Marion Brown - Baptist Hill High School
Marion Brown has been the head coach for the Baptist Hill High School football team for over a decade...and he wins. He led Baptist Hill to the state finals in 2017. That was the first Charleston County School District (CCSD) team to reach state finals in football since 1991.
Brown grew up in Mount Pleasant. He is a product of CCSD schools and a 1977 Wando High School graduate. He went on to play for South Carolina State University, and briefly played professional football for the Seattle Seahawks and the Breakers of the United States Football League.
Once he returned to the Lowcountry and became a coach and an educator, he never looked back.
“I always wanted to be a coach,” said Brown. “I was always fascinated with the game of football. I knew that once my playing days were over, my goal was to become a coach.” Brown explained that seeing excitement on kids’ faces is what motivates him.
“To see that the kids are learning from you is a passion builder,” said Brown. “The more they attain, it energizes you. They are getting what I am teaching. When a coach realizes that, it causes that coach to work a little harder, resulting in your team working a little harder.”
Brown believes that commitment, dedication, responsibility and discipline is what kids learn from participating in sports.
If everyone on the team is not committed, you have no structure, Brown explained. “We always want to win,” said Brown. “We go to every game wanting to win. It all begins with the previously mentioned ingredients.” The school’s principal agrees.
“Coach Brown works diligently to provide social and emotional support for all students at Baptist Hill Middle High School,” said Interim Principal Charles Benton. “Coach Brown loves football and Baptist Hill.” In Brown’s mind, every player has to be held accountable for giving their team their best. Each player must have a deep love for the game, and be dedicated for the overall success of the team.
This recipe has worked and it is the reason Brown has made his home at Baptist Hill. He is committed to serving his players and giving them life lessons. His commitment has paid off. Even though Baptist Hill is at the 1-A level, they consistently send players to the college level in football.
Brown has been employed with CCSD since 1995. He has coached across the district, first starting at Burke High School and coming on full-time at Baptist Hill in January of 2002.
“I really enjoy the atmosphere here and have met some great people,” said Brown. “I consider myself to be a humble guy. I enjoy life, love people and I really enjoy working with CCSD.”
Brown can’t say enough good things about the students and his colleagues.
“I love going to work,” said Brown. “I have made some great friends and more often than not, I can’t wait to see them and work alongside of them.”
Brown is not just a coach, though. At his core, he is an educator. All of the ingredients that his athletes have on the field, on the court or on the mat, are a must in the classroom as well.
“The student-athletes will never get the opportunity to show people what they can do in sports if they don’t have the grades to prove they belong on the field,” said Brown. I tell them that in order to be an athlete, you must be a student first.”
COVID19 did not make being a coach and mentor easy. Brown continued to inspire his students, however, and took the time to check on each student and athlete daily.
“It was an awkward time for kids and the entire world,” said Brown. “We were missing out on so much. But teachers are the ones that go far beyond what is necessary to make things happen sometimes. That’s what teachers do.”
Coach Dave Spurlock, retired athletic supervisor for the district left a lasting impression on Brown. Spurlock would often ask his colleagues, ‘How much does a teacher make?’ The answer – ‘teachers make a difference.’ That is what influenced Brown and continues to drive him in his career.
Brown’s team is made up of committed guys who love the game of football.
“An excellent work ethic is required for participation in athletics,” said Brown. “I am hard-driven and believe the only way to be successful is to work for it.”
Brown’s grandfather often told him that to be successful in life, one must work. His saying was, “The only time you’ll find ‘success’ before ‘work’ is in the dictionary.”
Baptist Hill might be a 1-A school, but the football team does not operate like that.
“Although we are a small 1-A school, we have great success because we are able to incorporate the same coaching fundamentals as larger football programs. We put similar strategies and goals in place.”
“As a whole, the district is doing amazing things,” said Brown. “The way in which CCSD supports us is unbelievable. To receive that much love and respect and support by an entire school system is awesome.”
As if Brown doesn’t have enough on his plate, he is an ordained minister. He co-pastors with his wife Iris, who is the pastor of Ebenezer AME Church in Mount Pleasant. They joyfully serve God and the people of the community. They have been married for 33 years, and have three adult children, all with advanced degrees. They have four precious grandchildren, as well.
Coach Spurlock would be proud of the coach he mentored. Every single day, Brown is leading his team by example and “making a difference” in the lives of so many students.