WILKES-BARRE — There is plenty of history associated with the Wilkes football program, beginning with its first season in 1946, which ended with an undefeated record of 6-0 under legendary head coach George Ralston.
From there, Rollie Schmidt had a remarkable 20-year run through the 1960s and 1970s when he coached the team to 32 consecutive wins from 1965-69.
Last season, the Colonels picked up program victory No. 300 as seven different coaches compiled those marks. That includes Frank Sheptock, who manned the team for the last 18 seasons before stepping down in December as the winningest coach in program history with 107 wins and 81 losses.
On Tuesday, the school welcomed in a new era with the announcement of Trey Brown as its new head football coach. Although he’s spent his last eight years in the Lehigh Valley, Brown is very familiar with the tradition of the program. Especially because one of his fellow assistant coaches at his last stop in Muhlenberg, Jordan Purdy, played for Sheptock and was a four-year letterwinner and captain graduating in 2008.
“I have tremendous respect for the tradition of this program,” Brown said. “I educated myself a little bit online. Some of the accomplishments that coach Sheptock accomplished here during his tenure are very, very impressive. So I’m aware of some of that tradition.”
If he’s going to continue the program’s run of success, Brown is going to do so with a totally different style.
Over Sheptock’s tenure, it’s no secret that the Colonels played smashmouth football running the ball down opponents’ throats with a powerful ground game that would eat up the clock.
Brown likes his offenses to throw the ball in a fast-paced, hurry-up style similar to current Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly.
“I don’t know if I’d go that expertise, but I’d go that family,” Brown said referring to his offensive choice. “I love what Chip Kelly’s doing. I love what Baylor’s doing. I love what Oklahoma State’s doing. They’re playing fast and I think it levels the playing field.
“It doesn’t just give you a chance for your scheme to be better than their scheme, or your strength to be better than their strength, but it gives you a chance to wear ‘em out. And when you wear ‘em out mistakes happen.”
While Sheptock had a very prominent career with the Colonels, he had just two winning seasons since going 11-1 in 2006.
That’s a stat, Brown says, is something he’s looking forward to getting a chance to improve.
“That’s nothing against anyone involved in the program over that latter tenure,” Brown said. “Coaches don’t get stupid. You coach the same way and you try to win games. But I am aware that right now it’s a good time for a new era. Because whatever was going on, hopefully we can get back to the seven, eight, nine-win type seasons.”
Whether that era includes several holdover assistants is unknown. Brown hasn’t made any changes to the staff yet. But he said he plans on meeting with each one to see if they have similar interests on the field.
“I’m not looking to walk in with a hatchet and looking to get rid of coaches. I think these guys have probably done a great job of recruiting,” Brown said. “I need to get to know them better. I need to make sure that my beliefs match their beliefs, that’s the number one thing for me.”
• Brown spent the last four seasons at Muhlenberg replacing current King’s coach Jeff Knarr, who left the Mules for the Monarchs.
• Under Sheptock, the Colonels never played a team that was coached by Brown because he was in Division I for most of that period. The last time Wilkes played Muhlenberg was in 2009, the season before Brown joined the staff. Wilkes won that game, 14-12.