GWINN - Dion Brown has long harbored the thought of being a high school varsity football coach.
The former Northern Michigan University defensive standout is getting his chance.
Brown has been hired to replace Darren Sinnaeve as the Gwinn High School head coach. Sinnaeve - the GHS boys varsity basketball coach - stepped down from his football post after coaching the Modeltowners to a 5-13 mark the last two seasons.
"Our goal will be to reach the state playoffs," Brown said. "We're going to shock a lot of people next season. We'll have the talent to do it."
Brown, 31, coached the Modeltowners' junior varsity team to a 2-7 mark last season after spending five years as an assistant coach at Ishpeming High School.
"After I was with the Ishpeming 2012 state (Division 7) championship team, I got the opportunity to be the Gwinn JV coach," he said. "Opportunities like that don't come along very often.
"Besides, I was living in Gwinn at the time."
Brown said his jayvee squad was "very competitive" in several games last season before losing several players to the injury-riddled GHS varsity team.
He said another reason why he applied for the GHS position was he's familiar with the players he'll have this coming season.
"I've got film of the varsity games from last year," the two-time All-GLIAC defensive back said. "I know the strengths and weaknesses of the team this fall."
Brown predicted he'll have a strong offensive line and "one of the best tailbacks in the Mid-Peninsula Conference" in Devin Dachs.
"We've had 15-20 guys working out in the weight room since November," the new coach noted. "They're been working hard this offseason."
Brown, who works at the Marquette County Youth Home in Marquette, said he has no pressure as the Modeltowners' new coach.
"Gwinn hasn't made the playoffs in a long time (since 1999), he noted. The Modeltowners last posted a record above .500 in 2000 when they went 5-4.
The Bloomington, Ill., product added he'll be a "passionate" coach.
"I like to bring energy to the table for the guys," Brown said. "I'm an outgoing guy who loves to coach. I'll work hard to bring stability to the program."
At NMU, he was a two-time MVP Defensive Back. Brown was also a kickoff return specialist, once carrying the football 98 yards at Mercyhurst in 2004.
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.