By Todd Vinyard
BOONEVILLE For the second time in two years Northeast Community College is without a head football coach.
Gunter Brewer announced Friday after one season he is resigning to take an assistant coaching job at Marshall University in Huntington, W. Va. Brewer took over last April after Hubert Tucker died in a Feb. 20 automobile accident.
“The biggest thing for me is that at my age the chance to join a program like Marshall, which has been the Nebraska of Division I-AA football, is just too good an opportunity for my family to turn down,” said Brewer, who is 32 years old.
Brewer said the decision to leave Northeast after an 0-10 season was difficult.
“Everyone from President (Joe) Childers to the guys at the physical plant have been super,” he said. “There were things I would have liked to accomplished here. But I didn’t want to be 40 or 50 years old and wonder what if. We talk to players about moving up and accepting challenges and this was the time for me to do that.”
Brewer will join Bob Pruett, the former Florida defensive coordinator, who was named Marshall’s head coach Tuesday. Pruett was on the coaching staff when Brewer played at Wake Forest, and served as a coach for Brewer’s father, Billy, at Ole Miss.
Pruett is replacing Jim Donnan, who became the head coach at Georgia. In six seasons at Marshall, Donnan led the Thundering Herd to a 64-21 record, the NCAA Division I-AA championship in 1992 and three other championship game appearances, including a 22-20 loss to Montana in the 1995 game.
Marshall will be moving up to I-A.
Brewer said Pruett called him Wednesday during a coaching convention and offered him the job.
“It was just such an incredible offer to go to a program like that, my stomach got a little shaky,” said Brewer, whose last official day at Northeast is Feb. 8. “I will be in some position at Marshall either on offense or as a recruiting coordinator. He said we would iron that out, and to just come up and start recruiting.”
After talking with Northeast administration officials on Thursday, Brewer told his team of his depature Friday around 7 a.m. at the dorm.
“He (Brewer) said it was a dream of his to coach in Division I-A, and for us to work hard on our academics to put ourselves in a good position for the future,” Northeast sophomore Corey Cobb said. “I am happy for him.”
The search for Brewer’s replacement will begin immediately, according to Childers.
“There is no timetable for naming the new coach, but we have been through this process before recently of screening candidates,” Childers said. “We are sad to see coach Brewer leave, but pleased he got this opportunity. We will move expeditiously to hire a new head football coach.”
A year of change continues for Northeast football. Both Northeast assistant football coaches were reassigned earlier this year. David Carnell was promoted to athletic director after Bill Ward resigned, and Billy Southward was assigned to administrative duties and teaching physical education.
Childers said a search committee will look for a coach with good leadership skills, community college coaching experience, and a winning record.
Some names mentioned by sources as possibilities for the job include: Mississippi coaching veteran Jim Carmody, Itawamba Community College offensive coordinator Tommy Morton, and South Panola High School assistant football coach David Wilkerson.