Brown takes over as tennis coach at GHS

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 4, 2007

Following his third consecutive state championship, Fort Dale Academy head tennis coach Johnny Mack Brown has decided to take on a new challenge and he will become the head coach of the Greenville High School Tigers for the 2008 season.

The Butler County Board of Education approved Brown's hiring Thursday night and the eight-time state championship coach will take over immediately.

William Champion, who coached the Tigers to the state tournament this season, will split time teaching at Greenville and Georgiana next year and will start a tennis team for the Panthers.

Brown, who coached at Auburn High School before coming to Fort Dale, said he felt it was the right time to take on a new challenge.

&#8220I'm really looking forward to it,” Brown said over taking at the helm of the Tigers. &#8220I just feel my career has built up to it.”

&#8220With Mr. Looney in charge, I feel like Greenville is on the verge of moving up in everything,” he added.

Brown led the Fort Dale girls to their third consecutive AISA title this season and he said leaving them, and the boys, was one of the toughest decisions he has ever had to make.

&#8220It was really tough,” Brown said of his decision to leave Fort Dale. &#8220The kids over there were great and those girls will probably win a state championship again next year, no matter who is coaching them.”

Although Brown's departure from Fort Dale is a huge loss for the Eagles, Butler County Schools Superintendent Mike Looney said this is a monumental gain for Greenville.

&#8220This is a grand slam for the (Greenville) tennis team,” Looney said. &#8220This is another example of our efforts to expand offerings for our students.”

Looney also praised Champion for his efforts at Greenville and said he is the perfect person with the knowledge and ability to start a team at Georgiana.

&#8220We want all our schools to have equal access to athletic programs,” Looney said.

Now that Brown's tenure has begun, he said he expects to get to work Monday and his plan is to get started, not only with the high school kids, but the younger middle and elementary school kids as well.

&#8220The first thing I'm going to do is go into the high school and get a racket in the kids' hands,” Brown said. &#8220That's going to be my job, to keep them playing year round.”

But starting kids young is what Brown said will make Greenville successful in tennis.

&#8220We talked with the girls at Fort Dale when they were in Kindergarten about winning state championships and it came true,” Brown said. &#8220I think the future is where we have to look.”

Brown's replacement at Fort Dale has not been named.

Although he will be working in a new location in the fall, Brown said he will always be there for the players he coached at Fort Dale.

&#8220I tried to assure them that I'm not leaving town,” Brown said. &#8220I think it's going to be good for the whole community.”