Veteran coach Brewster brings passion and energy to Florida coaching staff
Just like Johnny Cash, he’s been everywhere, man, he’s been everywhere. Or so it must seem for Tim Brewster.
In a coaching career spanning 34 years, Brewster has worked at one high school, eight different colleges (including one school twice) and with two NFL teams.
Just about everywhere.
His latest stop is Gainesville, where he’s been reunited with Dan Mullen as the Florida Gators’ new tight ends coach.
If you listen to Brewster, it sounds like he’s ready to take the wheels off his nomadic adventure and settle in for a good long while with the Gators.
“I’ve had the opportunity to work in great programs and work for great people,” he said. “I’d like to think I’m good at what I do and I told (UF athletic director) Scott Stricklin I’m going to stay as long as Dan will have me. I’d like to stay at the University of Florida for a good stretch and win some national championships and truly be part of something special here.”
There are multiple factors that make Florida a potential destination job (or maybe long-term job) for Brewster. The main one is Mullen, who Brewster worked with at Mississippi State in 2012.
After tight ends coach Larry Scott left following last season to become the head coach at Howard University, Mullen made the call to Brewster and was able to lure him away from North Carolina, where Brewster was making his second coaching stint and third with good friend Mack Brown.
“It all starts with my admiration for Dan Mullen,” he said. “I just admire the guy. I admire how he coaches, I admire his work ethic, I admire his aptitude for the game of football. I haven't been around a guy that truly, absolutely loves the game like Dan does. I think that's what I'm about, I'm about positivity and love of the game.
“I've had the opportunity to work with some great head coaches. I worked with Mike Shanahan, I've worked with Marty Schottenheimer, I've been around some really good guys, and I just think Dan is a special guy in our profession, I really do. He's one of the few guys that could call every offensive play, he can call every defensive play, and certainly run the kicking game as well.
“I was very fortunate when Dan decided to call me and ask me whether or not I'd be interested in coming to the University of Florida and coaching his tight ends, and it didn't take me long to say yes."
Brewster brings more than just a wealth of experience to the Gators. He also brings a great passion for the game, a positive energy that seems infectious and a reputation for being an elite recruiter.
And all those past jobs, all those years in coaching, apparently have not diminished any of that passion and energy.
He wakes up every morning at 4:30 to go for a run. Then shows up at the office every day fired up and ready to go to work.
“You've got to enjoy what you're doing. And I don't enjoy what I do, I love what I do,” he said. “I'm fired up. I couldn't be more excited about representing the University of Florida, and going about my job here. You can probably tell I'm excited to be here."
He always seems excited, always fired up. And what really, really gets him jacked is the talent he’s working with at the tight end position.
“I’d be hard-pressed to think that there’s a much better tight end room somewhere in the country than what I’ve got here at the University of Florida,” Brewster said.
It starts with junior Kyle Pitts, who was UF’s leading receiver last season and is considered a strong All-American candidate in 2020 and a likely NFL first-round draft pick. And he won’t be the only factor at the position this season.
Kemore Gamble and Keon Zipperer were highly rated prospects coming out of high school who are having a strong preseason camp and should see significant playing time. And true freshman Jonathan Odom has caught the coaches’ attention, especially coming off a productive scrimmage Monday.
Pitts, Gamble, Zipperer and Odom all will have a chance to thrive in a tight end friendly offense, Brewster said.
“This offense is a dream come true for tight ends,” he said.
Having the opportunity to coach Pitts is kind of the same.
“We’re blessed. We’re very fortunate to have a guy like Kyle Pitts,” Brewster said. “I coached a bunch of really good tight ends, had the pleasure of helping develop Antonio Gates. And the thing about Kyle Pitts that I absolutely love is this guy’s a tough guy. This guy’s a hard-nosed, physical, tough guy. He has embraced the mentality that I’m bringing to the room, truly trying to be a true three-down tight end, a guy that can block people on first and second down, a guy that can go make big-time, third-down catches.
“There’s nothing that this guy can’t do.There’s talk about him being a big wide receiver, this and that. I’m going to tell you, this guy is a complete guy. He’s had an amazing training camp. Each day he’s working his tail off.”
Brewster can relate to anyone who works his tail off. That’s been his approach to coaching for 34 years. Not only does he have passion and energy for the job, he has a great appreciation for it. Maybe because of the way his career got started.
His first coaching job was as a graduate assistant at Purdue in 1986. But after just one season, the coaching staff was fired and Brewster was out of a job. Unable to find work in the profession, he became a car salesman.
Fortunately, after a few months in that line of work, Brewster was hired as the head coach at Lafayette Catholic High School in Indiana. He’s been coaching ever since.
"Man, I’m going to tell you what, that car salesman was not for me,” he said. “I was so excited (to get back into coaching). This is my calling. I’m doing what I was supposed to do, and that’s coach football and mentor young men. That’s the thing I just love.
“I loved coaching in the NFL. I loved it, every second, but I missed the relationships that you have with players. And the ability to mentor a young guy and sit with him off the field and help him through some tough times and tough situations. I think I’m where I’m supposed to be, right here, right now.”