Dana Brown, the newly appointed head coach at Baldwin, faces a substantial challenge in his inaugural year. He takes the reins of a football program that struggled with a 1-9 record in the previous season and went winless at 0-5 in the competitive Allegheny Six Conference.
The Highlanders had a tough time on the scoreboard last year, being outscored 420-148, and their absence from the playoffs has stretched back to 2019. Brown, succeeding Tim Sweeney, who held the position for three seasons, is armed with a strategic plan aimed at a complete transformation.
"To change the culture, make football a priority," Brown stated. He emphasizes targeting potential athletes who straddle the line between joining or not, guiding them toward understanding the benefits of being multi-sport participants.
In addition, Brown emphasizes the importance of retaining talent within the district and deterring transfers. Brown, who concurrently serves as an assistant athletic director at McKeesport, embarked on his role as Baldwin's head coach on February 1.
He expresses his journey to this role as part of a divine design and recalls the initial overwhelming excitement giving way to a more measured realization that his lifetime of preparation has led to this moment.
Strong Coaching Team Drives Transformation
Brown is accompanied by a dedicated team of assistants, including his father Dana Brown Sr.
and Jawan Bryant, the newly appointed offensive and defensive coordinators for the Fighting Highlanders. This coaching ensemble, rounded out by several others, is poised to guide the team through a transformative period. The core philosophy driving Brown's coaching approach is straightforward but profound: to foster an environment that nurtures holistic growth and learning for athletes both on and off the field.
This approach aims to develop not only their athletic skills but also their personal development as young men. Key players returning to the squad include seniors Andrew Sharp, John Kozar, Keith Mincin, Tyler Carter, and Evan Gude, alongside juniors Cenzo Pacella and Jaden Duttine.
Sharp, a standout at running back, garnered first-team all-conference recognition last season, bolstering expectations for his senior year. He aims to surpass 1,000 rushing yards and looks forward to a stronger showing for Baldwin.
Kozar, a versatile athlete who participates in track and CYO basketball, echoes the optimism shared by his coach and teammate. He believes the team's improved pass game and overall conditioning will contribute to an impressive season and a playoff berth.
As the season progresses, sophomore Nico Macurek vies for the starting quarterback role, while other players like Vince Broccoli, Dom Brown, and Landon Frantz are anticipated to play significant roles in the team's journey.
Dana Brown's appointment heralds a new era for Baldwin's football program, backed by his coaching philosophy centered on growth and competition. With a mix of seasoned veterans and promising newcomers, the Fighting Highlanders are poised to challenge expectations and rejuvenate their presence on the field.