Former Hylton football coach Bill Brown, a Virginia High School Hall of Fame inductee who two years ago entered administration but earlier this year entertained the idea of returning to coaching, will not be manning a sideline anytime soon. Last week, he was named principal at Forest Park High School.
Brown, 52, an assistant principal at Forest Park the past two years, was supposed to become an assistant principal tomorrow at Freedom, a new high school in Woodbridge, where his son, John, is football coach. But when Forest Park Principal Tom Gill stepped down to become hearing officer for the newly created Office of Student Management and Alternative Programs, Brown pursued Gill's vacancy and was named his replacement June 30.
Just months ago, Brown was still flirting with a return to football. When the Gar-Field coaching job came open in January, Brown said, he was "giving full consideration" to applying to coach at his alma mater. He backtracked later that week, saying he would remain in administration for at least another year to bolster his retirement pay.
Now his commitment to administration -- and distance from football -- is even greater.
"I didn't have when I first got out of football the same kind of relationships [with students] that I had, and I really, really missed that," said Brown, whose teams went 173-60-1 at Potomac and Hylton, with five Virginia AAA state championship appearances, including Division 6 titles in 1998 and '99. "As I got more involved in activities . . . and different organizations here in the school, I started to get those kinds of contacts back with students, and that made it a lot better.
"I have no timetable that I want to do this. As long as I'm happy [as principal] and doing an effective job, I'll be more than satisfied. I can go watch the Forest Park teams play and be very excited and occasionally catch some of my son's games and critique him whether he wants me to or not. I can still be involved with football; I just see myself as having a few more players now than I used to."
Brown said one reason that Forest Park is a good fit is because it draws from the Montclair area. When he was at Potomac, the area's students went to Potomac, and when he was at Hylton, they went to Hylton.
Brown also sees similarities between running a high school football program and running a high school.
"You're judged pretty strong in both those positions," he said. "High school football coaches, they're exposed, they're out there, and their record speaks for itself in a lot of cases. This job is very similar because parents aren't going to put up with a school that's not properly run or a school that's not effective."