Jeffersonville removed the “interim” tag from Alfonzo Browning’s job title, naming the former assistant the permanent head coach of the football program during Tuesday night’s Greater Clark County Schools board meeting.
Browning, who worked 8 years in the program under former coaches Steve Cooley, Bob Redman and Lonnie Oldham, was named interim coach during an emergency meeting with Jeffersonville athletic director Todd Satterly after Oldham was fired in mid-July, less than three weeks prior to the start of official practice. He guided the Red Devils to a 6-5 record in 2015.
“Now I know where I stand,” Browning said. “I’m extremely humble. I feel blessed that they thought that much of me to give me the opportunity. I’ve been grinning all day. I wish we started tonight.”
When he selected Browning to steady the team, Satterly indicated the season was not an ongoing job interview for Browning, a former receiver for the University of Kentucky. Browning certainly helped his cause with a pair of wins over rival New Albany (including a thrilling 35-34 victory in the first round of the Class 6-A sectional) and signs of progress following a 2-3 start.
“He earned the job,” Satterly said. “He came in at a very challenging time, held our athletes to high expectations on and off the field, and deserved the opportunity.”
Jeffersonville fell to eventual state champion Center Grove in the sectional final. Browning felt he had done enough to warrant serious consideration.
“The reason I think so is we started off slow, but toward the end of the season we played some really good football,” he said. “Unfortunately we ran into that beast called Center Grove. If they had brought someone else in that didn’t know the kids and changed the entire system, it could have been disastrous.”
Browning had left the Red Devils for an assistant coaching job at Louisville Central during the offseason but returned when the late change was made. He instituted as many changes as he could on short notice. Now he plans to mold the Red Devils in the image he envisions with study hall before practice, an emphasis on weight lifting, and the development of relationships with the middle schools that serve as the Jeff feeder system.
“I’ve seen the good and the bad,” Browning said. “Hopefully it will be more good than bad.”
During his days as a Wildcat, Browning caught 32 passes for 582 yards and six touchdowns in two years. He later was a two-year member of the practice squad for the San Francisco 49ers. He also played two seasons (1996-97) in the World League of American Football and three years in the Canadian Football League.
Jeffersonville will return offensive stars Cam Northern (quarterback) and Jordan Barnett (running back) as the centerpieces for the 2016 season.
Justin Sokeland can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org