COMMERCE — Michael Brown is stepping down as head football coach at Commerce High School.
The Commerce native released a letter on Tuesday morning that began with a Bible verse from Ecclesiastes 3:1, "there is an occasion for everything, and for every activity under heaven."
"The next few verses go on to describe many of the beginnings and endings that we experience in life," he wrote. "Beginnings are often filled with hope and enthusiasm while endings are often imperfect and difficult. We are sometimes left with decisions that are at the same time best for us and our family in the midst of our circumstances and yet extremely difficult both for ourselves and those who share life with us. These difficult decisions bring out powerful emotions in all of us, some that can be a source of positive change, others that are negative, divisive and a source of strife. Many times our journey in life will take us to places that we never expected to be. With these things in mind, I have resigned as the Head Football Coach at Commerce and am accepting a job elsewhere next year in a lesser role. This is an extremely difficult decision for me and my family."
Brown, a 1992 Commerce graduate and former Tiger player, who rejoined the program as an assistant coach in 1999 under legendary coach Steve Savage, took over as head coach in 2013.
Since then, Brown has led the Tigers to the playoffs all eight seasons, including second round or better in seven of those, two semifinal appearances, 2014 and 2015, and captured the Region 8-A title, finished with an 11-2 record and was a touchdown away from knocking off Irwin County in the quarterfinals of the Class A Public playoffs last season. He leaves Commerce with a 73-25 overall record, third-best in program history behind Ray Lamb and Savage.
Brown said he owed it to the community to explain his decision to leave.
"It is not because I lack love or loyalty to this program or the kids in it," he continued. "I will not be so bold to claim to have been perfect in my words and actions toward the players I have coached, but the intention of my heart has always been consistent in developing strength, goodness, and honor in them as young men. Other things that are not part of this decision include making more money, anger or bitterness directed toward anyone, or the future success of either of my sons who play this game."
Below is the rest of his letter.
What the community sees on a regular basis is the finished product on display each Friday night. Those 48 minutes under the lights have largely been successful and are part of the reason why this decision may seem so illogical to many. What the average fan does not see are the numerous other responsibilities, frustrations, and battles that come with the job. These do not end with the last game. Every coach faces them, some have more to deal with than others and some receive more support than others to do their jobs effectively. Years of battling for the needs of the program becomes draining often leading Head Coaches to desire a change. In the past few months, it has become clear to my wife and I that it was not a question of if we should make a change, but rather, where. We have prayed about this decision for months, and despite feeling the weight of our decision on others and the loss of what we have known for so long, we know this is best for our family.Every season of change is an opportunity for growth and progress. All decisions have a redeeming value to them. We know that this will bring out a wide range of emotions for all who are affected by this decision. The Greeks described emotions as horses pulling a chariot. Without reigning them in and directing them toward a common goal, they will tear each other apart and destroy what they are pulling. If they are reigned in and united in focus, they can take you to your ultimate destination. I know there will be strong emotions associated with this decision. I do not want strife and division to be the result. My hope is that the program and community will move forward in a positive manner, and while identifying the things that need to change, focus only on solutions and not blame. My hope also is that, in time, each of you will begin to understand why we have chosen this course.I would like to thank each and every coach that has served on our staff. I have been privileged to work with good men who care about kids. I would also like to thanks Mr. Drew and Mr. Smith for their support over these 8 years. Lastly, I would like to thank Dr. Tolbert and every member of the Commerce Board of Education who have served during my time as Head Coach.We will always pull for the Tigers,Mike and Becca Brown