St. Jude announced former Huntingdon assistant and NFL receiver Fred Brock as its new head football coach and athletic director at a news conference Monday.
Brock, who spent last season as a defensive assistant for the Hawks, played parts of two seasons with the Arizona Cardinals in 1997 and 1998 after a four-year career at Southern Miss.
A former Jeff Davis quarterback, Brock was happy to get back to the game he loves and re-establish his hometown roots after spending 10 years working in commercial development in Destin, Fla.
“When I heard about it, I jumped at it,” Brock said. “It’s just a great opportunity to make an impact with some of the kids here in town. I love being around the kids and having a chance to make an impact. Teach them some of the things that I was taught coming up.
“It’s never left my system. Since I’ve been in business, (football has) always been a part of me. I tell everybody I went back to my first love.”
Junior wide receiver and safety LaDarius Brinson is looking forward to having a former NFL player lead the Pirates next season.
“It makes me feel as if he knows what he’s doing,” Brinson said. “He made it in, and I just pray that he gets the people that want to accomplish that goal that he accomplished and get them there also. I’m anticipating a good football season. He sounds enthusiastic, and that’s all we need to become a better team and strive for a championship this year.”
Brock entered the business world after his football career, but an old connection got him a spot with the Huntingdon coaching staff.
“I wanted to get in to coaching at the college level at the time,” Brock said. “I went in, and coach (Mike) Turk and I went to the same high school. He was the quarterback before I was. I went to his office and he said, ‘God must’ve sent you.’ He said my timing was impeccable because he was looking for a coach.”
Brock takes over for Wade Manora, who resigned in January after three seasons. Manora went 7-5 in 2012 and was 17-18 overall. Manora falsely publicized players for signing with schools who had not offered scholarships, and forfeited nine wins for using ineligible players.
Brock has his work cut out for him to move forward, but has high expectations and is looking forward to the challenge.
“We want to implement a program of love, compassion and hard work,” Brock said. “We’re going to be very demanding of our kids. We’re going to work them extremely hard, but we’re going to do it the right way. We’re going to build them up as we go. We’re going to implement that atmosphere of love, hard work and service in the community, and we’re going to win football games too.”