Wolves name new head football coach

Thursday, December 22, 2011 - 15:15
Two-year assistant Jason Brewer brings experience, enthusiasm to the job
Eagle River assistant coach Jason Brewer talks with linebacker Sam Banks during a game in the 2011 season. ERHS principal Marty Lang said on Dec. 22 that Brewer has been hired to replace Kenny Ray as the school's new head coach.

New Eagle River football field general Jason Brewer plans to bring a no-nonsense coaching style, enthusiasm and plenty of experience to the job when he takes over in the fall.

“The kids know me, the kids know what I’m about,” said Brewer, who previously served for two years as an assistant under Kenny Ray. “I’m about discipline and having fun.”

Brewer isn’t really a general, but he did recently wrap up his Army career as a 1st lieutenant who returned from a tour in Pakistan and Afghanistan last fall. He recently took a new job with the National Guard.

He said his background in the Army will help him communicate with his players at Eagle River, a school whose student body is 42 percent military, according to principal Marty Lang.

“Most of the kids I know their dads and moms,” Brewer said.

Lang said Brewer was chosen among four candidates for the job after an extensive search that included interviews with the school’s administration and a meet-and-greet with football players and parents. Lang said Brewer made quite an impression.

“Jason really was the overwhelming choice from our football community,” Lang said.

Brewer brings a wealth of football experience to the job. Before going into the Army, he coached for 12 years in Texas, including six years as a head coach.

In his playing days, Brewer was a standout linebacker for Gardner Webb University, where he was named All-American in 1995 before spending time on the Green Bay Packers’ practice squad.

Webb lives in Eagle River with his wife and two children. He said he’s already been in touch with many of the Wolves’ current players and has been helping organize open gyms and weight lifting sessions.

He’ll take over a program that has struggled to win football games since joining the Cook Inlet Conference in 2006. Last season, the Wolves went 1-7. The team’s only official victory came when Chugiak had to forfeit what had been a 35-14 Mustangs win because of an ineligible player. The Wolves went 5-19 during Ray’s three seasons and are 6-42 overall (a .125 winning percentage) in six seasons of varsity play.

Brewer said he wants to continue building on the tough, hard-nosed brand of football Ray tried to instill in the team.

“Coach Ray really did a great job of building a foundation,” he said.

Brewer said he wants his teams to run the football and play a punishing brand of hard-hitting defense.

“We’re going to play a very aggressive style on offense and defense,” he said. “Tough football where we line up and you try to stop us if you can.”

Despite the loss of All-CIC return man and wide receiver Kelechi Madubuko, Brewer said the cupboard is far from bare at Eagle River, where many of next year’s varsity were on a JV squad he coached two seasons ago that went 6-2.

But Brewer said he won’t base his coaching success on how many victories he’s on the sidelines for. Instead, he feels his job will be to mold the character of the young men under his charge.

“We’re just teaching them to be great young men and successful young men,” he said. “Ultimately, we’re trying to teach them the game of life.”

Contact Matt Tunseth at 694-2727 or [email protected]

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