Brewer leaving a lasting legacy at Warren Central

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 17, 2009

Everything must come to an end.

Monday’s announcement of Curtis Brewer’s retirement after 40 years at the school he loves was a sad day at Warren Central.

Brewer agonized over the decision, but in the end, state retirement rules and the knowledge that he got his beloved program back on a strong footing made him realize that the time had come to step aside.

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The timing showed how he put the school’s concerns above his own. Now Dr. James Price and the eight-man search committee can get a quality coach in place in time for offseason workouts.

Steve Wilson is the sports editor of the Vicksburg Post. You can reach him at 601-636-4545, ext. 142 or at

Brewer got the Vikings back in the playoffs after a three-year absence. He and his coaching staff did it with a truncated roster and many key contributors like John Gustavis, Austin Roberts and Beau Wallace playing both ways in Class 6A, where two-platoon is the exception and not the rule.

But is Brewer’s legacy determined by 36 wins and 32 losses? He was head coach for six years and an assistant for 34. The Vikings won two Class 5A championships and at least 10 games 14 times during Brewer’s era in a run of dominance that will likely never come again.

That isn’t the end of Brewer’s legacy at Warren Central. It’s just the beginning.

One of the great things about high school athletics is the ability for athletes, from the star to the bench-warmer who plays only in blowouts, to learn hundreds of life lessons not taught in the classroom.

Brewer wasn’t in the business of building football players. He was in the business of building men, forging raw nuggets of possibility into men of character who reached their potential.

Randy Peaches, who played for Brewer and his predecessor Robert Morgan from 1990 until 1994, recounts that Brewer had one thing to say to those who groused under his tutelage.

“Son, when I stop yelling and screaming at you and say nothing to you, it is at that point you better start worrying.”

There are dozens of players moved on to the college ranks after playing for Brewer. Others became coaches who point to Brewer and Morgan as the reasons they wanted to coach football and mold young men.

“He was hard on you, but you knew he loved you,” said St. Aloysius coach B.J. Smithhart, a Warren Central graduate. “You never wanted to disappoint him. He meant a lot to us and he made me want to be a football coach.”

But his real legacy is those men who became accomplished in various endeavors other than athletics. They form a living tapestry of his success in turning boys into men.

He showed them the meaning of dedication. The meaning of honor. And forged his charges on an anvil of steaming humidity and sweat in the searing sun of two-a-days into men of iron will.

The world needs more Curtis Brewers.

Even though Brewer is hanging up his whistle, the lessons he taught will live on forever, passed on from father to son, from coach to athlete, all of whom were influenced by him.

And that’s not a bad legacy at all.