Brewer inducted into Brownstown Central Athletic Hall of Fame

Josh Brewer went from hitting balls around Hickory Hills Golf Club to coaching the University of Georgia women’s golf team.

However, wherever his career took him, Brewer always had the same intention: To put Brownstown on the map.

“In my high school yearbook, I wrote something along the lines of how I wanted to make Brownstown famous one day,” Brewer said. “Every day, I wake up and feel like I have a lot of pressure that the community feels really proud of what I achieve as a coach at University of Georgia.

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“Hopefully, they follow us as much as I think. I would love to win a (dang) national title for them and bring it back to Brownstown and say thank you to the community. They have let me live my dream, and I hope they understand that what I’m doing down here, I’m doing it for them as much as I am doing it for my own self.”

While he didn’t tote a national championship with him, Brewer returned to Brownstown Central High School on Saturday.

At halftime of the Braves’ boys basketball game against Clarksville, Brewer was inducted into the Brownstown Central High School Athletic Hall of Fame.

“Athletic Director Mark DeHart let me know that I was nominated and that they were trying to add me to the hall of fame,” Brewer said. “I gave him a hard time because I thought he was joking. I was a little shocked, and I’m still a little shocked.”

During his tenure at BCHS, Brewer racked up the accolades.

He was a three-time individual state finalist, finishing fourth in ‘91, eighth in ‘93 and runner-up in ‘94. In ‘94, he was presented the IHSAA State Mental Attitude Award.

Brewer was an individual regional champion in ‘93. That season, the Braves finished second at sectional to advance to regional competition at Seymour’s Elks Golf Club.

“From a golf standpoint, us getting to regional as a team meant a lot,” Brewer said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to state as a team, but we were very good my last couple years. Advancing out of sectional to regional will always mean a lot with that group. We became really close in there, and a lot of us went on to play college golf. We dominated our conference, too.”

The Braves won the Mid-Southern Conference tournament from ‘92 to ‘94 with Brewer picking up medalist honors in ‘91, ‘92 and ‘94. Brewer was All-MSC all four years with the Braves.

On the basketball court, Brewer helped the Braves to a team sectional championship in his senior season. That year, ‘94, Brewer also was academic all-state.

Brewer started playing golf when he was 5.

“I used to go with my father and grandfathers to their men’s league,” Brewer said. “They played nine holes once a week, and they would let me ride in the golf cart. I would ride around with them and they would let me take one swing wherever their golf ball was. I kind of became hooked on it. I had a cousin who worked in the golf business who sent me clubs that were cut down to my size. I just kind of fell in love with the sport.

“John Olson (PGA professional at Hickory Hills) was great to me. Without the members out there, there is no way I would have had the success I did. They shaped me as a youngster.”

Brewer said many successful golfers have come out of Brownstown because of the youth programs.

“I think a lot of it goes to John Olson. He has a very good junior program,” Brewer said. “He is great about teaching the fundamentals and making the game fun for the youth out there. He is really smart about once you get to a certain level, letting you maybe move on to another instructor that has the time to really fine-tune. He has no ego.

“I think anyone that comes out of Brownstown deserves to give (Olson) a lot of credit. The memberships have always been really friendly to junior golf. I think it speaks a lot about the people of Brownstown. They want to make sure their youth has success and maybe try to have a better life than they have led.”

Outside of athletics, Brewer was the class president and a member of the student council.

Brewer said it means a lot to be in the hall of fame.

“It means a lot, and I know it means a lot to my family, too,” he said. “I felt like my dad always pushed me as hard as he could, and my mom made lot of sacrifices. Hopefully, this is more of an award for them for raising me correctly and always being really demanding while giving me a lot of opportunities. I owe them a lot for this opportunity I have. Hopefully, when they look up there, they can take a lot of pride in that.

“I look at this homecoming as kind of a chance to say thank you to everyone that was able to help me get where I’m at.”

He also credits his wife, Selena, for helping him get into the hall of fame.

“My wife also (came) back,” Brewer said. “She knows how much the community means to me. When I come home, I’m thankful that I married a lady that has let me live my dreams. Without her, I probably wouldn’t be in the hall of fame.”

After graduating from BCHS, Brewer golfed at Indiana University from ‘95 to ‘98.

Brewer was a four-year letter-winner for the Hoosiers.

He helped IU reach the NCAA Championships in ‘96 and an NCAA regional in ‘97 as well as capture the Big Ten Championship in ‘98.

Brewer, who also was the ‘98 Indiana State Amateur champion, was selected as an All-American Scholar by the Golf Coaches Association of America in ‘97 and ‘98 and named Academic All-Big Ten from ‘96 to ‘98.

After winning the ‘98 Indiana Am crown, Brewer accepted a position as a financial adviser with Linsco/Private Ledger in Indianapolis.

Three falls later, Mike Mayer, who moved from assistant to head coach at IU after former coach Sam Carmichael retired, invited Brewer to share his experiences in golf and school and the transition to professional life with the team.

After that visit, it didn’t take long for Brewer to transition to college coaching.

He returned to IU as an assistant coach on the men’s golf team from ‘02 to ‘08 before joining the men’s and women’s teams at the University of Southern California from ‘08 to ‘12.

The Hoosiers secured NCAA regional bids in four of Brewer’s five seasons in Bloomington and advanced to the NCAA Championships in 2008 for the first time in 12 years.

In ‘08, Brewer moved to Los Angeles. At USC, he helped produce two PAC-10 Championships teams and golfers who won National Player of the Year, National Freshman of the Year, 12 All-America certificates, three Pac-10 Player of the Year awards and two Pac-10 Freshman of the Year accolades at USC.

USC also had two Curtis Cup and two Palmer Cup team members.

Since ‘12, Brewer has worked as the UGA head golf coach.

During his six seasons in Athens, the Bulldogs have posted 24 tournament victories with 12 team and 12 individual wins.

The Bulldogs swept the 2016 NCAA Bryan Regional, as the team shot its best score in postseason play (8-under). That mark stood for less than a year when the Bulldogs carded a 9-under tally at the 2017 Southeastern Conference Tournament.

Individually, seven of the top-10 season stroke averages in Georgia history are owned by Bulldogs who played under Brewer.

UGA has posted its top-two season stroke averages under Brewer. The Bulldogs also have seven of their top-10 tourney tallies, including a school-record 19-under at the 2016 Annika Intercollegiate, and 11 of the top-20 single rounds in school history, a list that features a best-ever 13-under at the 2015 Mason Rudolph.

“Being in my job, you remember the setbacks almost as much as the things you’ve accomplished,” Brewer said. “I think that goes back to being able to play basketball for coach (Otha) Smith and having coach (Mark) Lubker on the basketball side and coach (Louis) Sommers for golf. I think they taught me how to do things the right way. They all deserve a lot of credit. They held me to a high standard and made me live up to that every day.”

Brewer said his advice to up-and-coming athletes at BCHS is to soak in as much as they can from the adults teaching them.

“Listen to the coaches and adults in the community that have had success. They will steer you the correct way,” he said. “Also, avoid distractions. Today, it’s a lot easier to be distracted than it was 25 years ago. If you want to reach those levels, of the things we were able to achieve, you have to sacrifice.”