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Brown’s hard work leads to state title

HAZLEHURST — It was a rewarding season for Hazlehurst headfootball coach Willie Brown and his Indian football team.

On Saturday, Dec. 10 in Jackson, Brown’s Indians captured theMHSAA Class 3A state football championship by shutting outCharleston 14-0 in the chilly confines of Veterans MemorialStadium.

It was the first state football championship for Brown and hisIndians. The Indians finished the season going undefeated with a13-0 worksheet.

For his accomplishments, Brown has been selected The DAILYLEADER’S Area Co-Coach of the Year for 2005. He shares the honorwith Copiah Academy football coach Mitch Mitchell whoseGallman-based Colonels fell to Simpson County 14-7 to the MPSA AAstate football championship game on Thursday, Dec. 8.

“It is a good victory,” said Brown. “We are proud to be in theposition to represent Hazlehurst. I thank the players. We are trulyhappy to represent Hazlehurst. That comes from all the citizens andfans. It was a heavy burden. We are proud to be a part of the cityof Hazlehurst.”

Brown credits his coaching staff with this year’s success. “Thecoaches have been with me for the last four four years. You can’tcoach a team by yourself. You can’t play by yourself. I have greatpeople around me.”

Working with Brown on the sidelines are defensive coordinatorTodd McDaniel plus Robert McDaniel,Jr., Brian Miles and AndreCarter.

Last year, Hazlehurst advanced to the third round of the stateplayoffs before falling to West Lauderdale. The loss exposed theIndians’ shortcomings.

“We lost to West Lauderdale in the third round last year,”stated Brown. “Some things were exposed last year .”

Brown said he, his coaches and players became smarter after thatloss.

“The players understand a little more what it takes to get tothat level. The coaches became smarter. We got more informationabout what it takes to go to the next level.”

Brown praised his players for their hard work, especially ondefense.

“DeArrion Wilbert is the kickoff return and safety,” said Brown.”He is a tough guy. Dundre Pendelton is outside linebacker/strongsafety. He made the plays. He is like a quarterback ondefense.”

Brown, age 42, is a graduate of Perry Walker High School in NewOrleans. While in high school, he played offensive guard anddefensive tackle.

“We were district champs for three years in a row,” statedBrown.

Brown went to Alcorn State next where he played defensive tackleunder head coach Marino Casem.

“Casem influenced me,” said Brown. “He had a great coachingstaff. They knew how to get a team ready for a football game. Wewere conference champs in 1984.”

Brown graduated from Alcorn with a degree in physicaleducation.

Before coming to Hazlehurst in 1999, Brown coached at SouthernUniversity then returned to New Orleans to coach for two years.

Brown returned to Alcorn to work on his masters degree the nexttwo years where he worked as an assistant coach at Alcorn.

He and his wife, Anita, have 2 children, Nicholas andAngelica.

“We are still trying to handle it (being state champs),” addedBrown. “It is a good feeling. It feels good for the kids. You lookback and see they are state champs. That is a great accomplishment.It took all of the kids, regular ordinary kids. It’s good to seethe benefits of your labor to come through.”