A coach remembered
There is a general consensus that high school students are highly impressionable. They are naive and unaware of the realities of adulthood, in most cases. Those that are given the opportunity to lead, teach or mentor them and accept the challenge are admirable.
Texas High School golf coach Jay Brewer was one that deserved and epitomized this description. In his years at Texas High, he imparted his wisdom on his players, teaching them about golf and, arguably more importantly, life.
Brewer, 51, died Wednesday, June 5, as a result of heart-related complications. A graveside service will be held today at 2 p.m. in the South Pavilion of Chapelwood Memorial Gardens.
He is remembered by his family, friends and players as an authentic, one-of-a-kind person.
“He may not have been a hall of fame golf coach or anything, but he was our coach,” junior Carter Maneth said. “He managed to find the balance between being our friend and our coach, so we felt close to him and respected him.”
Brewer led both his boys and girls teams to the UIL state championship on several occasions throughout his career. However, his success is not attributed to the performance of his players, but rather in the way he led and impacted them.
“Coach Brewer had a larger than life personality. No matter how hard he was on you or how sarcastic he was toward you, you knew in your heart that he always had your best interest in mind and loved you unconditionally,” 2015 graduate and former Texas High golfer Garrett May said. “If you played for him, you realized that he really cared for you and he expected a lot out of you.”
It is arguable that every coach cares for their athletes and their team, but it is also arguable that few care as much as Brewer did. He invested in his players, always worked for their benefit and pushed them.
“During my sophomore year, Brewer and I had been begging my parents forever for a new set of golf clubs, but it just wasn’t happening,” senior Autumn Parrott said. “Then, he surprised me at practice with irons that he had cut down and regripped just so I could have better quality clubs. He did kind things like that all the time.”
Although Brewer did not have any children of his own, he possessed a gift when it came to coaching.
“For not having kids, he had this innate ability to connect with us. We were his kids. He was able to live vicariously through us,” 2016 graduate and former Texas High golfer Grayson Jones said. “When we were there, we were his kids, and our team was his whole life.”
Brewer maintained a certain confidence in his players. It was unwavering, and it acted as a motivation to his players because they knew he had faith in them.
“He was very confident in us. He didn’t think there was a team in the country that could beat us, and he knew it,” May said. “It wasn’t like he had this fake confidence. He legitimately knew and believed, and that rubbed off on everybody.”
On the other hand, Brewer had a knack for keeping his athletes humble. He would never boast about their performance before the end of a tournament. He never allowed them to be complacent because he always treated them in a manner that pushed them to grow as players and as people.
“No matter how we would play, it was always doomsday. Coach Brewer would always text Coach Norton and say, ‘Don’t come down here. They’re playing like a bunch of hacks,’ and then we would win by five strokes,” May said. “Everything was doomsday to him until we actually got the trophy, and then he’d say ‘Oh, good job, boys.’”
There are memories made in high school that last a lifetime, but memories made with a team are that much more special. For golf team members, past and present, these are numerous and incomparable. The small size of the team in combination with the large size of Brewer’s personality prompted a memorable experience for all.
“It seemed like every tournament we played there was always a story that we would come back with,” Jones said. “There was always something that happened at every tournament that was either good, bad or funny that we will remember.”
As a coach, he made it his goal to teach and assist his players. Brewer was aware of the differences between people, and he worked to tailor his coaching style to each individual player.
“He always simplified the game for me. He’d always say, ‘Hit it. Find it. Go hit it again. Land is always better than water,’” May said. “Stuff like that always taught me more than what he said. He kept me from overthinking.”
However, Brewer never focused primarily on the technicalities or performance of his team. To put it simply, he just focused on his team.
“He taught us that there was always more to life than just golf. He always told us that if we were able to succeed, he would be there right beside us, and if we don’t, he would be proud of us anyway,” Jones said. “He would love us regardless. He just wanted us to be the best people we could be.”