Jordan High hires Columbus State grad, Fort Benning veteran Jim Brown to be new head football coach

kprice@ledger-enquirer.comJune 29, 2012 

Jim Brown enjoys a challenge. And Friday, he officially took on one of the biggest in the Bi-City area.

Jordan athletic director Gerald Turner made the announcement that Brown, 54, is the school's new head football coach.

Brown, who comes to the Muscogee County high school from Lassiter High in Marietta, Ga., inherits a program that has had 15 straight losing seasons since a 5-5-1 campaign in 1996. The Red Jackets have not had a winning season since 1993.

"I really wanted to be a high school head coach," Brown said as he drove between Columbus and Atlanta Friday afternoon. "I know they have some good athletes there. It is a matter of getting them out.

"I believe Jordan is a diamond in the rough."

Brown takes over for David Nurnberg, who left after three years and a 7-23 record. Jordan was 0-10 last season and has lost 14 straight games.

"I want to come in there and see what I can do," Brown said.

Brown grew up in a military family. He graduated from 71st High School in Fayetteville, N.C., as his dad was stationed at Fort Bragg.

Brown, who graduated from Columbus State in 1983, spent 14 years in the Army himself before leaving active duty in 1993. He estimates he spent about eight of those 14 years at Fort Benning.

He left the Army to find a career in coaching football. He started at Iowa Weskleyan as the linebackers coach and head junior varsity coach from 1993-95. He then went to Sue Bennett College in London, Ky., where he was the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator.

Brown decided he was better suited for high school coaching and went to Lynn Camp High in Corbin, Ky., in 1998.

He returned to the Bi-City area in 2006 when Chattahoochee County built its new high school and restarted its football program. After two years, he left for Lassiter.

He spent four years at Lassiter, missing the 2010 season because he was deployed to Afghanistan as a member of the Army Reserves.

"He is a good fit for us," Turner said. "Everything is positive about this guy. He is exactly what we were looking for. He has the experience. He realizes what he has to do."

Brown will retire Sunday from the Army Reserves, ending 32 years of service. He will turn 55 Tuesday. Brown's wife, Penny, is a Columbus High graduate.

"We have a lot of family here," he said. "We wanted to come back."

Note: Jordan's struggles in football date back to the 1930s. The Red Jackets are 234-465-23 (a winning percentage of .340) since 1936. The school's winningest coach is Rex Cecil, who had 26 wins in a five-year career (1945-49).

Kevin Price, 706-320-4493

JORDAN HIGH FOOTBALL COACHES

Coach Years Record

David Nurnberg 2009-11 7-23

Gerald Turner 2008 2-8

Tony Graziano 2007 1-9

Leo Ellerbee 1995-2006 18-102

Randy Bishop 1991-94 19-22

Larry Bush 1988-90 8-22

Gene Sharpe 1980-87 15-65

William Ragle 1976-79 10-30

Fred Lewis 1975 7-3

San Nadar 1970-74 18-32

Fred Bowers 1968-69 7-12-1

Bobby Allen 1966-67 8-10-2

Billy Atkins 1965 6-2-2

Bob Donaldson 1960-64 15-31-4

Bill Godwin 1956-59 16-21-2

Sumpter Blackmon 1951-55 21-27-3

Dick McPhee 1950 1-7-2

Rex Cecil 1945-49 26-20-2

Rex Howell 1942-44 6-11-1

Red Jenkins 1937-41 23-8-2

Total 234-465-23

Source: Georgia High School Football Historians

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