By Scott Eisberg
BATESBURG-LEESVILLE, S.C. (WCIV) - For some, coaching is their calling. Dr. Jerry Brown is just one of those guys who can't get enough of it. The legendary Berkeley High School head coach is back at it, in a very similar town to the one he gained Lowcountry coaching fame in.
"I've got to get my hands on kids and mold coaches. If you do something for 40 years and you walk away you feel like it's gone. You feel like you are born again and gone to heaven when you come back to it," says the 61 year old Brown.
If that is the case, consider heaven Batesburg-Leesville, a small football centered town much like Moncks Corner.
"The people in Moncks Corner are very dear. I was homesick for six months after I left, one of the worst experiences of my life. It really hurt to leave but I felt like it was the right time to leave. I love Moncks Corner and Berkeley football so much, I felt like, don't stay too long you undo what you did," says Brown who coached at Berkeley for 18 years and capped it with a final state title in 2009.
Even though the state title that year was the highlight for Brown, he says, 2010 was his most important year at Berkeley.
"Had two young athletes get killed and that's why the lord left me there to get those kids through those devastating moments."
The emotional toll of the deaths and the physical toll of a bad back led Brown to retire to his hometown of Winnsboro. After one year as the athletics director of Fairfield Central High School, Brown knew where he needed to be.
"Some people you can't run off. They keep coming back. I really missed it. I started looking at players and relationships. I still had my ministry, trying to make good men, husbands and fathers."
So here Jerry Brown is taking over a Batesburg-Leesville program that garnered only one win last season. The kids don't know who he is, but he's gained their attention mentioning players he coached at Berkeley like Bruce and Andre Ellington.
"It's great here. They know them. It gives you more credibility when you coached great athletes like that. It lets them know that I know what good athletes are and good football players are. They want to be a great team here now."
These players don't know Jerry Brown's past. They know how intense of a coach, mentor and teacher is and they certainly know that coaching is his calling, wherever and whenever it may be.