High school football: Newsome steps down at A.L. Brown

Published 12:01 am Friday, March 3, 2023

Staff report

 Mike Newsome announced via social media on Thursday his decision to step down as A.L. Brown’s head football coach.

His last official day at A.L. Brown will be June 30.

AD Empsy Thompson said Newsome, a science teacher in the classroom, made the announcement now to give the school ample time to find his successor as the leader of a storied program.

“Mike will be missed,” Thompson said. “He’s a really good coach, a really good teacher, just a really good man who cared deeply about the kids who played for him.”

Newsome had informed Thompson of his decision on Monday. Newsome talked to his coaching staff on Wednesday and told the team members on Thursday before he went public with his Twitter announcement.

Following the late Ron Massey at the helm of the Wonders, Newsome arrived in Kannapolis with considerable hype and hope after he guided Butler High in Matthews to overwhelming success on the gridiron that included a 31-game winning streak and back-to-back 4A state titles.

Newsome was looking for a new challenge and a community that was obsessed with football. He found it.

“When I came to Kannapolis I wanted it to be the last job I would have,” Newsome wrote. “I wanted to be in a place where football is important. The priority that is placed on the football program makes this place special.”

Newsome’s won-lost record with the Wonders was 97-49, with with half of his 12-season tenure at the 4A level.

There were four seasons with 10 or more wins. There were three conference championships.

His best season came in his debut in 2011. The Wonders, with talented players such as Kalif Phillips and Damien Washington, were 12-2 and reached the third round of the 3A state playoffs.

There was a 10-4 mark in 3A in 2012. There was a 10-3 4A season in 2015 and a 10-3 3A season in 2017.

There was significant on-field success, including an eight-game winning streak against rival Concord.

The downside was that the Wonders only got to the third round of the playoffs twice during Newsome’s tenure. Those runs ended with losses to Charlotte Catholic in 2011 and 2012.

The Wonders have had their struggles in the 4A Greater Metro Conference the last two seasons and were 6-5 in 2022 with a lopsided first-round playoff exit in what turned out to be Newsome’s finale.

Football has been at the core of Newsome’s life for 45 years as a player and coach.

His stepping down is basically a desire to spend more time with family. He’s sacrificed a lot of family things for football for a long time .

“Coaching is very fulfilling,” Newsome wrote . “I have loved being a part of the man team accomplishments and have a tremendous amount of pride in all of the individual success of current and past players. Coaching is also very hard. It has become a 365 day a year, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day job. It is no longer just about knowing and understanding the X’s and O’s, it is extremely demanding. There are coaches who have figured out how to reduce the workload, for me I have not. I was taught that hard work is the key to success, so all I know is how to “grind”. That “grind” has become a huge sacrifice for my family. As a father and husband I have missed practices and games, family outings, vacations, birthday parties, and celebrations. I have tried to build teams around the priorities of the 4 F’s, Faith, Family, Future & Football. Unfortunately for my family the demands of coaching make it hard to make them a priority. It is time that I start to practice what I preach.”

Newsome left the door open for a return to the coaching ranks at some point.

“I will not rule out the possibility of coaching again,” he stated. “I may miss it so much that I cannot stay away. However, the plan is to try something different, mainly being a better husband and father.”

Thompson said there’s no rush to name a replacement for Newsome.

The priority will be conducting a thorough search and finding the right person for a challenging job.