Brown just across the street from where he’ll be trotting out young men to do battle on Friday night.
“It feels like I’ve been waiting for this happen so long, I was telling my wife, it’s been a long week already,” Newsome joked as he was introduced in front of players, coaches and fans at the schoolboard building. Newsome will replace Ron Massey, who announced his retirement in March after 11 seasons.
With multiple state championships and unprecedented achievements at Butler under his belt, all Newsome wanted Monday was a new polo shirt and baseball cap, both donning a green “K,” both of which he received from Brown principal Kevin Garay.
“It’s a great opportunity because it’s a football-crazy town,” said Newsome, who stood beside wife Laura. “That’s the type of place that I’ve always wanted to be.”
During Newsome’s eight-year stint at Butler, he shifted the balance of football power in Mecklenburg County to the Bulldogs, as Butler captured the last two 4AA state titles after Independence won seven consecutive titles from 2000-2006. Newsome, 40, leaves Butler on a 31-game wining streak and was 93-17 overall.
With all the accolades Newsome brings with him, he knows the lofty expectations that accompany him as well. Streaks are abundant at Brown, too. Coach Bob Boswell went 102-38-1 in 13 seasons and Bruce Hardin kept a 121-14 record after 11 seasons with two state championships with the Wonders. Both coaches are now hall of famers.
“It’s not often that a coach gets to leave a great situation and go to a great situation,” Newsome said. “To be able to play at that level puts you in position to keep going at that level. They’ve always been successful. They’ve always won football games. The legendary coaches that have been here, I’m humbled just to be mentioned along with those guys.”
Newsome plans to meet with prospective members of the team today and informed the players at Butler of his decision on Monday. He will teach physical science.
“It was really important that he came from a great school academically and athletically,” Garay said. “To be at Butler 14 years and excel in those areas was impressive.”
“I think our staff and our community are really going to respect him.”
Newsome helped build Butler into a power, and will look to continue the established success at Brown. The Wonders have had winning seasons for the last 33 years and finished 12-2 last year after winning its fourth consecutive 3A South Piedmont Conference title and ninth in the last 10 seasons. The last state championship came in 1997, with two-time State Player of the Year Nick Maddox leading the way. Massey took the Wonders to a title game apparence in 2008.
“I know they’ve had great players and you’ve got to have great support,” Newsome said. “Those things are set in place here. When I looked at this job, I looked at those things.”
Newsome, a native of Panama City, Fla. and 1994 graduate of Mars Hill, didn’t sell any x’s and o’s just yet, but said he looks to implement an offensive and defensive style that bests complements the players.
“We’re excited about a guy with what he’s done coming here,” said Brown assistant Todd Hagler, who crossed paths with Newsome when Newsome was an assistant at Anson County and he was an assistant at Richmond County. “I have a lot of respect for him. His teams at Anson were always very sound defensively.”
Garay said the school has yet to hire an athletic director, leaving Massey the AD until June 30.