08/23/13 — Brooks changing the culture of CBA football program

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Brooks changing the culture of CBA football program

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on August 23, 2013 1:49 PM


PIKEVILLE -- A fresh approach and new philosophy is just as good as a new coat of paint, especially when a football program has struggled to find consistency.

Steve Brooks hopes to create his own Picasso at Charles B. Aycock.

Named the head varsity coach in early summer, Brooks has proven to be a huge morale booster for the Golden Falcons. His engaging personality, enthusiasm, passion and motivation has produced a fun and relaxing atmosphere for the players in the weight room.

Not many coaches will pump Hip Hop BBQ from Pandora through the speakers during workouts and conditioning periods.

"We adapted to him as soon as we started working out in the weight room," grinned CBA senior Michael Eutsey. "It's good to know that we can have a connection like that with coach. We know that he wants us to have intensity during practice and play hard, but at the same time, if you're having a fun, relaxed practice and getting after it, it's that much better.

"It's like having a strict parent, but at the same time you want to have a good relationship with your parents. He's our father."

Aycock logged a 6-6 worksheet and endured a season-ending defeat to Eastern Alamance in the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs in 2012. Earning a postseason bid is every coach's and player's goal, but Brooks wants to turn the Golden Falcons into a perennial conference contender -- something faithful followers have clamored for since the Dave McClenny and Dave Thomas eras.

Thomas won the program's last league title in 1981. McClenney's teams seized Eastern Plains 2-A championships in 1962 and 1967.

Brooks understands he'll be under the microscope this season and anticipates scrutiny from the changes he has made in the program before the Golden Falcons take their first official snap tonight against county foe Rosewood.

Making a good first impression is tough.

"When I talked to my staff, I asked them 'when you're talking to the players before and after practice, what's the feel?'" Brooks said. "The guys who were there say this is a whole different place. It's nothing against (former) Coach (Randy) Pinkowski, but after so many years the voice becomes the same and my voice will become the same one day ... hopefully not any time soon.

"I think the culture has changed and I believe the excitement level is through the roof."

Brooks has commanded a level of respect and received it from his players. After an early preseason practice, the team headed to the locker room without putting the tackling dummies, footballs and trash in their proper places. An assistant coach took a picture with his phone and showed it to Brooks.

The next morning, Brooks doled out his punishment before practice began and the players quickly got his message.

"He believes in getting stuff done with no slacking," Eutsey said.